Lifespan of Your Heating and Cooling System
Just like other household appliances, your heating and cooling system has a lifespan. In this article, you’ll discover what ages your system, how to help extend its life, warning signs that it’s at the end of its life, and what you should look for in a replacement.
Average Age of Heating and Cooling Systems
The average lifespan of a gas furnace and air conditioner combo is 10 to 20 years. Even though some models that are well-maintained can reach 20 years, most don’t and we recommend you start considering your options when your current unit turns 10 years old.
This doesn’t mean you have to make a purchase immediately but you should discuss different models with your HVAC provider and educate yourself on what your best options are. Prepare yourself to make this significant investment in your home to ensure that you avoid a future crisis that comes in the form of a quickly declining unit and insufficient funds to service it.
Factors That Can Age Your HVAC System
Certain factors can play a part in accelerating the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment and they are as follows:
- Quality and frequency of maintenance: We recommend scheduling maintenance with us twice a year so that we can maintain your system’s efficiency and cleanliness.
- Proper ventilation and moisture levels: A high level of moisture can cause elements of your furnace to rust and prematurely breakdown.
- Proper installation: According to Energy Star, over half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed, increasing the chances of the system breaking down prematurely by about 30%. This is just another reason why you should have your system installed by Middleton Heating and Cooling.
How to Extend Your HVAC System’s Life
Don’t worry, as a homeowner, there are things you can do to maximize your heating and cooling system and make sure you get the most out of your investment.
Scheduling regular maintenance is the most important step; you should have an HVAC provider checking on your system twice a year. During these appointments, they make sure all the parts are clean, lubricated, well-adjusted, and operating at max efficiency. Plus, one of our technicians can catch problems that could potentially develop into something more significant if not taken care of.
Between our scheduled maintenance visits, you can give your HVAC system a little care by changing the filters as frequently as your technician suggests. A dirty filter has major effects on your system but essentially all of them boil down to putting a strain on your system and requiring it to work harder to produce the same amount of work and, in turn, speeding up the aging process. A clean filter improves your home’s air quality and your family’s comfort.
Another way you can improve the efficiency of your system doesn’t even involve working on the furnace directly: installing or improving the insulation in your walls, ceiling, and attic helps to prevent the heat that your furnace is producing from escaping.
Warning Signs That Your System Is in Need of a Replacement
Do you know what would be awful? Discovering that you need to replace your air conditioner in the dead of summer when the sun’s blazing with all its might and you’re stuck with a completely inoperable AC unit. If you know the warning signs ahead of time, they can alert you to when your heating and cooling system is on its last legs and you should start looking for a replacement.
- Compare your system to the average life expectancy of residential HVAC systems. A furnace should last between 10 and 20 years. If it’s nearing that age, it could be nearing the end of its life but you should also consider other factors.
- Have you seen a spike in your energy bill? Rising energy costs aren’t the only thing to blame; a system reaching the end of its life starts to lose its efficiency, resulting in a system that’s working harder to do the same amount of work.
- Is it making strange noises? Certain major components of your system, specifically the furnace, will start to make banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises when it nears the end of its life.
- Is it no longer keeping you and your family comfortable? Toward the end of its life, your system may be unable to prevent humidity issues or keep your home as comfortable as it once did. If your home feels stuffy or stale or you’re suffering from reduced air quality, this could be another sign it’s time for a new system.
- Do you find that you’re constantly spending on costly HVAC repairs? As your system ages, you can replace one part and unfortunately be met with another repair soon after. Before you know it, you’ve spent thousands of dollars on failed components when the money would’ve been better spent on a replacement system.
How to Pick a Replacement HVAC System
Not all HVAC systems are created equal; this is definitely a situation where you get what you pay for. A good relationship with a quality HVAC provider is your key to picking out the best type of system for your home and budget.
Every furnace that’s manufactured today has an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating that indicates the system’s operating efficiency.
Your average gas furnace has an AFUE rating of at least 80% while high-efficiency furnaces have a rating of 90% or greater. The higher the number, the more efficiently the furnace operates and the lower your utility expenses will be.
Whether you need assistance in maintaining the HVAC system you have or protecting your investment in a brand new system, the right service provider makes all the difference. Give us a call: (804) 684-8998!