How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
How long should my HVAC system last?
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Heating and air conditioning systems last between 14 and 21 years on average. Smaller appliances, like window air conditioners and exhaust fans, have a shorter lifespan. Factors that shorten life expectancy include poor initial quality, inadequate maintenance, an undersized system, and heavy usage. Here’s our chart with average lifespans, and a listing below it of life expectancy ranges.Attic Fan - 5 to 15 years, average 10
Bathroom Exhaust Fan - 9 to 12 years, average 10
Ceiling Fan - 6 to 10 years, average 8
Ductless (mini-split) - 10 to 16 years, average 14
Electric Furnace - 18 to 24 years, average 21
Gas Furnace - 15 to 22 years, average 19
Kitchen Exhaust or Range Hood Fan - 12 to 18 years, average 15
Package Unit - 10 to 16 years, average 14
Split Sytem Condenser (outside unit) - 10 to 16 years, average 14
Split System Air Handler (inside unit) - 14 to 18 years, average 17
Whole House Attic Fan - 10 to 20 years, average 16
Window Air Conditioner - 5 to 8 years, average 7
(Go to How do I determine the age of my air conditioner? to find out how old it is)
Click on any of the underlined appliances above to go to a page with more details.
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 How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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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, FannieMae, 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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