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How Long Do Heat Pumps Last?

Heat pump

Heat pump heating and cooling systems are commonly used in homes throughout Columbus, GA and Opelika, AL, as they are an energy-efficient option for year-round comfort in our climate. Whether you’re familiar with this type of HVAC equipment or thinking about making the switch from a conventional gas furnace and electric air conditioner system, equipment longevity is a common concern. Energy Savers answers, “how long do heat pumps last?” and shares the factors that impact a heat pump’s lifespan.

What Is a Heat Pump’s Life Expectancy?

While no HVAC equipment has a set expiration date and it is impossible to know just how long a system will run, information is available regarding the average service life of different types of heating and cooling units. How long do heat pumps last, on average? The lifespan of a heat pump depends on the type of heat pump we’re talking about.

  • An air-source heat pump has an average service life of 10 to 15 years.
  • A geothermal heat pump system has a service life averaging from 20 to 25 years.

Why do geothermal heat pumps tend to last longer than air-source heat pumps? First off, geothermal units have fewer moving parts than conventional air-source models, which means they encounter less wear and tear through operation and don’t require as much maintenance. Also, geothermal units are typically installed indoors, where they are shielded from the elements. While air-source models are designed for outdoor installation and are built to withstand years of elemental exposure, their constant exposure to sunlight, varying weather conditions, and a range of temperatures does cause the equipment to degrade at a faster rate than geothermal units that are protected indoors.

Factors Impacting Heat Pump Lifespan

Proper maintenance typically has the biggest impact on how long a unit will run or how quickly it will fail. As with other types of HVAC systems, regular maintenance is important to the unit’s ongoing performance and energy efficiency. Because these systems operate year-round for both heating and cooling, they require two annual professional tune ups to counteract wear and tear, identify and fix performance flaws, and improve the overall efficiency of the unit. In between these service visits, homeowners need to maintain their systems by performing regular filter changes and keeping the outdoor unit free of debris and other blockages that can hinder airflow through the HVAC system.

Usage also impacts how long heat pumps last. Here in the South, heat pump systems typically run heavily for cooling in the summer. As our winters are mild, they do not see as much action as a heat pump in a northern home does during this season. While outdoor temperatures make using your heat pump a necessity, you can reduce usage by adjusting the temperature at which you keep your interiors. Raising your thermostat higher in the summer and lowering it over the winter can slow heat gain and loss so you don’t have to run your heat pump as often to keep your home comfortable.

Timeliness of system repairs can also affect how long heat pumps last. Anytime you notice a change in your heat pump’s performance or operation, you should contact a professional to evaluate the system and make repairs if necessary. Attending to repairs at the first sign of trouble allows problems to be solved while they are still minor in many situations. The system doesn’t operate for prolonged time periods with malfunctions present and generally will suffer less damage. Failing to address repair issues promptly and putting off a call for service can not only worsen the problem and lead to a more expensive and extensive repair. Continued operation during this time can inflict more damage on the unit and ultimately cause it to fail sooner than you expect.

Maximize the Service Life of Your Heat Pump with Energy Savers

While it’s impossible to know exactly how long heat pumps might last, with good care you can maximize the years of service your unit provides. Energy Savers offers heat pump installation and maintenance services as well as repairs to keep your heat pump heating and cooling system operating in peak condition throughout its years. Contact the heating and air conditioning experts at Energy Savers to schedule service.