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Your heating and cooling system is a significant investment, so you want it to last as long as possible before having to replace it. If your equipment is acting up, you may wonder if it simply needs an HVAC repair or if it’s nearing the end of its life span. You can help answer this question by learning how long HVAC systems last. Then, you can help extend the life expectancy of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump by following helpful tips from an HVAC contractor.

Typical Life Spans of Different HVAC Systems

The estimated service life of heating and cooling equipment varies by type. Here’s a look at the average life expectancy of four common HVAC systems:

  • Air conditioner life span: AC units generally last 15 years, give or take a few summers. Because half of the unit is located outside, air conditioners installed in salty coastal areas may give out after just seven to 12 years. A replacement becomes necessary if the compressor fails, the condenser corrodes, or a phased-out refrigerant system develops a leak.
  • Furnace life span: Expect a natural gas furnace to last around 20 years, sometimes longer in warm climates where they get less use. Oil furnaces don’t last as long due to the inherent problems caused by this less efficient fuel source. A cracked heat exchanger is a critical problem demanding immediate furnace replacement.
  • Heat pump life span: The average service life of a heat pump is 15 years. This system functions similarly to an air conditioner in the summer, but it also provides heating in the winter, so it operates all year round. As with AC units, heat pumps installed in coastal regions have a shorter life expectancy.
  • Ductless mini-split life span: Also called a ductless heat pump, a mini-split supplies year-round heating and cooling via wall-mounted air handlers, so no ductwork is required. With proper care, ductless HVAC systems can last 20 years or more, except in coastal areas where they may succumb to the elements sooner.

Keep in mind that these life spans are only estimates. Many homeowners replace their HVAC systems sooner if the equipment becomes less reliable and more expensive to operate. After all, the energy savings and reduced repair costs often justify installing a new furnace and air conditioner before they max out their life spans.

How to Help Your HVAC System Last Longer

Heating and cooling systems have variable life spans because the wear and tear they experience depends largely on how people use them. By following these tips to install, operate, and care for your HVAC equipment, you can add years to its service life. Here’s what HVAC contractors recommend to reduce wear and tear:

  • Choose a reliable brand: The first step is to select an HVAC brand with a solid reputation for high quality and longevity. Then, warranty coverage should protect you against potential component defects.
  • Size your new system correctly: An undersized system will struggle to keep up, leaving you with comfort problems. More importantly from a longevity standpoint, an oversized system will cycle on and off excessively, leading to the premature compressor or blower motor failure. To prevent these scenarios, make sure your HVAC contractor conducts formal load calculations to size your system correctly.
  • Follow proper installation procedures: HVAC installation is not a DIY job. Leave it to a qualified professional who can configure the system for peak performance, reliability, and service life.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Preventive maintenance is critically important for a long HVAC life span. Cleaning, tightening, lubricating, and adjusting your system once a year slows down wear and tear for a dramatically extended life span.
  • Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature: Excessive usage can wear out your HVAC system’s essential components. To prevent this, set your thermostat to the high 70s in the summer and the low 70s in the winter. Dress for the season, and only adjust the thermostat one degree at a time if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Shut the windows and doors when running your furnace or air conditioner: This fundamental operating tip reduces the heating and cooling load to prevent your HVAC system from running more than necessary, thus reducing wear and tear.

Schedule HVAC Services

Do you need HVAC installation, maintenance, repair, or replacement near Orlando? Turn to Certified Climate Control for a job well done. We’re qualified to service HVAC systems of all kinds, operating as a preferred dealer for Daikin, Bryant, and other leading HVAC brands. We also retain an A+ rating with the BBB and have proudly won the Super Service Award nine years in a row. Get in touch with us today to schedule reliable HVAC services in Orange, Seminole, or Volusia County, FL.