How Long Will My HVAC System Last?
A heating or cooling system is a significant investment, and it only makes sense to get as much use out of it as possible. In general, most HVAC systems will last from 15 to 25 years, but depending on the type of system and other contributing factors, that estimate can be highly variable. Even with HVAC maintenance and regular repairs, eventually even the best boilers, furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners today will run their course over time.
Factors That Affect HVAC Service Life
There are many things that can reduce the life span of HVAC equipment, including:
- Poor maintenance practices
- Poor initial quality or defective components
- Oversizing or undersizing the system
- Improper installation procedures
- Inordinately high usage or high loads
- Improper usage, such as heating or cooling with windows and doors open
- Installation in salty or corrosive environments, such as coastal areas
Of these, poor maintenance and oversizing are the most detrimental. A lack of maintenance can lead to accelerated component wear and a dramatically shorter life span, while oversizing can cause frequent on-and-off cycling, leading to compressor or blower motor failure. With preventive maintenance plans, HVAC systems will last longer because small issues are caught before they require costly fixes. Air conditioners or heat pumps in coastal areas will also see significantly reduced life spans due to salt corroding the condenser unit.
Typical HVAC Life Spans
The service life of an HVAC system depends on its type. Here are the typical life spans for common HVAC equipment:
- Furnaces – With proper maintenance, gas furnaces typically last 20 to 30 years, or even longer. Usually, a furnace is replaced when the heat exchanger starts leaking, as it is one of the most critical and expensive components. Systems that are poorly maintained or of questionable quality may last as little as 10 years, while oil furnaces typically last only 10 to 15 years, due to maintenance problems caused by the inefficient fuel.
- Boilers – Boilers often last slightly longer than furnaces, with an average life span of 20 to 35 years. Usually, they are replaced when the heat exchanger starts leaking.
- Air conditioners – Most air conditioners will last 15 to 20 years, though some may last closer to 10. In coastal areas, they typically last only seven to 12 years due to salt exposure. Both air conditioners and heat pumps are usually replaced when the compressor fails or the condenser develops significant corrosion and leaks.
- Heat pumps – Heat pumps can last 10 to 20 years, depending on usage frequency, though 15 is average. Functionally, heat pumps are similar to air conditioners, but because they can provide both heating and cooling, they are typically used longer each year. Heat pumps in coastal areas will also fail prematurely, with typical life spans of seven to 12 years.
- Ductless mini-splits – Like heat pumps, ductless mini-splits can provide both heating and cooling, with a typical life span of 10 to 30 years, except in coastal areas.
While these are the most common life spans, many homeowners choose to replace their HVAC system sooner. As the system ages, it will gradually become less reliable and efficient, increasing repair and utility costs. Once a system is 10 to 15 years old, the monthly energy savings from upgrading to a newer, more efficient model can often justify the initial investment, especially if the current system is unreliable or has major problems.
HVAC Replacement in Macon, GA
If you are worried about the condition of your HVAC system, our team at Conditioned Air, Inc. can help. We can perform a full inspection of your system and estimate its remaining service life. We offer complete replacement services if you choose to upgrade, as well as comprehensive maintenance and repair services to keep your system running smoothly.
To schedule a system inspection or replacement, contact Conditioned Air today at (478) 787-6578!