Expected HVAC lifespan is an important factor when buying a new A/C or furnace, purchasing a home with an existing system or deciding whether it’s time to replace an older unit. The longevity of an air conditioner or furnace isn’t a fixed number. In many cases, HVAC lifespan depends on a number of variable factors. Therefore, no one can predict exactly how many years a new unit will last. Also, though an aging unit may still be functional, per se, replacement may nevertheless be advisable if the energy efficiency of the system is outdated and imposing unnecessarily high operating costs.
On average, the lifespan of a central air conditioner can range from 7 to 15 years. Natural gas-fired furnaces are about the same. Here are some variables that can influence that lifespan:
- Professional installation. An A/C or furnace must be installed by a qualified HVAC technician in a process that includes a load calculation to determine the right size unit for the house. “Size” refers to an A/C or furnace’s BTU capacity. A unit that is oversized or undersized will often have reduced lifespan compared to a unit that precisely matches load calculation specifications determined by a professional installer.
- Adequate maintenance. Manufacturers know that annual preventive maintenance is critical to maximizing performance, efficiency and lifespan of an A/C or furnace. That’s why it’s usually required by the warranty terms. Skipping the regular yearly maintenance procedure by a qualified HVAC contractor often leads to accelerated component failure, higher operating costs and early replacement.
- Household factors. The general efficiency of the house also impacts HVAC lifespan. Homes should be periodically evaluated for adequate insulation and air sealing to reduce A/C and furnace wear and tear. Leaks in home ductwork may exist and also overwork HVAC systems, causing shortened lifespan. An HVAC contractor can inspect and test ducts, then offer sealing options.
For more advice on extending the HVAC lifespan, contact the heating and cooling experts at Arpi’s Industries.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC system components and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.
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