End of Service Life | Davis Bay

Abstract: Davis Bay Home Inspector notes on end of service life for heating and plumbing systems.

Photo: Detail of a remarkable 25 year old furnace burners and heat exchanger. The unit is so clean it could easily be mistaken as new.

Today’s inspection was of a home over 20 years old. Both gas appliances, the furnace and the hot water heater were into the ‘red zone’ with respect to remaining service life.

The house was immaculately maintained by the present owners. The two appliances showed no signs of incipient fault or neglect. In fact the furnace has been serviced annually.

How should the inspection report cover these items?

For the hot water heater, my recommendation would be to continue to use it until it finally fails. It has a drip pan and floor drain so any leakage will be contained. When it does fail, any inconvenience to the cut-off of hot water will be short-lived as local plumbing contractors have stock readily available.

For the furnace, the annual servicing will certainly extend the remaining life of the unit. The burners and visible heat exchanger were both spotless!

Nonetheless the report advised the buyer to budget for replacement of both items within 5 years. Of course, at that time the owner will be looking for high efficiency units that will typically require 30% less fuel consumption. Got to love progress!