Posted in: Homeowner tips

How long does a water heater or HVAC system last?

How long does a water heater or HVAC system last?

Does it take forever for your shower to heat up in the morning? Are your utility bills skyrocketing? It can be difficult to know when your home’s systems are in need of repair vs. replacement.

Here are insights you can use to determine how long your water heater and HVAC systems will last — and how you can tell it’s time to replace your furnace, central air and water heater.

How long does a water heater last?

Even with regular maintenance and servicing, your water heater will need to be replaced over time. Typically, tankless water heaters last 20 years or longer, while tank water heaters (which are powered by electricity or gas) last around 10 years.

Keep in mind, these numbers provide an estimated lifespan for your water heater. However, with due diligence (and possibly a little luck) your water heater could last much longer than this average life expectancy.

Signs that a water heater needs to be replaced

As with any appliance, your water heater will require replacement after years of work. Keep an eye out for the most common ways to tell if your water heater is on its last legs even before your showers run cold.

Possible signs that your water heater needs to be replaced include:

  • The age of your appliance
  • Signs of rust or oxidation
  • Improper draining
  • A leaking tank
  • Water that never gets hot, even when it runs for an extended period of time

What to know if you’re replacing your water heater

Is your water heater nearing the age of replacement? Whether your water heater is completely out of order or you think it’s about to go kaput, there are some things you should know when replacing your water heater:

Consider whether a tank or tankless water heater is right for you.

  • Keep in mind that tankless water heaters may be more efficient than tank water heaters — they may take up less space, last longer and save energy.
  • If you’re building a new construction home or adding on to your existing property, a tankless water heater could also be less expensive.

Ensure your new water heater requires the same type of fuel as your previous model.

  • Generally, you’ll want to replace an electric water heater with a new electric model; the same applies for replacing a gas water heater with a new gas model.
  • Sticking with the same fuel and type will minimize your expenses and avoid the need to retrofit your plumbing and electrical systems.

Search for an appliance with a longer warranty period.

  • Water heater warranty coverage typically spans 3 to 12 years.
  • Choose an appliance with a longer warranty period for extended protection.
  • You might spend more upfront for a longer-warranty model; determine whether the warranty benefits are worth the cost for your home.

How long does a furnace last?

Changing your furnace filters and keeping the unit clean will help to increase the longevity of your central heating system. However, the average furnace needs to be replaced after about 15 to 20 years — depending on the model, maintenance and usage.

Remember, this data is an overview of a typical furnace lifespan and your unit may exceed these numbers or need to be replaced sooner. Every furnace is unique, but during the first 15 years of a furnace’s life, it’s usually more cost-effective to repair than replace the appliance. Over time, furnaces tend to wear down. So, around the 15 to 20-year mark, most furnaces are due for a complete replacement.

Signs that a furnace needs to be replaced

Aside from just noting the age of your furnace, pay attention to these key indicators that your furnace needs to be replaced:

  • Rising utility bills
  • Difficulty finding replacement parts
  • Uncomfortable temperature or uneven air distribution
  • Strange noises
  • Presence of carbon monoxide
  • Dry or dusty home

What to know if you’re replacing your furnace

Are you ready to replace your furnace today, or are you just planning for the future? Take these recommendations into consideration before your heating system dies out — and as you shop around for a furnace replacement.

Choose the right size furnace for optimal efficiency.

  • The right size furnace will produce and distribute heat more evenly throughout your home.
  • A furnace that’s too small won’t be able to heat your home during the colder months, whereas a furnace that’s too large for your space will likely cost more and waste energy.
  • Choose a furnace with size specifications that meet your space. A reputable contractor can help calculate this number.
  • Check the annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating to determine how efficient a gas furnace is — a larger number (measured in a percentage) reflects a more efficient furnace.

Consider green appliances and watch your utility bills go down.

  • Modern furnaces generally pollute less than older models.
  • A new furnace can help offset previously high energy bills, as they are now manufactured to be more energy-efficient.

How long does an air conditioning system last?

Typically, the most reliable air conditioning systems last an average of 15 years, assuming the air conditioner is used for about five months out of the year. With this in mind, it remains important for homeowners to properly maintain their air conditioning systems in order to optimize the lifespan of the device.

To keep your home comfortable and cool throughout the warmer months, it’s necessary to invest in a quality air conditioning system. And you’ll want to know the common signs that your air conditioner needs to be replaced before your current system goes out.

Signs that an air conditioning system needs to be replaced

If you have an aging air conditioning system, look out for key signs that your air conditioner needs to be replaced. In addition to reaching the 15-year-mark, your air conditioning system could be hinting at replacement with these signals:

    • Growing energy bills
      • Repair or spare parts cost nearly half the amount of a new air conditioner
      • Uncomfortable temperature or uneven air distribution
      • Strange noises like grinding or squealing
      • Unusual smells from dust or mold buildup
      • Poor indoor air quality

What to know if you’re replacing your air conditioning system

Modern air conditioners are built to last, which could result in a longer lifespan than their older counterparts. If you’re ready to switch over to a newer air conditioner, be sure to consider these central air conditioning insights.

Find an air conditioner that meets your home’s requirements.

      • As with a new furnace, you’ll want to select an air conditioning system that is the right size for your house. (Keep in mind that because of technology advancements, it may not be the same-sized system that you already have.)
      • You might purchase a smaller air conditioner if your home is more efficient than it used to be, or you may need to invest in a larger air conditioning system if you’ve made home additions.

Negotiate an air conditioning maintenance plan.

      • All air conditioners require regular inspections and occasional services.
      • Settle on a repair discount or warranty agreement when getting a quote for your new air conditioning system.

Don’t just replace your air conditioner, upgrade it!

      • Search for a more efficient air conditioning system to cool your home and relieve your wallet.
      • A higher SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency rating) typically indicates lower energy costs; aim for an air conditioner with a SEER of 15 or more.
      • To further minimize your energy bills, program a smart thermostat to work in conjunction with your air conditioning unit. Adjust your temperature to a warmer setting during work or school hours, when your home is unoccupied.

Ready to protect your systems (and your sanity)?

Your home systems provide necessary comforts to allow you to enjoy your living space year-round. But when your furnace, central air or water heater go out, it can cause stress and financial strain.

To better protect against unexpected repairs or replacement costs, consider a home warranty from Edina Realty. Our experts can help you determine the best plan to keep your home protected — and your mind at ease.

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