Did you know that the US HVAC industry was worth over $7 billion in 2019? Almost every building in the US needs air conditioning or HVAC machinery. Whether it is keeping employees or a family cool in summer, or even heating in winter, AC is more than a luxury.
However, if you have had the same HVAC system for a few years, or your system is starting to indicate problems, what should you do? Should you expect to have to replace the whole system? How long do HVAC systems last? Why not follow our article below to find out.
How Long do HVAC Systems Last?
An HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) system is a huge installation. It makes sense to install it correctly and get as many years of use out of it as possible. In general terms, HVAC systems can last as long as 15-25 years.
However, like every machine, its life course depends on the maintenance performed and the quality of its individual parts. If you will have to change your system, you should consult with a professional company to assess all your HVAC options.
Factors That Affect HVAC Service Life
To extend the life of your HVAC system there are some things that you should avoid. These include:
- Poor maintenance
- Poor quality or defective components
- Installing too small or too large a system
- Improper installation
- Improper usage
- The salty or corrosive environments
Whereas some of these factors, such as the location of the installation, may not be under your control, regular maintenance is. A lack of maintenance can cause the HVAC system to slow down within a short period of time. Neglecting the cleaning of HVAC ducts can allow deposits of dust or other unwanted material to develop.
An HVAC system of the incorrect size can lead to frequent switching on and switching off. This will increase the rate of wear and tear on machine parts over time. All of these factors affect the life-span of your HVAC installation.
The Life Span of HVAC Systems
The life of your HVAC system should be as long as 25 years. However, different AC types will have different life spans. They are also only as reliable as their individual parts. What should you expect to replace during the service life of your HVAC system?
Gas furnaces can last as long as 30 years if cared for well. A furnace is usually only replaced when the heat exchanger fails. It is one of the most expensive parts of the machine. This is one part that is worth spending good money on. Cheaper furnaces or heat exchanges will last perhaps only 10 years and require more care and attention.
Air conditioners will last perhaps only 20 years before needing replacement. AC units are particularly susceptible to salt corrosion. If you live in an area where there is high salt content, you should expect that your AC will last only 10-15 years. AC units are generally replaced when the compressor fails or corrosion causes condenser failure.
Heat pumps have a life of up to 20 years. Heat pumps are similar to AC in that they are used to provide heating and cooling. Due to their potential year-round use, they typically suffer greater wear and tear. They are also subject to salt corrosions so expect a shorter life span if installed near coastal areas.
These small units provide both heating and cooling. Potentially, they can have a life span of up to 30 years if well cared for.
While it is true that these types of HVAC systems do offer encouraging statistics regarding life span. This does not mean that they will run with consistently equal efficiency during this time. Many people choose to replace their systems earlier than necessary. True they are removing their system before truly necessary. However, by installing a more efficient system they are actually saving money from the running costs of the HVAC system.
Maintenance of Non-Mechanical Parts
Ensuring the long life of your HVAC system involves more than simply replacing mechanical parts. From time to time you may heave to maintain duct-work and other non-mechanical parts.
When this is necessary, you can expect to have workers in every part of your house. They will be in crawl spaces, attic, on your roof, anywhere where they need to access your HVAC system parts. This is necessary to ensure the integrity of the ductwork and that joints and fixtures are not corroding.
If there is a serious problem you may have to replace major sections of your HVAC installation. This could involve installation in the internal parts of the installation. It could also mean the inside air handler or evaporator. It could also mean that they replace external parts such as the compressor or condensing units, new refrigerant supply lines, or the thermostat.
Be aware that HVAC installations require professional HVAC certified tradesmen to carry out certain maintenance or replacement jobs. However, certified electricians will also be needed for some aspects of the installation.
However, as in all mechanical installations, in general, paying a little extra for a certified reputable professional company will save you money and protect your peace of mind in the years to come.
Take Care of Your HVAC System
If your HVAC system is starting to indicate that it needs attention you may be wondering “how long do HVAC systems last?”. Now you know that with the right maintenance program, you can make them last longer than you may think.
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