Three Signs Your Heater Is at the End of Its Life

Have you ever experienced the dreadful feeling that comes from finding out your heater has quit on you? It’s something almost any homeowner will have gone through at least once in their lives, and it’s likely not something they want to go through again. When your heater is approaching the end of its useful life, however, you may not have much of a choice. Any heater will eventually die, and the only way to avoid having to deal with the frustration of this happening is to get ahead of your heater and replace it before it fully gives out. But how do you know when you should do this? Replacing your heater too early could mean wasting value and months or even years of potential usefulness.

The easiest way: simply pay attention to your heater. If you know what to look for, your heater will give you some signs that are strong indicators that your heater may be rapidly approaching the end of its life. Here are three of these signs.

Heater’s Age

Your heater’s age is a big indicator as to its condition. The average heater will last approximately 20 to 25 years, depending on its type (heat pumps tend to have shorter lifespans while furnaces may be slightly longer). If your heater is approaching 25 years of age, it’s time to start considering a total replacement.

But what if you don’t know how old your heater is? This isn’t that uncommon—in many cases, people simply inherit their heater when they purchase their house, and they aren’t sure how old the system is. There is a fairly easy way to tell—every system should come affixed with a sticker that contains a ton of data, including compliance statements, voltage requirements, and so much more. One of the things on this label is the manufacture date of that particular unit. If the manufacture date is more than 20 years ago, then your heater is probably approaching the end of its useful lifespan. It’s best to start planning for your replacement soon.

Heating Cycle Times

Does it seem like your heater takes a lot longer to warm your home now than it ever did before? This isn’t uncommon: as heaters age, they both produce less heat and transfer this heat to the air in your home less efficiently. As a result, your heater cycle times go up. Initially, these times increase slowly. However, if it seems like your heater turns on and runs for a far longer period of time than it did just a few years ago, then there’s a chance your heater is truly on its last legs.

To make matters worse, the increased cycle times can actually contribute to your heater wearing out even faster. The more your heater has to run, the more the various parts that make it run will sustain wear and tear. The more wear and tear they sustain, the more like they are to break down, and the more likely they are to break down in their old age, the more likely it will be that replacement is the superior option for your situation.

Heating Noises

This might be the most difficult of the four signs on this list to keep track of. Over time, as the various components in a heating system begin to progressively wear out, they will start to make more noise. As a result, your heater will get louder and louder. However, this happens slowly, and few people are able to discern that their heater may actually be louder than it was the previous year. However, if you’re listening to your heater one day and you begin to wonder if your heater was always as loud as it currently is, the answer is probably not.

The most common reason for excessive noise is that moving parts are wearing out. As parts wear out, they begin to develop more friction, and more friction means more heat and more noise. Eventually, these parts fail, causing your system to break down. Therefore, in many cases, a loud heater is actually a sign that your heater is about to break down soon, and thus might need to be fully replaced.

Is it time to replace your heater? Pick up the phone and call A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical at (503) 694-3396 for more information.