How Old Is Your Ohio Home’s Furnace? Here’s How to Determine Its Age

by Greg Leisgang on March 12, 2014

Posted in: Furnaces

furnace ageNo furnace lasts forever. As time passes, the heat transfer process becomes less efficient, energy consumption increases and operating costs rise. Knowing the age of your heating system is helpful if you’re considering upgrading to a new higher-efficiency model or if you’re faced with expensive malfunctions and need to make a “repair or replace” decision. The average service life expectancy of a gas-fired furnace is 16 to 20 years.  If the unit was already installed when you moved in, you may have no idea of it’s true age.  Here are some easy ways to find out:

  • For a rough estimate, look inside the furnace for a standing pilot light with a small flame continuously burning. The last furnaces manufactured with standing pilot lights were sold at least 20 years ago. Since then, new furnaces incorporate flameless electronic igniters. If you see a pilot light burning inside your furnace, that’s a good indication that it’s now at least 20 years old.  
  • Look for routine stickers placed on the unit by service personnel that record the dates of previous service. The oldest date you find allows you to at least estimate it’s minimum age.  
  • Locate the manufacturer’s metal data plate, usually attached inside the furnace door. This plate contains the model and serial numbers. Write down this information and contact the manufacturer’s customer service department at the company website. With the model and serial numbers they can tell you the date of manufacture. Note that this is not necessarily the same date the furnace was installed and began operating in your house, but it's usually accurate to within a year or two.

Once you know the age of the furnace, you're better informed to choose between making expensive repairs or replacing the unit. You can also research the approximate energy efficiency of the unit when it was new by consulting online sources that show minimum standard AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings through the years.

For more information on determining the age and efficiency of your furnace, contact Tri-County Heating & Cooling. We serve the greater West Chester area.

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