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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    62

    How long do modern HVAC units last?

    I'm sure this question will illicit all sorts of philosophical comments, but I'm just looking for some opinions rather than stir up trouble.

    Information I've gleaned has led me to believe that, on average, older HVAC units tended to last an amazing long time----they been real workhorses under all sorts of conditions. Even my exising H.P. and gas furnace is now 20 years old.


    So, the controversial question is: How long can a homeowner expect new modern units to last ?

    What do you guys, that work in the HVAC field, see as far as major failure, where the cost of labor and parts outweighs things ?

    Disclaimer: I don't want to open a can of worms here, so this is all assuming that a homeowner has regular quaility maintainance done, and the unit was installed by a company that did a quality installation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,460
    What part of the country do you live in? Geographical location plays a huge part in equipment life.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,504
    On 20 year old units, you've gotten the "good" from them so I'd not put any major part onto them for repair. The savings from the energy upgrade will go a long ways toward paying for new units. By major, I'm talking motors, compressors or heat exchangers, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    62
    You got me. Good point. Northwest, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    What part of the country do you live in? Geographical location plays a huge part in equipment life.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    62
    I'm thinking that annual maintenance costs will probably equal out any energy savings on new units. Perhaps I'm wrong ?

    So, from my POV, it's a wash and I'm not expecting to get anything in return. I sort of look at HVAC equipment expense just like purchasing a car. It's something you need and requires maintenance---and at some point that car will break down.



    Quote Originally Posted by wahoo View Post
    On 20 year old units, you've gotten the "good" from them so I'd not put any major part onto them for repair. The savings from the energy upgrade will go a long ways toward paying for new units. By major, I'm talking motors, compressors or heat exchangers, etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,660
    I change the filters on schedule and clean my condenser once a year. I have service ONLY if it breaks. In 36 years (in the same house), I've had to call for service twice. Not to shabby.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,460
    Off topic:

    George2, you have to call for service? You don't fix it yourself? How are involved in the HVAC field? You give good sound advice like someone who has been in the trade many many years. Just curious,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,660
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    Off topic:

    George2, you have to call for service? You don't fix it yourself? How are involved in the HVAC field? You give good sound advice like someone who has been in the trade many many years. Just curious,

    Thank you. I've been in the "business" for roughly (full time) 35 years, however, my dad started the business in 1946 and during the summers he had me driving the truck, doing gravity tear outs (before we knew about the asbestos dangers, as if it would have mattered), sweeping floors at the shop, stocking the bins, making stock (drives and s-locks, etc.) and anything else that needed to be done. It was a great experience. I loved to work. I could take out three or four gravity's a day. No problem. Didn't know or think to complain.

    I learned a lot about the business from people that really cared as to how things were to be done right. I never got into the service side, unfortunately. I went thru the apprenticeship program and then into sales and design. I can figure out some service problems if they are simple.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    87
    Down here in central Texas we expect to get 12-15 years on most systems, if its a Carrier replace it at 10 years, or at the next major repair. If the system has R-410a and copper/aluminum evap. coil, count on replacing evap. coil in 3-7 years. Seems the all aluminum coils are holding up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    6,838
    In my area the ac works pretty hard so at about 12 years I reccomend replace over expensive repair (evaporator, compressor etc.) if its properly ducted and in a full basement and stays dry and maintained then it should last 20 years. Most air handlers in my area are in damp crawls or blazing hot attics so they wear out a lot sooner from sweating and what not. Older stuff is by far better made to last where as modern stuff is made of mostly pot metal and plastic so they just don't last as long as they used to. On average 10-15 years and you're on borrowed time.

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