How Long Will Your HVAC System Last?

For any homeowner, an ideal HVAC unit will be the one that offers years of comfort and the least repair hassle during its lifespan. And with regular preventive maintenance, the goal is easily achieved. Since a heating and cooling system is a considerable investment, it only makes sense to get the most use and life out of your unit.

But like any other appliance, sooner or later you are bound to see the signs that your HVAC unit needs to be replaced. Knowing how old your appliance is and how long it is likely to function makes it easier on homeowners to plan ahead for its eventful replacement. And when the time arrives, you can confidently take the ‘fix or replace’ decision.

Determining The Life Of A HVAC Unit

When selecting a heating or cooling system, one common question that every homeowner asks is “how long will it last?” In general, the average life of a HVAC unit (as defined by the US Department of Energy) is about 15 to 20 years if kept in good condition. But with diligent maintenance and seasonal tune-ups, some homeowners can see more than 25 years in their system’s lifetime. However, many choose to replace their units after every 10-15 years in order to have a new, more efficient one. In the long run, it is also economical to replace an HVAC unit after its average life expectancy to save on maintenance costs and energy bills.

Water Heater

The average life of a water heater is not beyond 10 to 15 years. If you responsibly flush your water heater and perform the necessary maintenance steps as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can keep your unit working efficiently for the said life or several years more! However, the fiberglass tank in most water heaters is doomed to fail eventually. Once damaged, tanks cannot be repaired and their replacement cost is quite close to the expense of getting a whole new unit, making replacement necessary.

Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioners of most brands may last between 15 to 20 years. However, some may perform for no more than 10 years. In coastal areas, excess salt content in the air can corrode the protective layer around metal coils, damaging them gradually. This can significantly shorten the life of air conditioning systems up to 7 to 12 years and can also result in increased utility bills due to their inefficient functioning. Also, an air conditioning unit must be replaced if the compressor fails, or if the condenser suffers severe corrosion or develops leaks.


Your gas furnaces can enjoy a healthy and long life of 20 to 30 years or more as long as you punctually follow their monthly maintenance regime and also schedule professional service every year. However, heating units that are poorly maintained or are of low quality may fail in less than 10 years. On the other hand, oil furnaces rarely cross the 10 to 15 years mark as they require frequent maintenance due to excessive soot buildup caused by inefficient combustion of fuel. Typically a furnace replacement is inevitable if the heat exchanger has leaked since it is one of the most expensive and essential components in a furnace.

Not sure if your HVAC unit or water heater is approaching its lifespan? Call on Arellano Heating & Air LLC for an inspection service today!

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