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Question DetailsAsked on 1/1/2013

How long should a furnace/air conditioning system last? What kind of cost is there to replacing the units since we already have duct work?

We have had repair issues with our furnace/air conditioning system over the past two years. The system was installed when we built our new home just 16 years ago. Is this about how long these units last or should we have done more preventive maintenance?

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3 Answers


Yes, you should ALWAYS do preventive maintenance! Change the filters at least once every 3-4 months; pay for a general service call twice a year. A professional will clean everything, check freon levels and replenish if necessary. If two service calls are not in your budget, try this as an interim maintenance routine: turn off the circuit to your outside unit(s); take the top off the outside units; clean out leaves and other debris; then wash it out with a garden hose. Replace cover. Do not allow bushes or other vegetation to grow around your units. They block the flow of air and can ruin everything in short order.

Both of my HVAC units are, theoretically, 16 years old. However, I have had to replace both heat exchangers (inside), twice each -- when other people living here did not change the filters. (Grrrr.) I have had to replace the compressor motor in one of the outside a/c units @ $700 -- because summer 2010's heat finally proved to be too much for the compressor, and I had not had it serviced, nor had I cleaned it myself. Overall, I have ended up with two well-functioning, efficient HVAC systems, both up to recent energy-saving recommendations.

Without doing any new duct work, replacing two 1.5 ton HVACS would probably cost at least $7,000. Depends on where you live, what seasonal cooling and heating needs you have, and the size/volume of the interior air to be cooled/heated. Check Angie's List for contractors in your area, and ask for several estimates.

Answered 7 years ago by Oleron


Between15 to 20 years is average life in our area. Maintenance should be an annual event. Replacing now will give you the opportunity to get the latest advances in efficiency, and comfort, that have been developed since yours was new.

Take your time and look at all the possiblities. Variable speed fan motor, high efficiency on the gas side, as well as on the cooling side. Check Carrier's Greenspeed Ssytem for sure.

Of course search for the best contractors in your area on Angie's List!


Answered 7 years ago by BayAreaAC


Your system is probably nearing the end of it's useful life if it hasn't been properly maintained. However, a good a/c tech may be able to get you by with it for a little while longer. Check with your local electric provider to see what incentives there are for buying a new system. They often offer rebates that help pay for your newer, more effecient system. We got a ton of rebates as well as enjoy the benefits of $100/month cheaper electric bill during the heavy useage months. It has almost paid for itself over the last couple of years. The system in my own home is a 4 ton with a heat pump, variable speed air handler, 14 seer exterior with 2 stage compressor. We qualified for a ton of rebates. The $6800 system was $2800 after the rebates. There aren't as many now but you'll still get a lot back.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Answered 7 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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