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How long does an HVAC system last?

What is the lifespan of an HVAC system?

The answer to this question isn’t as cut and dried as you might think. Every single system type has a different projected lifespan. This number also changes drastically depending on whether or not you have an air conditioning repair service in Phoenix to maintain your HVAC system. If they aren’t maintained, systems cost you more over their significantly shorter life spans in lost efficiency as well. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of different systems because it’s time to repair, replace, or buy new, find out what offers the most for your dollar.

Heating systems by expected lifespan.

Without maintenanceAverage System LifeWith regular maintenance
Central Furnace12 years20 years25+ years
Heat Pumps10 years16 years20 years
Ductless Mini-Splits15 years20 years30 years
Radiant Floor Heaters10 years15 years20 years

What’s your best cost to longevity option?

The clear winner is the ductless mini splits. These have a higher initial cost but provide two-fold work. They function as air conditioners and home heaters. These systems are on average 30% more energy efficient than ducted systems before considering additional factors. Unlike ducted systems, a mini split can cool or heat individual zones at a time. Want a cool office while you work but your spouse wants a warm living room? No problem. No ducts mean no duct cleaning either. On top of that, you’ll see a reduction in noise levels over ducted systems too.


AC systems by expected lifespan

Without maintenanceAverage System LifeWith regular maintenance
Central Air Conditioner10 years15 years20 years
Wall Mount AC Unit4 years6 years10 years
Swamp Coolers10 years15 years25 years
Ductless Mini-Splits15 years20 years30 years

What’s your best cost to longevity option?

This is entirely dependent on the size of the home you are trying to cool. Larger homes benefit greatly from having a central AC or ductless mini-split system. Of these two, a central AC system will provide a better return when you want to keep the whole home the same temperature. These often make more sense for smaller homes or those with fewer occupants. A ductless system can win out in larger homes where heating and cooling individual rooms makes more sense. You don’t want to pay to control the temperature of an area of the home you don’t use often.

Homeowners living in very small houses 1000 square feet or less, including mobile units, should seriously consider a wall mount AC unit. These are extremely cheap. Though they won’t lower your home temperature by as much as a full house unit, many homeowners keep one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Higher rated units at 14,000 BTU + are more than efficient enough to handle this size of a space.


Duct systems by expected lifespan

Material TypeAverage Material Life
Galvanized Steel60 years
Polyurethane20 years
Fiberglass50 years
Flex30 years

How long does an HVAC system last?

What’s your best cost to longevity option?

Flex is a cheap option that is easy to work with. The biggest downside is that if it isn’t installed absolutely correctly, it will break down prematurely. Your best option for a long lasting ductwork solution is galvanized steel. Nothing beats it for longevity and even though there is a higher initial cost, it is capable of handling dust, cleanings, moisture and other wear factors better than any material on the market.

Wondering how HVAC professionals stay on top of their game? Read this guide to HVAC tech training.

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