If you’re looking to replace your heat pump, air conditioner, or other HVAC equipment, you probably want to know how long you can expect the new unit to last. Unfortunately, estimating the lifespan of HVAC equipment isn’t always easy since there are numerous factors that can impact how long the system will continue functioning efficiently. That being said, here is everything you need to know about the average lifespan of heating and cooling equipment and the factors that can affect it.

Average Lifespan of Heating and Cooling Equipment

Generally speaking, most new HVAC systems will last for anywhere from 15 to 25 years. However, this depends on a wide variety of different factors including the specific type of equipment. Gas furnaces will typically have a lifespan of anywhere from 15 to 30 years, whereas central air conditioners will usually only last for 15 to 20 years.

Heat pumps usually have the shortest lifespan on any HVAC equipment at anywhere from 10 to 20 years. This is because heat pumps work to provide both heating and cooling, which means they run for many more hours in a single year. Ductless mini-splits can potentially last for 30 years or more if they are only used for cooling, but this number is often halved if the unit is used for heating as well.

The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

Maintenance is generally the most important factor in determining how long your HVAC equipment will hold up. If you neglect to have both your heating and cooling system maintained at least once a year, you can pretty much be assured that the equipment will have a much shorter lifespan. Scheduling an annual maintenance appointment allows you to catch any minor problems before they can cause serious damage to your equipment.

A heating or cooling tune-up also ensures that your equipment is working as efficiently as it should be. If the system isn’t working efficiently, it will need to run more frequently and for longer periods in order to properly heat or cool the home. This leads to greater wear and tear, which can result in more frequent repair needs and a shortened overall lifespan.

Other Factors That Can Impact the Lifespan of HVAC Systems

It is always important that whatever HVAC equipment you’re using is the right size for your home. If the equipment is either oversized or undersized, it generally won’t last for nearly as long. Undersized equipment will have to work much harder and run for longer to heat or cool the home, and the more hours the system runs, the fewer years it will last.

With oversized equipment, the biggest issue is short-cycling. This means that the system will often turn off before completing a full heating or cooling cycle. Most of the time this leads to the system constantly turning on and off, which also results in greater wear and tear as well as increased energy costs. Over time, this issue will usually cause the motor in the air handler or AC compressor to burn out and require the unit to be replaced.

Climate is another factor that can play a major role in determining how long your HVAC equipment will last. In warmer climates like California, you can generally expect that your air conditioner will have a shorter than average lifespan since it will get much more use in your home or apartment. On the other hand, the lifespan of your heating system should be at the upper end of the average range since it will get very little use. The opposite is also true for people who live in areas with milder summers and much colder winters. In this case, the cooling system will typically last for
longer than average, while the heating system will have a shortened lifespan.

One other factor that can play a major role is living near the coast. Air conditioners and heat pumps tend to have a much shorter lifespan in coastal areas due to all of the salt in the air. Salt is highly corrosive. It will quickly begin to damage the components inside the equipment and cause them to wear out much sooner.

The quality of the equipment itself is also an important factor, which is why you should always opt for units made by a reputable manufacturer. At Polar Express Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we carry a wide range of heating and cooling equipment from the top brands in the HVAC industry, and our technicians can help you choose the best system for your needs. We also offer maintenance and repair services for all makes and models of equipment to ensure your existing HVAC system lasts as long as possible. We are located in Lake Elsinore and have more than 20 years of experience providing outstanding HVAC services. To gather more information or schedule an appointment, give us a call today.

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Anthony Dieringer
Anthony Dieringer

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