How Long Does a Heat Pump Last?

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorDecember 20, 2023

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Heat pump unit

Heat pumps are unique in that they can offer both heating and cooling for year-round comfort. They operate like an air conditioner during the summer to deliver cooling and reverse the process in the winter to provide heating.

But does pulling double duty and working year-round affect a heat pump’s overall lifespan? Keep reading as HVAC.com, your trusted advisor for all things HVAC, discusses the main factors that impact how long a heat pump lasts.

Whether you’re looking to replace your existing heat pump or considering buying a heat pump for the first time, allow QuoteScore from HVAC.com to thoroughly analyze your HVAC quote to determine whether you’re receiving a fair deal.

What’s the Average Life Expectancy of a Heat Pump?

Even though heat pumps often operate in cold and warm weather, their lifespan is typically on par with other HVAC systems including furnaces and air conditioners. Air-source pumps typically last about 10-20 years, with 15 years being the average lifespan. Meanwhile, with proper maintenance, geothermal heat pumps often last 20-25 years.

Keep reading to learn about the key factors that affect how long an air-source heat pump lasts.

Factors that Influence a Heat Pump’s Lifespan

Make and Model

As with other types of HVAC systems – including furnaces, air conditioners, and boilers – there is an abundance of options to choose from. More reputable heat pump brands often cost more than bargain systems, but they generally produce more reliable results and have a longer lifespan.

Installation Quality

If you’re investing thousands of dollars in a new heat pump system, don’t skimp on the installation. Hiring a sub-par HVAC contractor to install the system can lead to premature wear and tear, frequent repairs, and a shorter lifespan. Do your homework and find a reputable HVAC contractor with stellar online reviews and several years of experience installing heat pumps.

Climate Conditions

If you live in a mild climate year-round and rarely use your heat pump, it will experience less wear and tear and may operate efficiently for 15-20 years. However, if you live in a climate that experiences extreme weather, such as cold winters and hot summers, it will operate much more frequently, potentially reducing its overall lifespan.

Usage Patterns

How often you use your heat pump also plays a significant role in its overall lifespan. If you prefer to keep your home cold in the summer and warm during the winter, it can affect how long your heat pump lasts. Systems that are used constantly or under heavy loads may wear out more quickly.

Maintenance

Just like your vehicle needs regular oil changes to keep it operating properly, your heat pump also requires regular servicing for it to operate efficiently and effectively. If you use your heat pump throughout the year, HVAC maintenance should be performed twice a year – once before the cooling season and again before the heating season. During a heat maintenance tune-up, your HVAC contractor will inspect, calibrate, and lubricate all necessary components, as well as identify issues that need repair before they escalate into bigger, more expensive problems down the road.

Size and Capacity

The heating and cooling capacity of a heat pump is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a heat pump system. An undersized or oversized system may experience increased wear and tear due to frequent cycling, reduced efficiency, and a shorter lifespan.

The Bottom Line on Heat Pump Life Expectancy

To keep your heat pump humming along for 15 or more years, it’s crucial to pick a reliable make and model and hire a qualified HVAC contractor to correctly install it for you. Once it’s installed, perform routine maintenance on the system to ensure everything is in good working order.

If you’re looking to buy a new heat pump, QuoteScore from HVAC.com can thoroughly analyze your HVAC quote to determine what’s good, what’s not, and recommend clear next steps.


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