Your HVAC system is on duty every day of the year. At that pace, it won’t last indefinitely. While a furnace normally lasts 20 years, an air conditioner typically lasts 12 to 15. If you live in a house for long enough, system replacement is inevitable.
You’ll want to put off that inevitable necessity as long as you can because it’s also one of the more expensive home maintenance jobs you’re likely to encounter as a homeowner. Additionally, since replacing a damaged HVAC system isn’t something you can put off until a rainy day, it’s critical to have a replacement strategy in place before your system permanently malfunctions. By using these suggestions, you may prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system and put off replacing it for years to come.
Prolonging The HVAC System’s Lifespan
If you treat your HVAC system well, it will return the favor. Furnaces and air conditioners have been known to last well past their typical lifespans. However, even a long system life may incur expenses.
Even if you take good care of your equipment, it will lose some of its energy efficiency as it gets older. Your utility bills will gradually increase as a result of this. Additionally, as a system ages, individual components eventually wear out, so you may expect to pay more on urgent repairs.
Additionally, even if your system has provided you with excellent service for all those years, HVAC technology is constantly evolving. The most recent HVAC systems will invariably be more efficient than your old system was when it was brand-new by the time you’re ready for a replacement, and the difference might be substantial.
Here are our top seven recommendations for extending the lifespan of your HVAC system:
1. Plan two tune-ups each year.
Although HVAC systems don’t require a lot of maintenance, regular maintenance is still crucial. Every year, your furnace and air conditioner should both be checked, cleaned, and tuned up. It’s recommended to plan your furnace repair in late summer or early fall and your air conditioner service in the spring. That way, your system will be efficient the first day you need it and, if a severe issue is found, you can fix it before it’s time to switch systems.
Condenser cleaning, clearing debris from the condensate drain tube, checking refrigerant levels, replacing filters, checking for cracks in the heat exchanger, and other chores that make your system safer, more effective, and longer-lasting are often included in tune-ups.
2. Replace the filter frequently.
Although your HVAC specialist should check your filters during your twice-a-year inspections, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for this task. The typical fiberglass or pleated filter used by homes lasts for 30 days and should be checked frequently. Even if it’s earlier than expected, they should be replaced if they’re extremely soiled.
Your HVAC system needs to work harder to move air around your home when your air filter is clogged. This can put extra strain on the fan, but when it struggles to breathe, the entire system may suffer.
3. Utilize the fan’s “auto” setting.
The majority of HVAC systems have two fan settings: “auto,” which instructs the fan to run only when the system is actively heating or cooling, and “on,” which instructs the fan to run continuously. Dual-speed fans are a feature of some systems that provide a slower, more energy-efficient fan setting in between heating and cooling cycles.
Using the “on” setting has advantages. In houses with residents who have allergies or respiratory sensitivities, it can assist make breathing easier by trapping more dust. However, the main drawback is that it makes the system work significantly harder, which shortens its lifespan. Additionally, it causes filters to clog up more quickly, which could seriously tax your system if you don’t change them on a regular basis.
4. Examine your condenser.
The weather-resistant condenser for your air conditioner is located somewhere outside of your house. However, it may sustain damage from hail or wind-borne debris during strong storms. Check your condenser occasionally for signs of damage, particularly after any significant storms.
While you’re about it, make sure to remove any weeds or leaf accumulation on or around the condenser. Cut down any nearby vegetation if it is growing too close to the unit. Additionally, your condenser requires space to breathe.
5. Make the insulation better.
If you use your HVAC system less frequently, it will last longer. Your home’s treated air is best kept inside with the help of insulation.
The most important place to check for appropriate insulation is in your attic. Since the amount and kind of insulation you need depends on where you live, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s insulation climate map and suggestions for insulation renovations.
If your property doesn’t have enough insulation overall, it might also be advantageous to insulate your basement or add more insulation to wall cavities. Arranging for a qualified energy audit is the greatest way to locate and evaluate the weak points in your insulation.
6. Purchase a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats, the most recent in thermostat technology, are simple to set up and manage from any location using a smartphone or tablet. Some models can even learn your HVAC routines and schedules, allowing them to adapt their energy usage without any programming at all.
It’s simpler to use your system less frequently when you can more precisely control the thermostat settings. And it will endure longer as a result.
7. To lessen the strain on your system, take additional action.
Don’t stop at the smart thermostat; give your system a rest by using your ceiling fans to keep cool while raising the temperature a little in the summer. Invest in reflecting shades to keep away the sun’s noxious heat.
Then, in the winter, open those shades to let in the free heat and utilize space heaters, blankets, and sweaters to stay warm while lowering the thermostat.
When Should Your HVAC System Be Replaced?
Maintaining your HVAC system well is half the battle; the other half is replacing it when it needs to be replaced.
It can be challenging to ensure that you get the longest life out of your equipment while simultaneously minimizing the costs of efficiency losses and part replacement due to aging since none of us can forecast the future. The easiest approach to determine whether it’s time for replacement is to consult a reputable HVAC company that will do your preventative maintenance. Tell them the truth about the maintenance you’ve done as a homeowner, such as if you’ve neglected to change the filter or if you routinely run the fan on “on.” Your HVAC technician’s advice is the most beneficial if you believe in her.
Things To Ponder When Replacing Your HVAC System
Make a couple more important decisions long before deciding to buy a new system.
1. How big your system is.
HVAC professionals will need to execute a technique for your property known as a “load calculation” to establish how much of the system you need. If this has already been done and your home hasn’t undergone any significant changes since then, you shouldn’t have to do this again.
2. Do you have to get a new furnace and air conditioner?
Choosing to replace both of your systems at once is the second choice. You might be able to save a lot of money by replacing both at once if they are both due for replacement at around the same time. However, if doing so would require replacing a system with a long lifespan, it might not be the most economical course of action.
3. Make a plan.
Once you have a general idea of when you want to replace your system, choose a 12- to 18-month timeframe for completion. You can perhaps avoid financing fees and pay for your new system up front by setting aside money in the interim. Additionally, you can secure the finest discounts by delaying your purchase for a long time.
Replacement of an HVAC system doesn’t have to be stressful just because it’s pricey. Create a strategy today so you may easily reset the clock for another 15 to 20 years and be prepared for this inevitable improvement.