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What Is The Expected Lifespan of HVAC Equipment?

How Long Can Your HVAC Unit Last?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is some of the most expensive item in your home, but they carry a pretty heavy workload. Think about it—these systems run around the clock many months of the year and yet are thought of very little. Many times homeowners do not even think about HVAC systems unless something is wrong or there is a calendar reminder for a maintenance appointment.

Understanding the ways these systems work goes a long way toward keeping them in running order, and for as long as they are designed to operate. Knowing the lifespan of HVAC equipment can also help you prepare in advance for any expected repair or replacement costs.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common HVAC equipment and their expected average lifespans. These figures were taken from a study by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

HVAC EquipmentMedian Lifespan
Air Conditioners10-15 Years
Air Quality Systems15 Years
Boilers13-20 Years
Dehumidifiers8 Years
Diffusers, Grilles and Registers25 Years
Ducting10 Years
Furnaces15-20 Years
Heat Pumps16 Years
Heat recovery ventilators20 Years
Humidifiers8 Years
Induction and fan-coil units10-15 Years
Radiant heater (electric)30-40 Years
Radiant heater (steam)15 Years
Thermostats35 Years
Ventilators7 Years
Water heaters10-20 Years

The Role of Proper Maintenance in HVAC Equipment Lifespans

These lifespan figures are averages and shouldn’t be viewed as set in stone. Depending on how often you use the equipment, your climate, and how often you maintain it, yours can last for more or less time.

Homeowners who take impeccable care of their HVAC systems can expect longer lifespans, and those who neglect basic maintenance and tune-ups can shave a few years off (and will also pay more over the lifespan in inefficiencies and damage). The best way to get the most out of all of your HVAC equipment is through routine (at least yearly) maintenance performed by certified HVAC technicians. There are also some things you can do on your own to extend that lifespan.

Change filters regularly. This is the easiest part of maintaining an HVAC system, yet so often neglected. Set a phone reminder to do it monthly during the peak operating season, and every other month the rest of the year. A clean filter that catches debris means an HVAC unit that does not have to work as hard and will last longer. If you are unsure how to change the filters on your units, ask a technician when he or she comes for a tune-up.

Give your heating and cooling systems a break. Bump up the thermostat on summer days when everyone is at work or school to give the air conditioner a break, and do the same in the winter months by turning down your furnace during low-use periods. Allowing your systems at least some time to recover and it will extend the lifespan.

Be energy efficient. Find simple ways every day to conserve energy in your home. Agree to a household temperature that is higher or lower by a few degrees than you have in the past. Close windows and doors when the furnace or air conditioning unit is running.

All of these small behaviors add up to big utility savings and will also mean a longer lifespan for HVAC units and parts.

By treating your HVAC systems like the necessary element of your home that they are, you can drive down the cost of having to replace them. Cost aside, having efficient HVAC equipment improves the quality of life in your home, keeping you and your family comfortable and safe during all seasons of the year.

Why Hire A Pro For Your HVAC Installation?

The Benefits of Using a Professional for HVAC Installation

Your home’s HVAC system is an important and complex facet of your home’s overall environmental comfort. If you’re getting ready to install a new HVAC system or repair an old one, you may be tempted to do the installation yourself or hire a friend or relative. Unfortunately, trying to save money upfront can oftentimes end up costing you far more in the end. When it comes to a long-lasting and efficient HVAC system, a quality installation is the key. Therefore hiring a professional is an important piece of system construction.

Why Hire a Professional?

Hiring a professional comes with many built-in benefits. A licensed professional will come with their own insurance and will know which licensing and permits are required prior to beginning the work. Licensing is an incredibly important safeguard against accidents. Without proper licensing, injury to the worker or unintended damage to your home can cost you a hefty sum of money, including medical bills, and home reconstruction and repair. Licensing can also help indemnify you against any fees and fines associated with improper permits and documentation that unlicensed professionals will sometimes omit in an effort to save money.

A professional will also have extensive experience in installing HVAC systems and will know what is best for your home.

What Type of Quality Can You Expect from a Professional?

Proper System Sizing

Equipment sizing is a very important component of HVAC installation. Without the proper sizing, your system may have to run in overdrive, costing you money, wearing out components, and shortening the life of the system. You may think that a bigger system is a better system, but oversized equipment has its faults as well. A system that is too big for your home will cycle on and off more frequently. Cycling causes wear and tear on the system and can cause the comfort of your home’s environment to fluctuate. A licensed professional will be trained in how to properly measure your home and calculate the perfect system size to install.

