Heat Pump Life Expectancy – How Long Does a Heat Pump Last?

Heat pumps last 12 to 16 years, generally, but can last more than 20 years when properly sized, correctly installed and consistently maintained. 

For many years, the average life expectancy of a heat pump was considered to be 10 to 15 years. But thanks to improved technology and manufacturing processes, that has increased. 

Heat Pump Lifespan By Brands

Assuming that a heat pump’s actual lifespan is 25-40% longer than the manufacturer’s warranty, the following chart will indicate what the approximate lifespan is by brand. Keep in mind that maximum warranties only apply to original owners who have registered their heat pump within the required period. In some cases, it must be installed by a factory certified installer as well.

Heat Pump Lifespan By Brands

BrandLifespan 
Trane 12 – 20 years
Carrier12 – 20 years
Goodman10 – 16 years
Payne12 – 16 years
Lennox10 – 20 years
Daikin12 – 16 years
Ducane12 – 16 years
York10 – 16 years

Lennox has a wide span for longevity because the brand makes everything from cheap, affordable heat pumps that don’t last very long (Merit Series) to midgrade Elite Series heat pumps to top-of-the-line Signature Series models. 

How do I know if my heat pump needs replacing?

Some symptoms that might indicate that it’s time to replace your heat pump after the warranty has expired are:

  • Not cooling or heating like it used to – running longer than usual
  • Noticeable increase in utility bill
  • Excess water running out of outside unit
  • Frequent repairs – more than two in a year’s time

Several heat pump manufacturers suggest using the $5,000 rule to decide whether you should  repair or replace an HVAC system. To figure this, multiply the age of your system by the estimated repair cost. If the number is under $5,000, you should probably repair it. If it is over $5,000, the recommendation is to replace it.

If, however, your system is still performing quite well overall, or if it is less than five years old when needing a repair, it probably won’t need to be replaced for several more years.

Can I replace just the heat pump?

Yes, but that’s not recommended. 

A heat pump is a system containing a few major components and many other parts. In general, if one of the major components fails beyond the warranty period, it is almost always recommended to replace the system. Two reasons for this are:

  1. All of the major components of a heat pump system must “match” as they were originally designed. A newer component often will not match with the older original ones.
  2. If one major part has failed, it will be only a matter of time before something else also fails – which may not be replaceable. In this case, a full system replacement would be required after spending a lot of money replacing that first part.

A reputable HVAC technician will not usually recommend that you continue replacing major components (compressor, condenser, or evaporator) once a heat pump has passed its warranty period. They will suggest a complete new system including the outside condensing unit and indoor air handler and coil.

Do heat pumps lose efficiency with age?

Yes. Because of normal wear, the compressor in particular will eventually become less efficient. Additionally, there are internal valves that may become less efficient with time. 

And, even with regular maintenance, the condenser fins will collect dirt that will affect your system’s efficiency. Regular maintenance will extend the life of a heat pump, but as the unit ages, some decrease in efficiency is inevitable.

Another factor concerning efficiency that is sometimes overlooked is that by the time a heat pump is more than 10 years old, technology has probably resulted in the newer models being more efficient than yours was when it was new. So, in this case, an older heat pump has lost efficiency as compared to the newer ones on the market.

How long does a heat pump last in Florida?

Heat pumps last 10-16 years in Florida depending on the quality and maintenance of the heat pump. 

According to World Climate.com, the average high temperature in Florida is 82.9F. Compared to a state in the middle of the country like Kansas, with an average high temperature of 70F, a heat pump will be working harder and longer to keep a home cool in Florida. 

What this means is that a heat pump will probably wear out more quickly in Florida than in a cooler state. No exact number of years can be stated for its lifespan, but it will be closer to the minimum than the maximum on the chart above. 

How long does a 5 ton heat pump last?

A 5 ton heat pump will last 10 to 20 years. 

The longevity of any heat pump is not based on its size, but on its quality, proper installation, good maintenance, and proper sizing to the home. This last point is important.

Too small: The heat pump will work too hard and wear out quickly.

Too big: A common mistake is to purchase a heat pump that is too large for the home, thinking that it will last longer because it will not have to work as hard. The truth is, a 5 ton heat pump installed in a home that should have a 3 ton model will be “short-cycling” – switching on and off much more than it should. And that will cause early mechanical issues too. 

FAQ

Can a heat pump last 20 years? 

Yes. Many do. Heat pumps that last 20 years are high quality to begin with and get a maintenance tune-up at least every few years. 

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree from Lone Star College and EPA & R-410A Certifications.

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