Follow these tips to keep your heating and cooling unit up and running with proper care, regular inspections and appropriate AC repair.
The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit can be one of the most costly systems in a home – this includes both operating expenses and the money spent replacing the appliance – but with consistent upkeep and maintenance, you can save money and extend the life of your unit. Proper HVAC maintenance can help reduce energy costs and play a part in how soon you may need a replacement. If your system is beyond regular AC repair and it’s time to completely replace your unit, consider purchasing an energy efficient model since almost half the energy used in your home goes toward heating and cooling.
How Often Should Your Air Conditioner be Inspected?
A big part of HVAC maintenance is the inspection process for the air conditioner and heating component. While some homeowners have their heating and cooling system checked twice a year – once in the fall before the weather gets cold and once in the spring before the summer months – an annual inspection will suffice. Most HVAC companies perform a thorough examination, cleaning and services which can include:
- Inspecting the outdoor unit (also called the condenser) and removing any dirt/debris that has built up in or around it
- Examining and assessing the fan/blades, motor, blower, heating elements and other components
- Checking the electrical connection, condensation drain (for leaks) and refrigerant/lubricant levels
- Cleaning coils to help the air conditioning unit operate more efficiently
- Replacing the air filter to maintain air quality/air flow.
Average Lifespan of a Heating and Cooling Unit
There are a number of factors that determine how long an air conditioning unit will usually last. These include the brand/manufacturer, if it is an energy efficient (or ENERGY STAR) model, how often you have HVAC maintenance done and if you have AC repairs performed when necessary. Typically, HVAC systems can last anywhere between 15 to 25 years. Keep in mind that while you may only have to replace your entire air conditioning unit every decade or so, some features and accessories may have a shorter life expectancy. You may need some form of heating or AC repair for individual components such as:
- Thermostats- Although some can last for upwards of 30 years, you may find that upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient model (or a “smart” thermostat) can help cut down tremendously on how frequently you run your air conditioner.
- Ventilation/Ductwork- A home’s ductwork – or ducting – should generally last as long as the home does since it is a major system that is built into the home when it is brand new. However, ducting may need some improvements and upgrades along the way especially if it becomes worn, which usually leads to ineffective heating and cooling.
- Condenser- This is the outdoor equipment that makes up the central air conditioning unit. With regular HVAC maintenance, the condenser can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.
Replacing Your Air Conditioning Unit
While the life expectancy for every HVAC system varies a little, there are some telltale signs that indicate it's time to consider replacing your home’s heating and cooling equipment. In addition to the age of certain components – like if your air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old – there are factors that affect the performance and longevity of your overall system. If you find that you need frequent AC repairs and are spending a lot of money beyond regular annual HVAC maintenance, it’s probably time to start researching options for a new air conditioner.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.