Under normal operating conditions, a heat pump is designed to last approximately 15 years, but it does vary based on how much it's used, if it was properly sized when installed and especially how well it's maintained. Mechanical equipment wears out in proportion to its use, how often it starts and stops and if it runs within its normal operating range. If you set the temperatures so that the pump runs a great deal, it'll probably wear out faster. If it is over-sized, it will start and stop more often and it will wear out faster. If it is not maintained as recommended, it will get dirty and not only consume more energy, but it will wear out faster.
HVAC equipment needs to be carefully sized for homes. A system that's too large will short cycle, which means it's constantly turning on and off. The power usage and the wear on the parts are highest when it first starts. A system that's too small will run longer to keep your home comfortable. Both of these sizing issues shorten the life of the equipment. A reputable HVAC contractor conducts a load calculation to find the optimal size for homes using Manual J software.
Maintenance affects the lifespan of the equipment. Changing the air filter routinely will add life to your heat pump and lower operating costs. A dirty filter slows airflow through the air handler, which slows the conditioning of your home, making it run longer and using more electricity.
In addition, if dust covers the indoor (evaporator) coil that circulates the refrigerant the heat pump relies on for heating and cooling, it will take longer to condition your home and may cause the coil to freeze over in the summer. If it continues to run with a frozen coil, it can burn out the compressor in the outdoor condenser, leading to a costly repair. Keeping the outdoor condenser clean and away from vegetation also prolongs its life.
Twice each year the pump should receive professional maintenance—once during the heating season and again during the cooling season. The HVAC technician inspects and cleans all the parts, makes adjustments, lubricates moving parts and checks the refrigerant. Dirt and corrosion on the electrical components affect all the parts and the system's efficiency.
To learn more about increasing the life span of a heat pump, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've been providing HVAC services to greater Cleveland homeowners for more than 77 years.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.