The Typical Lifespan of an HVAC System
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The Typical Lifespan of an HVAC System

hvac lifespan Your HVAC system is the heart of your home. Just like your actual heart, your HVAC system must be maintained well to operate at full capacity. That’s why preventative maintenance is the key to its health and longevity. Whether you’re wondering what the expected lifespan of your HVAC system is or how to make it more energy efficient, we’re here to help. Check out the guide below to learn more about the average HVAC lifespan and more.

The Lifespans of Common HVAC Systems

HVAC systems can last anywhere from 10 years to 50 years. It all comes down to the type of system and how well it’s maintained. If you remember to do things like replace the air filter every few months, clean the condenser coils, and seek repairs promptly when needed, your system will last for years to come. Let’s look at the average lifespan of different types of HVAC systems to help you decide what’s best for your home.

Air Conditioners

Most air conditioners last between 15 and 20 years, although some may only last 10. The good news is that modern AC units are made with higher-quality materials and built for the long haul. But they still aren’t immune to the natural wear that comes with age. Factors that reduce the lifespan of an AC unit include:
  • Exposure to salty air, especially in coastal areas, given its corrosive properties
  • A failed air compressor
  • A leaky or corroding condenser
  • Poor maintenance
  • Dirty or loose parts

Furnaces

The average gas furnace lasts roughly 20 to 30 years when it’s maintained well—sometimes even longer—whereas poorly maintained furnaces only last 10 or so years. Oil furnaces usually don’t last more than 10 to 15 years because they’re prone to fuel problems. Even newer, more energy-efficient furnaces are susceptible to wear and tear along the way, especially when these factors are involved:
  • Leaky heat exchanger
  • Dirty air filter
  • Malfunctioning electrical components
  • Faulty control switch

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

A geothermal heating and cooling system is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gas, oil, and electric-powered units. They use natural ground temperatures to provide homes with heating and cooling. Geothermal systems average 25 to 30 years, with some lasting as long as 50 years. Here’s what you can do to maximize the longevity of a geothermal system:
  • Replace air filters
  • Upgrade your home’s insulation
  • Clean air ducts
  • Take advantage of the thermostat’s “auto” setting
  • Remove debris and other obstructions from the outdoor unit

Boilers

Boilers typically last anywhere from 20 to 35 years, which is on par with most furnaces, if not slightly longer. If your boiler isn’t performing as it once was, a leaky heat exchanger may be to blame.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have an average lifespan of 10 to 20 years, although it ultimately depends on how frequently the system is used and how well it’s taken care of. This type of system functions as an air conditioner and a furnace in one, producing both cool and warm air. Since heat pumps are used year-round, routine maintenance is even more important to maximize performance and longevity. Plus, maintaining your unit will help reduce repair costs over time.

4 Signs It’s Time for HVAC System Repairs or a Replacement

Here’s how you know it’s time to repair or replace your HVAC system.
  • Declining Energy Efficiency
HVAC systems naturally become less efficient over time, even with proper maintenance. One easy way you can tell if your system’s efficiency is declining is by looking at your monthly energy bill. The less efficient your HVAC system becomes, the higher your energy bill will be. Inconsistent heating or cooling is also a telltale sign of system inefficiency. Don’t delay in scheduling repairs or a replacement as soon as you notice either of these issues.
  • Persistent Repairs
While the occasional malfunction is nothing to worry about, frequent malfunctions or breakdowns should raise a red flag. An HVAC system that constantly breaks down and needs repairs likely has broken internal components. When all is said and done, paying for these repairs over and over will wind up costing you more than simply replacing the unit.
  • Age of the System
Once HVAC systems start nearing the end of their life expectancy, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. The last thing you want is to wait until it stops working and you’re left without heating or cooling until a new system can be installed. The good news is that newer HVAC models are equipped with more advanced technology that helps maximize their longevity.
  • Noises and Odors
It’s normal for an HVAC system to be somewhat noisy and produce a slight burning smell when it’s turned on for the first time in a while. But anything more than that should raise some safety concerns. If the problem persists, have a technician inspect your system to determine whether repairs or a replacement is the right move.

4 Ways to Extend the Lifespan of Your HVAC System

1. Regular Maintenance

The best thing you can do for your HVAC system is maintain it. This includes replacing the filters quarterly, scheduling an annual tune-up, cleaning the internal components, and removing any obstructions from the outdoor unit. These simple maintenance tasks will keep your system running efficiently and maximize its longevity.

2. Proper Size and Installation

It’s not just about the type of HVAC system you choose; it’s also about choosing the right size unit and having it installed correctly. An improperly sized or installed unit will experience more wear and tear, which means it won’t last as long.

3. Monitoring and Timely Repairs

Keep an eye on your HVAC system, and contact a technician at the first sign of trouble. The longer you wait to address issues, the worse they will become. Seek prompt repairs to restore function and enhance the lifespan of your unit.

4. Upgrading to Energy-Efficient Systems

Another way to extend the lifespan of your HVAC system is to invest in an energy-efficient model. Newer systems undergo less wear and tear than older ones and use energy more efficiently.

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