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How to Know If You Have an Old Furnace or Old Air Conditioner

As with other home devices, your heating and cooling system will go through wear and tear as it ages. While designed to last for years, a regular system check is a good idea to help catch issues that arise as your systems begin to reach their average furnace or air conditioner lifespan.

How Long Does HVAC Last?

While the average furnace life or air conditioner lifespan is about 15-20 years, it can be affected by many things. Your home heating and cooling system has many moving parts, and unlike most of your home appliances, it's exposed to a lot of stress: the outside elements, refrigerant pressures, temperature changes during and after operation, motor bearing wear, and weakening electronic circuits.

Though designed to work reliably for years, there comes a point in the system's life where components wear out and the cost of the repair exceeds the remaining value of the system. It may be time for a new HVAC system.

How to check your heating and cooling system

  • Listen to the condenser while the system is on and see if you can hear a faint "hum". A humming sound means that the control circuit is telling the condenser to run. If it's humming but isn't working, and you've already checked your circuit breakers, then an electrical component is to blame.

    When an electrical component (such as a contactor or capacitor) fails, you'll need a multimeter to investigate furtner. Parts within the equipment are best left to a trained technician to diagnose and repair unless you're familiar with working on electronics. If you have a multimeter and feel comfortable moving forward, remote Assist can guide you through the next steps on video chat.

  • Listen to your AC system by unplugging it for 15 seconds then plugging it back in. Then, hold down the reset button for three seconds, then release. Once it's restarted, listen to the sound.

    As it runs, a noise may develop. Is it high pitched? This sound indicates that your AC isn't getting enough airflow through the return vents and ductwork. The issue may be a loose fan bolt on the condensing unit.

  • Look at your power or utility bill from the past 12 months. During the months when the air conditioning or heating is used, do you notice a huge price increase? Taking into consideration the weather and temperature patterns, your heating and cooling system energy usage should remain consistent. Sudden and drastic changes in energy usage are a sign that your system may be close to failing.

What To Do If Your HVAC System Is Old and Worn Down

If your system is old and worn down, it is likely that your hvac is not working to its full potential. You should have a technician come assess the system. While it's possible that a repair might get it back on track, a new system could be more cost-efficient in the long run.

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

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