Proper Duct Sealing

Believe it or not, duct tape is not a sufficient material for which to seal ducts. A professional is well aware of such misnomers, along with the proper techniques and materials necessary to effectively seal your ducting system. Ducts are a very important piece of the system. They circulate air from the furnace and central air conditioner, and ensure that air is moved efficiently throughout the home. Without proper ductwork, your system can leak hot or cold air, causing the system to work harder and less effectively. This is a costly issue that can hike up your electricity bill and wear out your system. Plus, improperly sealed ducts allow unwelcome debris into them as well.

Proper Configuration for Best Air Flow

Your HVAC system is requires a delicate balance of air flow. Without the proper volume of air flow, inefficiencies arise, leading to an uncomfortable environment and rising utility bills. A professional knows how to properly configure your system to achieve an adequate amount of air flow and keep your system running at optimal performance.

Proper Refrigerant Levels

For people with central air conditioning or heat pumps, it’s very important to use the right amount of refrigerant. Otherwise your system will waste a lot of energy and money by running inefficiently. Only a trained technician with the proper tools and understanding will be able to “dial in” the correct levels of refrigerant, safely and efficiently. Many unlicensed and untrained contractors will simply guess and get close enough, whereas a professional HVAC technician will know how to squeeze every last bit of efficiency out of your system, making you more comfortable and saving you money on your energy bills.

With a proper installation by a licensed professional, your HVAC system will function properly, stand up to the test of time, and run efficiently. When it comes to HVAC installation, it’s worth the extra effort to hire a professional who is trained in how to get it done right the first time.

Do Away With Air Leaks In Your Home

Heating and air conditioning is all about changing the uncomfortable environment within your home to a temperature and humidity level that feels right to you. But why does your home become uncomfortable in the first place? Many times air leaks are the culprit. Most San Diego homes leak air, some more than others. Our latest infographic shows how you can do away with this problem and give your comfort system a fighting chance.

An infographic on how to identify air leaks In your home

Understanding Ductless Mini Splits: Why Go Ductless?

Why Go with Ductless Air Conditioning?

In the last article we took a look at the basic function and setup of ductless mini splits along with some of the features that make these systems energy efficient. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of owning a ductless system.

For the average homeowner, heating and cooling costs total about $1,000 a year, accounting for almost half the home’s total utility bill. A ductless system that is Energy Star-certified offers up to 30% or more in savings depending on the existing.

Reduced utility costs aren’t the only advantage to having a ductless system. They offer several benefits over their traditional counterparts.

Integrated Zoning

– Mini splits allow you to place indoor air-handling units in specific areas of your home, giving you greater flexibility and control over the temperature in your home. For example, if one room sees a lot of shade throughout the day, you can keep the temperature higher than in a room that experiences more sun. One outdoor unit can handle up to four indoor units.
Traditional cooling and heating systems generally consist of one thermostat that controls the whole home’s temperature. This doesn’t make zoning impossible, but zoning with traditional systems is much less efficient.

Design Flexibility

– Unlike traditional air systems, ductless systems offer greater interior design flexibility. Indoor units can be hung on the wall, mounted to a drop ceiling, or even hidden altogether. Indoor units can be mixed and matched depending on the design requirements of the home.

Easy installation

– As you don’t need to worry about ducts, mini splits are much easier to install. Hooking up indoor and outdoor units really only requires a three-inch hole in the wall for the conduit line. You can keep your outdoor unit up to 50 feet away from the indoor evaporator, so you can cool rooms at the front of the house but keep the compressor hidden behind the building.

Greater safety

– Window-mounted and through-the-wall air conditioners provide easy access for intruders. Ductless systems only require a small hole in the wall.

Improved air quality

– No dirty ducts means no dirty air.

Reduced energy loss

– Ducts can account for over 30% of energy loss thanks to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. This is especially true in unconditioned spaces or in ducts that have not been well maintained. With mini splits, you eliminate the losses associated with ducts.

For Your Consideration

1) Many customers expect the cost of installing ductless systems to be significantly less because of the lack of ductwork. Because the cost ductless mini split equipment may be higher than that of other systems, installation costs can be equal to or even greater than conventional system in some cases. However, the combination of rebates, tax credits, and other financial incentives along with reduced operating costs in the long run offsets the initial expense.

2) Hire an experienced professional to install your system. A professional can determine the proper location and size of each indoor unit. You may not need a huge system, which would only lead to higher upfront costs. Air handlers that are oversized or incorrectly placed can also lead to short cycling, which results in wasted energy from inefficient temperature and humidity control.

