How Long Do HVAC Systems Last? | Rinaldi's A/C & Heating

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last?

Decide when the time is right to replace your HVAC
Read Time: 5 minutes
Sep 19, 2022

Having a proper HVAC system is integral to your home running smoothly. Installing a new one is quite an investment, which makes it difficult to admit that you may need a new one. Typically, HVAC systems last between 10 and 25 years, but that number can vary depending on a variety of factors.

Factors that Affect Your HVAC System’s Lifespan

An outdoor air conditioning system sits next to a blue house.

Not every HVAC system is one and the same. They’re complex systems with lots of moving parts. Here are a few of the factors that might affect the longevity of an HVAC system.

Factor #1

Type of HVAC system

One of the biggest factors affecting the lifespan of your HVAC system is its type. HVAC systems consist of machinery that cools, heats, and ventilates the air in your home. Sometimes, these systems might all work together but be separate entities. In other homes, such as those with mini-split units, these systems might all be connected.

Different Components within the HVAC System

Different parts of HVAC systems have different lifespans, too. Components like furnaces might not have the same lifespan as that of a water heater or air conditioner. Less expensive elements like thermostats and vent hoses are expected to be routinely replaced, while more expensive elements like central air units are expected to last longer.

These components can fail at different times, too. Your air conditioner might not last as long as heating elements because of the moisture that it has to expel in order to function, which can eventually corrode internal elements and lead to a breakdown.

Factor #2


A technician in a white hard hat uses a meter to analyze part of an HVAC system.

The climate you live in can greatly affect your HVAC system. For example, if you live in a moderate climate where you rarely run the air conditioning, you may get more life out of a cooling system. On the other hand, if you live in a very cold environment, you may need to replace your heating system more immediately.

In short, the amount you use your HVAC system can impact its wear and tear. Similarly, how long you run your HVAC system can affect its lifespan. If you run the air conditioning all day every summer, you might burn through a system faster than those who just run it during the morning.

The humidity and temperature themselves can also affect the functionality of your system. Coastal areas with more humidity can expect more corrosion in their systems, for example.

Factor #3


Performing routine maintenance on your HVAC system is a surefire way to increase its lifespan. When the maintenance of an HVAC system goes ignored, you’re more likely to miss any faults that need to be fixed. An unaddressed leak can cause even more damage down the road, speeding up the death of the entire system.


Cleaning the system and making sure that filters, coils, and condensers are clear can also make the system last longer. In most cases, filters should be cleaned out every three months, and you can do it yourself without much trouble.

Annual Inspection

You can also get an annual checkup on your HVAC system from a professional, either the team who installed it or an independent contractor. A professional can tell you anything that you should be aware of and handle any maintenance requests you have.

Off-Season Inspection

It’s also best to service your system in the off-season. For example, service air conditioners in the spring before it gets too hot, and furnaces in the fall before it gets too cold.

Signs You Need to Replace Your HVAC System

While it’s helpful to know how to increase your HVAC system’s lifespan, it’s also vital to know when to say goodbye to it. Here are a few signs to look out for that might mean your system is on the brink.

Replacement Warning #1

Increased Energy Bills or Consumption

While increased energy bills can be a sign of inflation, they could also be a sign that your HVAC system is running overtime to maintain the same temperature or quality of air. This could mean that it’s simply lagging in efficiency and quality, or there’s a leak or other problem within the system. A technician can tell you if there’s a fixable problem or if the system needs to be replaced.

Replacement Warning #2

Frequent Repairs

A digital thermostat on a white wall reads 63 degrees.

If you’re needing to constantly repair and replace parts of your HVAC system, it might be worth it in the long run to get an entirely new one. Repairs can continually add up. Your technician should be able to tell you when it’s time to make the leap to a new system.

Replacement Warning #3

Inconsistent Temperatures

You may notice that your home rarely stays at the same temperature, even when the thermostat is consistently set. This could mean your HVAC system is struggling to maintain a consistent temperature and could be dealing with issues underneath the surface. If it’s a constant occurrence and not the doings of a sudden heat wave or cold front, call a technician.

Replacement Warning #4

Loud and Unusual Noises

An older white radiator sits in a white-tiled room.

You should know what your HVAC system sounds like on a day-to-day basis, so when it suddenly starts making other sounds, it’s time to investigate. The sounds could be indicative of something that needs to be fixed or an HVAC system that is simply on its last leg.

Replacement Warning #5

Visual Cues: Rust, Soot, Cracks

If your HVAC system is visually worse for wear, take note and call a technician. Signs to watch out for are rust and soot around the equipment and cracks in components. Leaks and standing water are also surefire signs that something is amiss.

Replacement Warning #6

Decreased Air Quality

HVAC systems don’t just cool and heat your home, they also ventilate it. If you’re noticing more dust and other allergens than usual, your HVAC system might be to blame. Try replacing filters before you call it quits on the system as a whole, and be sure to get an inspection.

Increase Your HVAC system’s Longevity

It’s always best to work with a trusted professional when it comes to something as important as your HVAC system. To avoid an early replacement, contact an expert at Rinaldi’s.

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