An HVAC system is a worthwhile investment, and it is only reasonable to want to use it optimally. Typically, most HVAC systems survive 15 to 25 years of regular usage, but several factors can make the estimated year of usage highly variable.
Factors affecting HVAC longevity
Several factors can limit the lifespan of the HVAC system, including:
- An oversized or undersized system
- Wrong installation method
- Poor maintenance routines
- Defective components
- Extremely high usage or load
- Inappropriate use, such as leaving the windows and doors open
- Mounting in a salty or corrosive environment
Of these factors, poor maintenance and oversizing gives the hardest blow. Lack of maintenance can cause the components to wear faster, leading to a remarkably short lifespan. Oversizing can cause repeated on and off cycles, causing the failure of the compressor or blower motor. Air conditioners or heat pumps mounted in coastal areas will also have a shorter lifespan because of corrosion of the condenser unit by salt.
The longevity of HVAC systems
The operation lifetime of an HVAC system depends on the type. Here is a list of common HVAC systems and their average longevity.
With regular maintenance, a gas furnace can last between 20 to 30 years, or longer. Often, a furnace is changed once the heat exchanger starts leaking since it is one of the most important and costly components. Poorly maintained or low-quality systems may last for about 10 years, while oil furnaces usually only last for about 10 to 15 years because of maintenance issues caused by inefficient fuel.
Boilers often survive longer than furnaces, with an average longevity of 20 to 35 years. They are often replaced once the heat exchange starts leaking.
Most ACs will function for 15 to 20 years, while some may last about 10 years. Salt exposure in coastal areas often reduces AC longevity to about seven to 12 years. Air conditioners and heat pumps are usually changed when the compressor becomes faulty, or the condenser gets corroded and starts leaking.
These have a longevity of 10 to 20 years, depending on usage, but 15 years is the average. Heat pumps have the same function as air conditioners, but because they heat and cool, they are often used all year round.
These systems also function for heating and cooling and have a longevity of 10 to 30 years.
Although these are the typical lifespan, many homeowners may opt to change their HVAC system earlier. As the system gets older, it will soon become less efficient and unreliable, leading to increased energy costs and maintenance. After a system passes 10 to 15 years, it is advisable to upgrade to a newer, more efficient system. This will save costs on energy and repairs, especially if the existing system is failing.
If you are concerned about the operation of your HVAC system, you should contact a professional HVAC technician for help. They will thoroughly inspect your current system and give an estimate of its longevity, as well as suggest upgrades or servicing.