AA Air Fall Newsletter 2016
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE LIFE SPAN OF A HVAC UNIT
How long will my heating and cooling unit last? When asked that question my answer is usually, “That depends.” It can depend on a number of factors. The first is how well it was installed. If the unit is not exposed to stress due to installation problems like undersized ductwork and improperly sized refrigerant lines it has a better chance of lasting longer than average. It also can depend on the level of maintenance the unit receives. Ensuring the system is operating with clean filters is extremely important. Operating with clogged filters and dirty indoor coils definitely shortens equipment life. Regular, professional maintenance can also uncover many life extending corrections and improvements for your unit. And finally, a quality brand will, in general, outperform a budget choice in lifespan. But overall, you will typically see an electric heat pump last around 13 to 15 years. The same goes for an air conditioning unit. A gas furnace installed in a good environment can see around 18 to 20 years of service. A furnace in a humid area doesn’t typically last as long.
How do you know it is time to replace? My answer is again, “That depends.” Sometimes it is obvious that the unit is not feasible to repair or parts are not available. When facing a significant repair at the 10 year mark all factors should be considered. Your hard earned money may be better spent toward a new unit at that time. A unit that has required frequent repairs may reduce headache and worry if replaced.
If your system is currently operating with the phase-out refrigerant, R22 you should strongly consider replacing it rather than repairing. R22 will phase out completely in 4 1/2 years. It has increased significantly in cost again this summer. And also, replacing an old and inefficient unit could lower utility bills and help pay for itself. With rebates and tax credits available, replacing sooner rather than later may make sense. One very important tool to assist you in the process of deciding if it is time to replace is the maintenance technician. The older your unit gets the more important regular maintenance becomes. The first reason is to keep it in the best shape possible as it ages. The second is so your service technician can give you the best advice based on current operating conditions. Call us if you have questions about your unit. A system designer or a service technician is available to help.