How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What is the average life expectancy of a heat pump?
Saturday, June 1, 2019
How long does a heat pump last?
While not an exact predictor, average lifespan is still a valuable piece of information. Here’s the average lifespan for different types of air conditioners:
- Split System Heat Pump Condenser (outside unit) - 10 to 16 years
- Split System Heat Pump Air Handler (inside unit) - 14 to 18 years
- Ductless (Mini-Split) Heat Pump - 10 to 16 years
- Package Units Heat Pump- 10 to 16 years
- Heat Pump Window Unit - 5 to 8 years
Although the condenser (outside unit) of a split system tends to have a shorter life than the air handler, because a replacement condenser must now be matched for performance (by the manufacturer or certified by an engineer) with the indoor evaporator coil portion of the air handler, the evaporator coil unit may have to also be replaced when the condenser fails.
Regular maintenance is a good way to beat the odds and make your heat pump system last longer, and most HVAC contractors offer a service plan with annual or twice a year visits.
Many people refer to both an air conditioner ("straight cool” or “cooling”) and a heat pump as simply an “air conditioner,” but an air conditioner requires an electric resistance heat coil or combination with a gas or oil furnace for heating, whereas a heat pump can reverse the flow of refrigerant to heat the home. Most heat pumps have electric resistance heat anyway as a backup for very cold days.
Here’s our comparison chart with the average life expectancies of different types of air conditioners, along with other appliances that provide heating and ventialation for a home.
Also see our article How can I make my Florida air conditioner last longer? Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post ”How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?”
To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMade, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.
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