How Long Does an HVAC System Last

HVAC units last longer when regular maintenance is performed

Don’t miss the opportunity to extend your HVAC system life and prevent losing valuable business because your HVAC unit stopped working. Understanding how long HVAC units last will help you get it replaced while it is still an option. gathered information about an HVAC’s lifespan, how you can help it last longer, what maintenance should be done, and what signals that it’s time to replace the unit.

How Long Will My HVAC Unit Last?

Most Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are built to last from 15 to 25 years, but depending on the type of system and other contributing factors, estimated lifespans may vary.

How to Prolong Your HVAC’s Lifespan

Your HVAC unit is already built to last for decades. However, you can keep it running efficiently and extend its lifespan by:

  • Installing, upgrading, or reinforcing your building’s insulation
  • Check your structure’s weather stripping and seals
  • Periodically checking on your condenser’s performance
  • Leaving the unit’s settings on “AUTO”
  • Upgrading to smart thermostats throughout your building
  • Regularly change the system’s filters
  • Schedule biannual HVAC maintenance visits
  • Encourage using fans and space heaters to lighten the load on your HVAC unit

Note: The operational health and efficiency of your HVAC will almost always depend on whether or not you properly maintained it throughout its lifetime.

HVAC Maintenance

HVAC units function properly for longer periods when regularly serviced

Whether your HVAC technician is inspecting your unit for the summer or winter season, routine maintenance typically includes:

  • Thorough cleaning (coils, drains, internal elements, etc.)
  • Testing safety controls
  • Monitoring refrigerant pressure
  • Testing heating elements and exhaust system(s)
  • Lubricating all moving parts
  • Inspecting and repairing connections, thermostat function, and motor operation

Note: HVAC tune-ups provide a valuable service to property owners and managers. They can restore a unit’s lost efficiency and capacity, and tune-ups significantly improve reliability by detecting problems before they lead to system failures.

HVAC Repair and Replacement

Your HVAC unit will likely operate for years without calling much attention to itself. However, when things go awry, and malfunctions begin occurring, immediate attention should be given to getting it repaired or replaced. The following are signs that your unit has reached or surpassed its life expectancy:

  • Your air conditioning is blowing warm air
  • Little to no air is blowing out of your vents
  • The thermostat has stopped working
  • Your unit is making loud noises
  • Water or gas leaks increase around the unit
  • Your electric bill skyrockets
  • Pilot light Problems have become commonplace
  • The unit has reached its projected lifespan

Humidity – One of the principal functions of an HVAC unit is significantly reducing the amount of humidity inside your structure. Even when located in a low humidity climate, the ambient air maintains small amounts of moisture. If you detect humidity within your building while the air conditioning component is running, the unit may need immediate repair.

Bad Odors – If you detect a moldy odor from your HVAC unit, chances are likely that mold or mildew has begun growing in or around your HVAC unit. This is commonplace since the air conditioning components remove excess moisture (humidity) from your structure in addition to cooling it. When condensed moisture cannot drain, mold and mildew grow quickly in areas retaining that moisture.

Electrical Malfunctions – There are multiple electrical components controlling your HVAC unit, including:

  • Circuit boards
  • Power wires
  • Fans
  • Compressors

If your HVAC emits a smell like burning gunpowder or plastic, it likely means any one, or a combination of these components are burning. In this situation, immediately shut down your HVAC unit and consult your professional HVAC technician for emergency repair or replacement.

Gas Leaks – The most alarming of these signs is the smell of gas leaking from your HVAC system. Natural gas itself has no smell, but utilities and gas companies mix it with methyl mercaptan to give it a distinctive odor. This odor ensures immediate detection and helps prevent fires, explosions, and severe harm from inhalation when gas leaks. In this case, your first action should be to shut off the gas flow, shut down your HVAC unit, ventilate your building, and call your gas provider to locate and repair the source of the problem.

Note: Malfunctions and maintenance emergencies often occur during severe weather and temperature. This is when your HVAC system is pushed beyond its capabilities. A properly working HVAC unit is crucial to a building’s occupant’s comfort and health.

HVAC Lifespan

In this article, you discovered how long HVAC systems last, how you can extend their lifespan, what maintenance is required, and signs that it’s time to replace your unit.

By keeping up with your HVAC unit, its maintenance program, and watching for signs of its decline, you can keep your building’s air consistently conditioned for decades.

Ignoring your HVAC unit and its needs can result in angry tenants, loss in revenue, and costly repairs.