3) Much like other cooling and heating systems, your ductless system’s efficiency is determined by how well your home is sealed and insulated. It doesn’t matter how efficiently your system operates if your home’s foundation is filled with leaks, cracks, and drafts.

4) Ductless mini splits remain a sound investment that will save you money and give the environment a significant boost in the process. Consult a professional contractor if you think you’re ready to take the plunge with a new ductless mini split system.

Air Conditioning Buyer’s Guide: Part 1

Where to Start with Air Conditioning?

The chances are good that at one point or another, many of us will need to purchase an air conditioning unit. The chances are also good that most of us are not air conditioning experts. But that doesn’t mean we have to walk into a purchase completely blind to the fundamentals. When purchasing an air conditioner, you need a unit that can filter air, remove moisture, and lower temperature.

Here we’ll cover the basics of air conditioning, including the different types of air conditioners, how to determine which one is right for your home, and how to size your air conditioner properly.

Types of Air Conditioners

Central: A common type of air conditioning in many homes built in and after the ‘70s, central air conditioning usually consists of an outdoor condenser unit that is connected with refrigerant lines to an indoor coil. The furnace, which the indoor coil is attached to, contains the blower motor that moves the air across the coil to cool it and distribute it throughout the home via a network of ducts.

Ductless: Ductless air conditioners are gaining more popularity for their superior efficiency and effectiveness without needing ductwork. There are separate indoor and outdoor components, similar to central air, which allows you more flexibility on where you choose to place your unit within the home. But this does require running some wires or hoses through your home’s walls. Although a bit labor-intensive, it is worth the work (and not as intensive as installing new ducts). These systems are powerful and as close to central air as you can get without having central air.

Window: Window units are a common type of air conditioner. They are portable, easy to install (just be sure to follow all safety precautions), and cost-effective for the general user. Most of these units can be installed in a standard window. If you have an even smaller space, air conditioners come in miniature sizes not much more than a foot wide. One advantage of window units is that all of the parts are housed in a singular box. This makes them the most cost-effective and simple solution while still providing adequate cooling power. They are also great for renters who do not have the opportunity to further modify the home. Some negatives are that these units can be noisy and are limited in there efficiency.

Portable: Portable units are another simple solution. These devices are usually placed on the floor and have singular or dual hoses that pump air in and out of the building. Portable units are not always the most desirable, as they can be more expensive than a window unit but are overall less efficient. These systems are usually used to cool a specific location for a short time.

How to Determine What Air Conditioner Is Right For Your Home

The size of your home and the relative environment in which you live are both factors that must be considered when choosing an air conditioner. If you merely need to cool one room, then a window or portable unit may be adequate. If you are installing your air conditioner by yourself, then a window unit may be for you. With adequate assistance and the need to cool a larger home, a ductless option is more preferable. Take into account budget, installation requirements, and just how powerful your unit needs to be to adequately satisfy the needs of your particular space.

How to Size Your Prospective Air Conditioner

Not only does type matter, but size matters when choosing your air conditioner. One without enough cooling capacity will wear out quicker and increase your electricity costs. A unit that is too large will continually cycle on and off, wasting energy, lowering its efficiency and will result in an uncomfortable environment.

A standard unit of measure for air conditioners is British thermal units, or BTUs. This number tells you how efficient a unit is at cooling a room. Selecting the right size begins with measuring the square footage of your space. Once you have determined the square footage, you can consult a BTU graph to calculate the correct number of BTUs for that space (see below). Always err on the larger size, and add or subtract BTUs by 10% respectively for rooms in a sunny vs. shady location.

Good Housekeeping sizing calculator

Of course, this is to help give you just a general idea of the size of you’re a/c system. Every home is different and has different challenges. Consult a professional you trust and they will be able to come out and inspect your home and share with you exactly the size and type of system based on your home needs and your requirements as well. In the San Diego area, count on Bob Jenson to help you. They give free consultations to homeowners looking to install the right air conditioner for their home.

Five End-of-Summer Maintenance Tips

Refresh your Comfort System

Your air conditioning unit sees the most action during the summer months, so if you haven’t had a maintenance before summer, now is a great time to have it checked out. Rather than put off air conditioning maintenance until the weather starts to heat up again next year, take the time to get it prepped now. Much like you would have your car tuned up before and after a long road trip, your air conditioning unit will appreciate the bit of extra attention. Here’s how to get it done!

Clean and change filters.

