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HVAC 101: HVAC Age and Preservation

Whether you’ve lived in the same house for 30 years or you’ve just moved into your first fixer-upper, there are a lot of ways that homeowners can find themselves with an old HVAC or A/C unit. In some cases, a few simple precautions and some TLC can keep a healthy system running for its’ full life expectancy no matter the HVAC age, but it’s important to know the warning signs of a unit you’re better off replacing.

1. What qualifies as an “old” system?

The average life expectancy of an A/C or outdoor HVAC unit is about 15 years with the best of care. This means a unit that has been properly cleaned, serviced, and maintained twice annually for its entire working life. It’s important to note, however, that there have also been an enormous amount of advances made in the past ten years in the field of HVAC efficiency, so even a unit that is only 9 or 10 years old may now be obsolete.

2. How to make a middle-aged unit last

It is surprisingly simple to make the most out of a middle to upper-middle aged unit. The first thing to do is to schedule an initial servicing and keep up with your bi-annual maintenance. These sessions are what keep a tiny, imperceptible problem from turning into costly repairs down the road by catching them early. There are also lots of quick tips you can do yourself to keep your ducts as clean and insulated as possible, which can help slightly improve the efficiency of an outmoded unit you’re not quite ready to replace.

3. When to let go

Unfortunately the time will come for all units where replacement is going to be the best option. A good rule of thumb to consider replacement is when your unit has operated for at least 2/3rds of its expected life and also requires at least 25% of the full replacement cost in repairs. There is also the circumstance of a unit that no longer meets federal efficiency standards, such as any unit below a SEER 13 or one that still uses R-22 Freon. In these cases, sometimes the savings you’ll receive in reduced energy costs can offset or even outweigh the cost of replacement!


If it has come time for you to say goodbye to your old, broken down unit and get an upgrade, Middleton Heat and Air is here for you. We strive to be the best in HVAC replacement in options, installation expertise, and in price! We understand that a new unit is a big investment, which is why we always offer free estimates on system replacements and provide special offers on our website for replacement customers. If you’d like to get an opinion on your unit, click here or give us a call at 1-800-404-0371. We’re here, for you!


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