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Commercial HVAC Unit Life Expectancy: What to Expect From Your System

August 28, 2023

In order for business owners and building operators to accurately budget for future capital expenditures, it helps to know when they might need to replace various appliances. An expensive cost for businesses to account for is the replacement of your commercial HVAC system. Planning ahead and knowing when your HVAC’s lifespan is up helps businesses know when they’ll need to save for this large investment.

How long do commercial HVAC systems last?

A commercial HVAC unit’s life expectancy can last 15-20 years without major repair. One of the most important factors determining its longevity is how often the industrial system receives preventative maintenance. Keeping up with regular, routine maintenance can add several more years onto your HVAC’s lifespan, saving money in the long run and leaving business owners or building operators more time to save for a future system replacement.

HVAC Equipment Life Expectancy Chart

Even though the whole commercial system lasts about 20 years, that doesn’t mean the parts inside will have the same lifespan. Some parts have a shorter life span than the overall system, which makes regular preventative maintenance on the parts inside your heating and cooling system essential. Keeping all parts in working order improves its overall health and life of the unit and will help you avoid a breakdown. Below is a chart with the average lifespan for a few of the major parts that make up your industrial heating and cooling system.



Factors That Impact The HVAC Lifespan

A number of factors can contribute to your commercial HVAC unit’s life expectancy — see our list below:

  • Quality of installation: The initial installation of your office’s heating and cooling system plays a significant role in its longevity. There can be errors that end up making the unit weak, which increases wear and tear on the components inside. The licensed technicians at Lozier have the expertise, tools and skills to properly install your building’s commercial HVAC system to ensure it lasts a long time.
  • Climate: Where your business is located plays a massive role in your HVAC’s lifespan. Iowa has high humidity levels, which can burden your industrial system’s dehumidification capacity and lead to moisture problems and damage.
  • Insufficient insulation: If your building has poor insulation, your system will have to overwork itself to maintain your preferred indoor temperature. Increased usage causes the components inside to wear and tear, leading to a shorter lifespan. Ensuring your space has the appropriate amount of insulation can improve your employees' comfort and increase your commercial HVAC life.
  • Air leaks: Making sure your HVAC is functioning correctly relies heavily on the availability of the refrigerant. There must be enough of it inside the system at all times. Air leaks reduce efficiency, which means the compressor has to work harder to maintain the intended temperature. The overworking of the compressor can ultimately cause fatigue and decrease its life and the industrial system’s lifespan.
  • Overworked system: Even if your office space has proper insulation, your industrial heating and cooling system can still overwork itself. If some components inside the HVAC are broken, then the system has to work harder in order to maintain the desired temperature in the space. The constant running of the commercial system will start to cause wear and tear faster than usual, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
  • Damaged parts: Worn-out or broken parts inside your office building’s heating and cooling system make it hard for the HVAC to work efficiently and keep your space at the temperature that’s set on the thermostat.

At Lozier, our mission is to provide proper maintenance on your system to ensure it lives up to its full potential and lasts a long time. If the time comes that your commercial HVAC needs replaced, we’ll be here, ready to assist with your desired heating and cooling goals and ensure your new system lives up to your expectations.

Signs Your Commercial HVAC Needs to be Replaced

If you’re unsure of how old your building's HVAC is, it can be hard to estimate how many years it has left. Below are signs to watch out for, which can result in needing a new commercial heating and cooling system for your space.

  • Inconsistent temperature: If some spaces remain hot while others are cool, it might be a sign of a leak in the system. Inconsistent airflow from a blocked, damaged duct can result in inconsistent room temperatures. If the usual preventative maintenance and repairs aren’t fixing this issue, the equipment may be beyond repair and need to be replaced.
  • Poor air quality: The commercial air conditioner is the main factor when it comes to your environment’s indoor air quality (IAQ). The unit may be damaged if you begin to notice mold, mildew, dust or unusual humidity levels. These are all signs your system might need to be replaced. We recommend scheduling a maintenance appointment to get it checked out to determine if it’s irredeemable.
  • Constant repairs: Have you noticed you’re constantly calling for service on your commercial system? It can be frustrating to drain your hard-earned money on repair after repair! There are multiple parts that make up an HVAC system that are repairable, but over time all systems will wear out and require replacement. While the upfront cost of a new system seems daunting, the cost of constant repair can quickly add up. Replacing your old building’s system with a new, efficient system will save you money on utility bills and limit the number of repairs you’ll need. Continuing with preventative maintenance will increase your new system’s lifespan as well.
  • Energy costs: If you’re noticing your energy bills are increasing an abnormal amount for the specific season you’re in, it’s a hint that your building’s HVAC is running inefficiently. Depending on how chronically this is occurring, you might need to replace your system with a new, more efficient one to start saving on your bills.
  • Strange noises: Something is amiss if your commercial heating and cooling system is making odd noises. This can be a sign that your equipment is on the verge of failing and could soon break down. Depending on the source of the issue, the system may be irreparable and need replacement.
  • Change in airflow: Airflow problems are among one of the most common HVAC issues. However, without prompt service to repair, it can cause irreversible damage to your commercial system. Changes in airflow can lead to a compressor failure, which occurs when the compressor can’t regulate the flow of refrigerant. When this happens, the fans will still run, but no cool air will come from the vents.

Contact Lozier Heating and Cooling for Commercial HVAC Maintenance Services

Lozier was founded in 1906 and has grown to become one of the premier and most reputable heating and cooling contractors in central Iowa. Our licensed technicians proudly serve commercial businesses in the Des Moines area. We believe in providing excellent service and replacement of existing commercial equipment, along with new installations. The Lozier team is dedicated to keeping central Iowa commercial businesses safe and comfortable for years to come.

For more information about your building’s HVAC lifespan or proper maintenance needed to improve its life, call our sales department at (515) 267-1000 and we will be happy to help answer questions about your commercial HVAC. If you think it might be time for a replacement or preventative maintenance service, submit a service request to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed techs!