During the months when your air conditioning unit is running the most, you might want to change out the filter each month. When your usage slows down, you can transition to a two- or three-month rotation. You can also upgrade to higher efficient filters that only need to be changed once a year to increase your filtration and reduce your maintenance. When you are pretty sure you’ve switched off your air conditioning for the last time of the season, remove the dirty filter and wipe down the edges where it fits in. Remove any visible debris that may be stuck in the crevices around the filter area and then replace it with a clean filter.

Clean indoor coils.

Filters are in place to keep dirt, dust and debris from traveling to the air conditioning unit, but filters don’t always catch everything. This is why it is important to have the indoor coils of your air conditioning system cleaned. Dirty coils will simply not cool as efficiently as clean ones. A professional should perform this maintenance task for you. They will carefully wash and degrease the coil and drain pan, making sure the drain lines are clear.

Clean condenser unit.

Similarly to the indoor coils, you want to be sure there is no debris that is preventing your air conditioning unit from functioning at its maximum potential. Start by turning off the main power to your air conditioning unit (it should look like a switch or pull lever). Pull any leaves and debris from around the sides. Follow this by spraying the fan blades and outdoor coil sides with a gentle stream of water and then allowing it to dry thoroughly. It won’t hurt the coils to use a mild degreaser if needed, rinsing thoroughly afterwards. This is also a great time to make sure no bushes or other vegetation are getting too close to the condenser unit.

Reprogram your thermostat.

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, fall is a great time to make this upgrade. Programmable thermostats make it easy to control the climate of your home, saving money and energy at the same time. If you already have a programmable thermostat, be sure to adjust the temperatures to reflect the weather cooling off outside.

Clear condensate line.

This step is a bit involved, and is probably best left to a professional. A licensed air conditioning technician can check the drain pan for rust or cracks and clean out the condensate line in order to prevent it from clogging and damaging your home. While the technician is there, he or she can also run an entire system diagnostic test to ensure that the machine is running optimally.

Keeping your air conditioning in top shape after a season of heavy use will ensure its longevity, not to mention save you time and money on inefficiencies or repairs down the line. If you’re unsure about any of these steps, be sure to contact an HVAC professional.

Scam Alert! – Air duct cleaning company using our name to get customers.

We were recently notified by one of our customers that an air duct cleaning company named, “INDOOR AIR QUALITY” called them for solicitation of cleaning their air ducts for only $59 and said that represented “Jenson”. Something didn’t sit right with them about this and thankfully they gave us a call to ask about it! Bait and switch air duct cleaning companies have been around for a while, offering “too good to be true” low pricing. Now it seems they have stooped even further to using known, reputable companies names to try to “get in” with customers, when in fact we would never give out any of our customers info to any third party, ever.

We decided to call the business ourselves and here’s what happened:

We called the number they gave our customer from our office, with our caller ID showing our business name and someone picked up and then hung up. A second call and we were instantly put on hold. Later a third call with our number blocked, and we got to a receptionist who answered, “Indoor Air Quality”, we asked for the salesman Tim who contacted our customer and used our name. She said he was on a break and was unavailable. After lunch we called and got put on hold again without talking to anyone. We called back and the receptionist answered. We asked for “Tim” and he finally got on the phone. We told him that one of our customers said he used our company name when calling on them. He got very rude and angry. We asked him if he was a licensed professional and he promptly hung up. And we have a winner, folks!

It is really sad that there are people like this who are actively trying to scam people and are using reputable companies names to do it.

Here are some complaints about this company:

Yelp Reviews

If you are solicited by this company and they say they represent Bob Jenson or use another reputable company’s name, always call the company they mention first to see if it’s legit!

Here are the facts:

  • We do not ever give out customer info or “refer” them to any third parties.
  • We have nothing to do with a company called “INDOOR AIR QUALITY”.
  • We do not offer any duct cleaning services, in-house or via a third party company

Avoid Being Scammed, Stay Informed!

Ask for their Contractors License number, if they hesitate to give it to you, run!

Check out their business on the local BBB website.

Duct cleaning is rarely needed in residential homes and if it is, stick with a reputable company that’s known in San Diego and has great reviews. Also real duct cleaning is an extensive process that cannot be done for only $59, so avoid unrealistic, low priced, “deals”. They are designed to get into the front door to be able to charge you a lot more for nothing in return.

Learn More:

San Diego Police Dept – Avoid Contractor Scams

Contractor State License Board – What to know before hiring a contractor

Dateline Investigation of Duct Cleaning Scams

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