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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  To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?  

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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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