HVAC systems usually run 24/7/365, so they need to be serviced regularly to ensure they have a long lifespan. On average, air conditioners have a life expectancy of 12-15 years, while furnaces can last up to 2 decades. If you stay in one home for around 20 years, you will need to replace the system.
As a homeowner, one of the most challenging home maintenance tasks you can ever come across is HVAC replacement, so you should delay this task as much as possible. Ideally, you should start planning for HVAC replacement well in advance, so you need to start saving early for the project before the HVAC system breaks down completely. The following are tips to help you extend the life of your furnace and AC system to defer or delay HVAC replacement for several years.
Extend the Life of Your HVAC System While Planning for Replacement
How to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system will only be good for you if you are good to it. There are some cases where HVAC systems are known to last several years beyond their rated lifespan. However, there are extra costs associated with a long equipment life.
Even if your air conditioning equipment is well-maintained, its energy-efficiency will reduce considerably over time. As a result, your utility bills will increase significantly. Consequently, some of the parts of the furnace and air conditioner may reach the end of their useful life. As a result, you will spend more on emergency repairs.
It is important to note that technology is always evolving, so as you continue to use your old HVAC equipment, you should know that new HVAC technologies are being availed in the market. When you are eventually ready for HVAC replacement, the latest heating and cooling systems would undoubtedly be much more efficient.
The following are the top 7 tips for extending the life of your HVAC system:
1. Get 2 Tune-Ups Per Year
HVAC systems do not usually require a lot of maintenance, but this does not mean maintenance is unnecessary. Ideally, your HVAC equipment should be inspected and cleaned by a professional at least twice a year. Similarly, the system should be given a tune-up twice a year. This should be done in early fall and late summer. The tune-up will boost energy efficiency and performance.
During tune-ups, lubrication of rotating and moving parts is usually done. Cleaning of the condenser must also be done. Any vegetation around the condenser unit should also be cleared. Any buildup in the condensate pan and drain tube must be cleaned. Old filters must be replaced and the refrigerant level checked. The heat exchanger must also be checked to ensure there are no cracks.
2. Regularly Change Your Filters
Checking and changing of filters should not just be left to HVAC technicians; homeowners should also take an active role. Homeowners can decide to install disposable fiberglass filters that must be replaced on a monthly basis or pleated filters that must be replaced every three months. These filters should be checked regularly and replaced, even if it is ahead of schedule.
If your filters get dirty, the HVAC system will have to work extra hard to circulate clean air throughout the house. This can be taxing on the fans, but the entire system can be adversely affected.
3. Use the “Auto” Fan Setting
HVAC systems usually have two fan settings – “auto,” which makes the fan turn only when room temperatures have gone above or below the set temperature, and “on,” which makes the fan run continuously regardless of room temperatures.
Using the “on” setting has numerous benefits. For one, it helps the system to remove more dust from circulation, and this is good news for people who have allergies and other respiratory conditions. The main drawback of the “on” setting is that it makes the system work extra hard.
4. Inspect Your Condenser Regularly
The condenser is often located outside the building, either on the ground, roof or the wall. The condenser can be damaged by hail and airborne debris blown by severe storms. That is why you need to have your condenser checked by a professional every once in a while, especially after major storms.
5. Upgrade Your Insulation
Your HVAC system will last much longer if it runs less while keeping your home comfortable. By reinforcing the insulation in your home, you can ensure your HVAC system runs for fewer hours.
Be sure to add insulation in the attic. You need to check the EPA’s climate map for suitable insulation and make the necessary upgrades.
However, if you have enough insulation in your home, you should insulate your basement and add insulation in wall cavities.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a smart thermostat can help you save a lot of energy by switching the furnace or air conditioner on or off as needed. For instance, the thermostat can turn down the heating system or air conditioner when nobody is at home. Instead of always fiddling with your thermostat all the time, consider installing a programmable thermostat to do this automatically for you.
7. Ease the Workload on Your HVAC System
Do not just stop with the installation of a programmable or smart thermostat; you also need to install a ceiling fan. Fans consume less energy, and they can create a cooling effect that can make you feel cool during hot weather.
When to Replace Your System
Taking care of your furnace and air conditioner is only part of the battle. Complete system replacement is the other part of the battle.
It is difficult to predict the future, so it is not possible to tell whether or not your HVAC system will have a long lifespan if you service it regularly. What you can be sure of is that the efficiency and performance of your HVAC equipment will continue to reduce with time, especially as it approaches the end of its useful life. As your equipment nears the rated lifespan, start planning for a replacement.