We get this question all the time from our clients: “How long should my HVAC system last?”
And this is usually followed by: “Is it time to replace mine?”
The honest answer is that it really depends on a variety of factors. How old is your unit? Was your furnace, AC or heat pump installed correctly? How well has it been maintained over the years? Have you given your system yearly tune-ups? How is your duct work looking?
But we know people want straightforward answers so we’ll give you the general numbers, then we’ll get into specifics.
- Furnaces can last 15-20 years
- Air conditioners can last 10-15 years
- Heat pumps can last 10-16 years
Obviously, we want to see our HVAC system reach the longest lifespan but getting to that point takes care and diligence. Here are some of the main factors in the lifespan of your HVAC system.
Tune-ups and maintenance
The biggest factor by far in extending the lifetime of your HVAC system is regular maintenance and yearly tune-ups. If your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner are getting regular care they are much more likely to last longer. Simple steps like cleaning fans and motors, clearing clogged lines and removing debris are small things that can have big effects on performance and endurance.
Additionally, catching small problems before they become big problems can literally save the life of your HVAC system. Every moving piece of your furnace, heat pump or AC is interconnected. If a fan motor goes out, it’s going to tax the rest of the system and potentially lead to more repairs and maybe even a complete breakdown. Small stuff has a way of snowballing into bigger stuff quite easily and quite quickly. The sooner you catch these problems, the cheaper they are to fix. This is why you need regular tune-ups and maintenance.
Regular filter changes
This is an easy task that you don’t need any professional help to do. When your filters get dirty and clogged they don’t allow air to circulate properly. Not only will you get more contaminated air throughout your house but you tax your HVAC system. The key to a long life for your HVAC is to let it run at its optimal condition. When it has to work harder, every part of the system is pushed to its limit. This can lead to breakdowns, wear and tear and take years off your system’s life.
Check your manufacturer’s specifications to make sure you’re getting the right filter and changing often enough.
Cleanliness is longevity
Another regular care tip you can perform on your own is to make sure your HVAC is clean and free of debris. This is particularly important for outside AC units. Dirt, dust and debris often find their way into your HVAC unit. Dirty or blocked condensers block airflow, making your unit chug along with more difficulty and potentially causing other serious problems. You can remove large debris with gloved hands. Stick to the debris on the outside, without getting into the unit just to stay safe. Then use a hose to spray off loose debris from the outside of the unit.
Is it time to replace your HVAC system?
Now, if you’re reaching those upper thresholds of the age ranges of your HVAC system, it may be time to start doing your research and looking at your options. Don’t be hasty in purchasing a new HVAC system. Always make sure you are well educated and talk with a professional so you can get the best system for your home.
Maybe you’re in a different boat and your HVAC is starting to act up even though it should have many more years of life ahead of it. Here, you want to go back to those fundamentals of care. Was your unit installed properly? Has it received regular care and maintenance? Have you changed the filters regularly and kept the unit free of debris?
The last thing you want is to sink a bunch of your hard-earned dollars into repairs on a dying HVAC system, only to find that you need to replace it all anyways. This is the time when you call in a trusted professional. At Brian’s Heating and Cooling, we’ll be able to diagnose your system and tell you whether it just needs some repairs or if it might be on its last leg.
We want your HVAC system to live to its fullest lifespan. So, make sure you’re getting those regular tune-ups and keeping filters and units clean.
Long live your HVAC!