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What’s your furnace mileage?

Washington Energy | 02/04/2016 | Posted in Heating, Furnace

Based on the average winter degree-days in our area, the average furnace is firing approximately 4268 hours each year - if your furnace were a car, how would it compare?


The average car is driven 15,000 miles in that same year, which averages 540 hours of use. Based on these estimates, your furnace accumulates an average of 118,555 “furnace miles” each year.

Over time this reveals some startling information about just how much work we have come to expect from our furnaces. By comparing furnace run times to car miles:

  • 4,268 hrs/1 year 118,555 miles
  • 29,876 hrs/7 years 829,885 miles
  • 42,680 hrs/10 years 1,185,223 miles
  • 64,020 hrs/15 years 1,777,835 miles

We average 1.6 to 1.8 million miles on our furnace over its expected life span. When is the last time you were able to get 1.6 million miles and 15 years of use from your car?

You wouldn’t skip an oil change – do you skip furnace maintenance?

Why do we expect equipment that costs a lot less than our car to deliver over ten times the use? This is what we have come to expect from our heating equipment, often without the regular maintenance or service we give the car. A good place to start understanding its condition is with a furnace inspection by a qualified professional. And, if your furnace is over 15 years old, you may want to prepare for its eventual replacement. Without proper maintenance your HVAC system will work overtime, burning up those miles faster, trying to heat or cool rooms.

Don’t forget the ducts

Your system may be working more often and harder than expected because you have inefficiencies in your duct work. Ducts need maintenance the same as your furnace. Washington Energy Services has routine maintenance programs available. Click here to learn more about the Guardian Maintenance Club.

Over time, ducts can sag or collapse. Vermin and other animals can even chew holes in duct work. Ducts can also leak or even come apart at the seams. When this happens, any air that should be going to the rooms in your home is instead being wasted by ending up in your attic, your walls, or under your house. When this happens, it’s like pouring money down the drain. If duct tape was used on your ductwork originally, it’s best to have it replaced with aluminum or foil tape. Traditional duct tape deteriorates quickly. Metal seams should be cleaned and then sealed with duct mastic, which doesn’t crack. Your home energy specialist can diagnose all of these issues with your duct work during a Home energy audit.

If you have questions about your current heating system, want to schedule a home energy audit or just go right to replacement options – fill out our free estimate form.

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