When it comes to your budget, time running out on the life expectancy of your heating & cooling system could be a time bomb.
One of the questions we most often hear is, “How long will my system last?” This can either apply to a new install, or a system that looks like it’s survived a tornado. Usually, our technician can locate the year of the make and model of your system and with a little research can come up with the age. But many variables play into finding the length of time it will properly operate.
If there were previous owners of your home, they may have left paperwork. In fact, it’s something you can do for yourself by copying down the make and serial number, and any other information located on the equipment, then go to the internet or call the manufacturer directly.
Advances in technology through the years have greatly extended the life and efficiency of a system. People will often choose to install a new system before the old one fails for several reasons.
- They don’t want to wait until the day it quits, and risk, being left in extreme heat or cold while it’s replaced. Installing a new system provides warranty coverage savings, and no repair costs.
- Many utility companies offer dollar incentives.
- Major advancements in technology mean a high percentage of efficiency savings. You’ll be very surprised at how significantly less your heating and cooling bills will be.
- Peace of mind, clean healthier air, less noise, and more.
Heating and Cooling Life Cycles
Your geographical location can factor into the life of your HVAC equipment. For example, perhaps you lived along the coast of Southern California for several years before you moved to Minnesota. Heating and cooling equipment located near the ocean have a tendency to wear faster due to salt corrosive elements. Hotter locations will, of course, have a lower life expectancy for air conditioners.
RTUs (roof top units) tend to wear because they are exposed to the elements: from scorching sun, to rain, hail, hurricanes and blizzards. In a situation like this, the average expectancy for a new unit may be 10 -15 years. Of course, some insurance policies will cover the costs from hail damage.
Here in our area a closer comparison comes from a HVAC professional in Wisconsin, who said he expects a new well-maintained furnace to last 20 years.
Another expert in Pennsylvania believes a properly sized and installed heat pump/cooling system with minimal maintenance should last 15 – 25 years, or even longer.
Another consideration is the application, sizing and maintenance. Oversized heating & cooling equipment will fail far sooner than its properly sized counterpart. This is partly due to on-off cycling because the start-up period is the hardest period for the compressor. For furnaces, the temperature extremes between off and on will cause expansion and contraction of the heat exchanger. This places more stress on it.
How the occupants of a home use their heating and cooling also raises a large factor in length of years.
- Do they keep their home very warm or cool?
- Do they manage the humidity with a portable or whole-house dehumidifier or humidifier?
- What are their personal hygiene habits? Showers, spray products, laundry products, candles, fireplace smoke, all can affect the HVAC system.
- Do they constantly keep changing the thermostat?
- Is the home located on farming land? Crops can even have a large effect on the heating and cooling system.
Northern States and Canada
One opinion coming from north of us in Canada boasts of clients with original high-efficiency systems that have lasted from 30 – 33 years or more. Much of this they attribute to owner care in keeping the system checked, adding filters, and regularly system checkups by their HVAC technician. On the other hand, high usage has led to less life. The Canadian utility uses a life expectancy of 16 – 20 years.
The Point of View
As contractors, we give our best effort in placing a time expectancy on your equipment. But so many variables enter in. Included with those above, is the make and model of the system. Has it had many past failures and repairs, etc?
And it depends on how you view it. For example, different age generations of customers vary in how they view the time value.
Folks over 45 tend to think things should last longer. They may take better care of their belongings, so expect them to serve them longer. A more conservative group holds longer life expectations. So they would hope for at least a 20 year life for their heating & cooling equipment.
Consumers less than 35 are more accustomed to buying things more often, expect them to serve their needs for however many years, and replace them on credit.
Stop the Clock
As we mentioned earlier…a lot depends on you as to how long your HVAC equipment lasts. Do you change filter a lot? At least weekly?
- Consider your habits…when you cook, do you create a lot of smoke?
- Do you constantly turn the thermostat up and down?
- Do you keep up with changing the filters?
Keeping things clean and properly maintained, will prolong the life of the equipment. Signing up for the APP (Abel Performance Program) will insure periodic maintenance and inspection. This will not only keep the system in peak performance, but will allow early detection of problems.
At Abel we have technicians with the expertise to answer your questions and give you the best evaluations.
Give us a call at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us