Folks are always asking questions about their heat and air equipment, especially when it comes to how long they can expect it to last. We'll try to give you some answers to your questions in this blog.
The average lifespan of a heat pump is about 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). If it's well-maintained, like anything else, it's more likely to last longer. A neglected unit may well start showing it's age in as little as 10 years, though.
It should go without saying that an older unit is not going to be as energy efficient as a newer one. If you begin to notice that your energy bills are increasing over the previous year (all other factors being the same), it may be time to call your HVAC tech out to have a look at it. It may just need a thorough cleaning and servicing, or it could be an indication of bigger problems. There are times when it's cheaper to replace than repair, just because of the savings you realize over the course of the unit's lifespan. The newer, high-efficiency models on the market now have so much going for them over a unit that's over 10 years old, it's just good stewardship to go with the newer product. You get so much more "bang for your buck." The days of topping off the Freon in a leaking system are over. More and more government regulations are making it cost-prohibitive to keep babying along these old dinosaurs.
Some things to keep a watch for are ice accumulation on your unit, a dirty system, and other mechanical issues--such as duct leakage, compressors or valves, and refrigerant. Ice storms are one thing, but a build-up of frost is something else entirely. You may be having issues with the defrost cycle. Dirty air filters and dirt clogging the outside unit are other considerations. If it can't "breathe," it can't operate at peak efficiency. When it comes to weightier matters, such as compressors or refrigerant, then you'd best leave that to the professionals.
At Air Care Systems by Price, Inc. we're always standing by to help in times of crisis--or for your day-to-day maintenance needs. Give us a call at (479) 777-2331. We'll do our best to answer your questions and diagnose any issues you may be having.