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How Long Do HVAC Systems Last in 2023?

thomas hvac employee working on an old hvac system

A good HVAC system can make all the difference when it comes to your home's comfort and energy efficiency. Research is showing that replacing an old HVAC with a new efficient one can help some homeowners save up to as much as 40% on their energy bills.

But how long do these HVAC systems last in 2023 and when should you replace them? In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question by looking at the average lifespans of HVAC units in 2023, as well as tips to maximize your system's longevity.

Let's get right into it.

What is the Average Lifespan of an HVAC System?

The average lifespan of an HVAC system in 2023 depends on the type and quality of the system chosen. Standard central air conditioning units last for around 15-20 years, while high-end models can last up to 15-25 years.

Here is the average life span of different HVAC systems:

  • High end efficient HVAC systems: 15-25 years
  • Typical air conditioners and heat pumps: 10 to 15 years
  • Typical furnaces and boilers: 15 to 20 years
  • Geothermal systems: 30 years

With that being said, these time frames can be drastically different depending on a number of things such as maintenance and proper care, usage, climate, and many other factors.

The most important factor when it comes to determining a system's longevity is proper maintenance, including regular filter changes and tune-ups by a qualified technician. Additionally, investing in energy efficiency upgrades, such as improved insulation or windows, can help extend the life of your system by reducing its workload.

When an aging HVAC system needs to be replaced, homeowners should opt for modern designs that offer greater efficiency and advanced features like smart thermostats or multi-stage systems. Modern systems use less electricity than their predecessors and are designed to meet current standards for indoor air quality (IAQ). These more efficient models also come with higher upfront costs but can save money over time due to decreased energy bills.

Understanding this is a crucial step in learning how to choose an air condition unit that is right for your home.

filters being replaced to increase the lifespan of an hvac system

How to Increase the Lifespan of an HVAC System

As a homeowner, you're always looking for ways to save money and for many, that means increasing the lifespan of your HVAC system. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can do exactly that. Let's take a look at a few of the most important things you can do to increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.

Inspect & Tune Up Your HVAC Unit

Regular inspections and tune-ups of an HVAC system at least once to twice a year is essential for maintaining its performance and lifespan. An experienced technician can spot any potential issues before they become major problems and can make minor adjustments to ensure optimal operation. Ideally, you should get an HVAC tune-up done once before the cooling season and again before the heating season to ensure peak performance and a longer lifespan of the system.


When it comes to maximizing the lifespan of an HVAC system, choosing a high-efficiency model and installing filters with higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings is another great option. High-efficiency models use up less energy than standard models, which can result in significant savings in your energy bills over time and help the unit work efficiently, ultimately contributing to its lifespan.

Clean Outdoor Units & Inspect Ductwork

Keeping outdoor units clean and free of debris is essential for extending the lifespan of your HVAC system. To prevent buildup, regularly clean away leaves, dirt, and other debris from around the unit. If you're not going to be using it for a while, consider investing in a cover to protect it from the elements.

Inspecting your ductwork is also critical. Dirty air vents can become a problem for your unit. And improper installed ductwork or ductwork that develops a leak can cause your HVAC unit to work harder and even cause it to malfunction. There are quite a few common problems with air ducts that can develop over time so it's important to know what they are and keep an eye out for them.

new hvac system installed in 2023

Common Causes of Shortened HVAC System Lifespans

There are a number of reasons why an HVAC system's lifespan may be shortened, but some of the most common include:

Neglecting Regular Maintenance

Failing to perform regular maintenance is one of the biggest contributors to a shortened HVAC system lifespan. Neglecting routine inspections and tune-ups can cause major problems that can lead to expensive repairs or even complete replacement.

Improper Installation

If your unit was not installed properly, it could lead to a shorter life expectancy than normal. Be sure to hire an experienced professional when installing any new units in order to avoid this issue.

Poor Quality Parts

Using low-quality parts or components can also reduce an HVAC system's longevity.

Sizing of Your Unit

Having the wrong size for your unit can also be a major issue. If the unit is too small, it will have to work harder to heat or cool your home, leading to more wear and tear. On the other hand, if it's too large, it won't run as efficiently. You can use a BTU calculator or you can get an HVAC professional to size your unit correctly in order to maximize its lifespan.

Location and Climate

Location and climate can be major factors in the lifespan of your HVAC system. A unit in a hotter, more humid climate is likely to experience more wear and tear than one located in a cooler, drier area. Pay attention to regional weather when selecting a new unit or having an existing one serviced.

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last in 2023 infographic by thomas service company

Your HVAC's Lifespan in 2023

Your HVAC system is a major investment that you want to last as long as possible. With regular inspections, tune-ups, and maintenance checks, you can extend your HVAC's lifespan significantly.

Additionally, investing in high-efficiency models or filters with higher MERV ratings will help reduce energy costs over time while keeping the unit running smoothly.

Finally, be sure to hire an experienced professional for installation and keep outdoor units clean of debris at all times. By following these tips carefully, you can ensure your HVAC system lives up to its full potential in 2023 and beyond!

If you need further help determining the right size of HVAC unit your home needs, choosing an HVAC system with a longer lifespan, or if you're ready to have a new unit installed here in Huntsville, Alabama, give us a call! At Thomas Service Company, we're your local HVAC professionals.