It can be said that your HVAC system is one of the most important features in your home. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to stay warm during the freezing winters or cool off when the summer heat rolls through. With that being said, this essential system won’t last forever. Just like any other piece of machinery, its lifespan does run out.
What Is the Average Lifespan of an HVAC System?
On average, HVAC systems tend to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. The broad lifespan estimate is due to the fact that there is a wide range of individual systems that each have their own life expectancies. Some of these units include air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces.
These systems are also made up of individual components that should be replaced during routine maintenance. If not, they can negatively affect the lifespan of your entire unit. This includes the ductwork, vent hoses, temperature regulators, and thermostats.
The Life of an Air Conditioner
The lifespan of a central air unit usually lasts around 12 to 17 years. Chemicals are constantly being drawn through the system in order to provide cool air. Over time, these chemicals become corrosive to the copper elements of the unit, causing it to break down and corrode. The constant exposure to outdoor elements is another factor that can negatively affect the metal and copper coils of your AC unit.
The Life Expectancy of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are often seen as energy-efficient alternatives to conventional air conditioners. That’s because they are made to transport heat rather than generate it. Although they are known to be more environmentally friendly, keep in mind that the life expectancy of heat pumps ranges from 10 to 15 years. Therefore, air conditioners tend to last a bit longer.
How Long Do Furnaces Last?
Furnaces have been known to last upwards of 15 to 20 years. Oil-fueled furnaces often last longer than gas-fired furnaces. Though uncommon in this day and age, there are some furnaces that still feature cast iron heat exchangers. These rare systems can last up to 30 years or more.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
After all is said and done, you can’t expect any part of your HVAC system to live out its expected lifespan without routine maintenance. Maintenance checks can help you save money over time, by preventing expensive repairs and premature replacements. The average maintenance checklist includes:
- Debris removal
- Refrigerant inspections
- Filter changes
- Fan assessments
- Checking electrical connections
Other Important Factors
Along with the consistency and frequency of maintenance checks, there are other factors that can affect the lifespan of your HVAC unit. For instance, if you live in an area that experiences harsh and extreme temperatures, you will likely have to use your system for months at a time with minimal breaks, if any. Even if your weather isn’t considered to be harsh, consistently hot or cold temperatures can easily call for constant usage. Even though these units are extremely durable, this frequent usage can cause premature wear and tear and potentially shorten the overall lifespan.
How to Handle Hot Summers and Cold Winters
We do realize that there are times when it’s almost impossible to shut off your HVAC system for days just to preserve its lifespan. Luckily, there are other options. Utilizing the automatic setting and checking your insulation are two great ways to help preserve your unit during hot summers and cold winters.
When you place your fan on the auto setting, you are helping to ensure that the system will only be in use when it is actively cooling or heating your home. The fan setting, on the other hand, causes it to run constantly, even when your home has reached a desirable temperature.
Improper insulation, particularly in the attic, will cause your HVAC unit to work a lot harder than necessary. The excessive loss of heat and air will prevent your home from getting to the set temperature, causing the system to run way too frequently; and even non-stop in some cases. Insulation additions or upgrades can help to solve this issue.
Rely on the HVAC Experts
At IBBOTSON Heating & Air Conditioning Co., we are proud to provide top-notch HVAC services to residents in Arlington Heights, IL and the surrounding areas. Along with routine HVAC maintenance checks, our technicians also offer repair and installation services. Our product list includes everything from humidifiers and water heaters to air purifiers and geothermal systems. Contact us today to schedule an assessment or to learn more about our services.