Last week we learned how to identify the different parts of your HVAC system and today we’re going to get a little more detailed. Just like your other household appliances, your system has a lifespan. 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 HVAC Systems
The average lifespan of a typical gas furnace and air conditioner combination is between 15 and 30 years.
Despite the fact that, under certain circumstances, systems can hold out 20 years or even more, we recommend that you start considering your options when your existing unit turns 10 years old.
You don’t have to make an immediate purchase, but it’s a good idea to start educating yourself about different models and preparing for making such a significant investment in your home. That way you can avoid a crisis when your current unit starts to decline.
Things That Can Age Your System
There are factors that come into play over the lifespan of heating and cooling equipment that can accelerate its aging process:
- Frequency and quality of maintenance: In order to maintain your system’s cleanliness and efficiency, we highly recommend scheduling maintenance with us at least twice a year.
- Moisture levels and proper ventilation: Excess moisture can cause components of your furnace to rust and breakdown prematurely.
- Proper installation: If your system is improperly installed, which according to Energy Star over half of all new HVAC systems are, then it has an increased 30% chance of breaking down prematurely. That is yet another reason you should have your system installed by a trusted and capable company.
Ways to Extend Your System’s Life
As a homeowner, you want to get the most use possible out of every major investment in your family’s comfort:
Scheduling regular maintenance – twice a year, preferably – is the most important step in extending your unit’s life. Systems that are properly maintained have a longer lifespan because the parts are clean, lubricated, and well-adjusted and one of our technicians can catch problems before they develop into something bigger.
Between our maintenance visits, you can give your furnace a little TLC by changing the filter as frequently as your HVAC technician recommends. A dirty filter forces your system to work harder to produce the same amount of heat driving the cost up and speeding up the breakdown of your system. A clean filter improves your home’s air quality.
Another way to help the efficiency of your system doesn’t even involve the furnace directly: maintaining the ductwork that runs throughout your home and installing or improving the insulation in your walls, ceiling, and attic help prevent the escape of heat.
Warning Signs Your System Needs to Be Replaced
The last thing you want is to discover that your furnace is completely inoperable when you need it most. Watching for these warning signs will alert you when your furnace is at the end of its life and start looking for a replacement.
- Start by comparing the age of your system to the national average life expectancy of residential HVAC systems. Furnaces should last between 15 and 30 years. If your furnace is nearing that age, it might be nearing the end of its life. But also consider other symptoms.
- Are you seeing a spike in your energy bill? If so, rising energy costs are not the only thing to blame; a furnace that’s reaching the end of its life loses its efficiency. As a result, your furnace is working harder to produce the same amount of work and therefore driving up your energy bill.
- Have you heard strange noises coming from your furnace? As a furnace nears the end of its lifetime, major components may begin to fail, and may begin to make banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises.
- Are you experiencing issues with comfort? Toward the end of its lifespan, your system may be unable to prevent humidity issues, or keep your home as comfortable as it used to. If your house has a stuffy or stale atmosphere or you and your family are suffering from reduced air quality, this could be yet another sign it’s time for a replacement.
- Are you constantly needing HVAC repairs? Like your car, as your system ages, you can replace one part and unfortunately need another repair soon after. Before you know it, you’ve potentially spent thousands of dollars on failed components. Those dollars likely would have been better spent on a replacement system.
How to Pick a New HVAC System
Not all equipment is created equal and this is definitely a situation where you get what you pay for. A good relationship with a quality comfort provider is your key to understanding how to choose the best type of system for your home and your budget.
Every furnace that’s manufactured today has an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating that indicates the system’s operating efficiency.
Standard gas furnaces have 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 can be despite the initial investment.
You already know that you can count on us for all your heating and cooling maintenance and repair needs. Whether you need assistance in maintaining the furnace you have or protecting your investment in a brand new system, the right service provider makes all the difference. Gives us a call: (757) 418-8305!