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Throughout the U.S., the average lifespan of a new HVAC system is 10 to 25 years. Heating systems tend to average 15 years, and central AC lasts up to 20 years in some areas. In Miami’s heat and humidity, it’s reasonable to expect around 10 years from your AC system because it’s used so much.

How do you extend the life of your HVAC system? All Year Cooling has 10 rules to follow if you want to make your system last.

Change Your Filter Regularly

How often you change your AC filter depends on how much you use your system. If it’s on all day and night and you have several pets, you may need to replace it each month. If you have a smart or digital thermostat and adjust the temperature during the day when you’re at work or at night when you’re sleeping, you may be able to replace it every two or three months.

The best way to tell how often to change it is by visually inspecting it. If you’re checking it every three months and it’s extremely dirty, change it more often. If you check it after two months and it’s still clean, you can wait longer. Once you’ve figured out the timing, set a reminder that matches that schedule.

Have Your System Cleaned and Maintained Regularly

You should have your system cleaned and maintained at least every other year. Higher usage requires more frequent cleaning. For some homeowners, yearly cleanings are ideal. When you hire a Florida AC technician to clean and inspect your system, ask if you should be considering more frequent cleanings or if the maintenance schedule you’re following is suitable.

Check Your Humidity Levels

Central AC does remove humidity from your home’s air, but you may find it’s not enough. Check your home’s humidity levels on a sunny day and on a rainy one. Ideally, you want it to be under 50% or you may start to feel uncomfortable. If it’s consistently over 50%, there may be an issue with your system not working effectively. 

Many times, it’s a problem like dirty evaporator coils or a clogged AC filter. Cleaning those should help. If it doesn’t, call an AC specialist to inspect your home’s ducts. You may have a leak.

Get It Serviced After a Severe Storm

Following a storm or flood, have your central AC system checked for damage. Don’t run your AC if your home floods after a hurricane or tropical storm. If lightning may have hit your outdoor components, leave the system off until you’ve had it professionally inspected. 

Keep the Outdoor Area Free of Shrubs, Tall Grass, and Other Debris

The outdoor components of a central AC system include the condenser and compressor. They’re in a large box that has a fan grate on top, condensing coils along a wall, and then the compressor. The condenser and compressor are essential to the cooling process. If grass clippings, leaves, pollen, dirt, and dust block any of this, it can impact how well your AC system works. 

You need to make sure no shrubs are growing nearby, that tall grass is trimmed, and that the cover is removed at least once a year to hose off the coils. You may want to do this each season to keep your system in the best working condition. 

Clean Vent Covers/Grills and Check Ducts Regularly

You have grills or vent covers in the ceilings or walls around your home. Some draw warm air from the room to condition it. Others are where the cooled air is released into the room. Taking care of them is essential.

When you vacuum your floors, take the upholstery attachment and clean off the grills, too. Make sure that furniture isn’t blocking those vents to allow for maximum airflow and keep dust, fur, and hair from building up in the ducts.

Don’t Ignore New Noises

Your AC system is making a hissing noise. It’s something you’ve never heard before, but your system’s working fine, so you’re not worrying about it. Don’t ignore new noises. 

A hissing noise can be an indicator that you have a coolant leak. This isn’t something to ignore as coolant can harm the environment and impact your health. That leak might be the result of a leak in a line or a sign that your compressor is going. You don’t want to have it stop working on the hottest day of the year. 

Here are other noises you might hear and what they can mean.

  • Banging or Clanking – Loose or broken parts in the compressor, blower, or fan.
  • Buzzing – It can indicate there is debris in the unit or something is loose.
  • Clicking – Normal if it’s at the beginning or end of a cycle, but not normal if it’s constant. It could be a sign something’s obstructing or loose in a fan, there’s an issue with the electrical signals or thermostat, or the capacitor isn’t holding its charge.
  • Rattling – This is a sign that something is loose, and it can be as simple as a loose screw or bolt.
  • Squealing – Squealing noises usually indicate there’s an issue with air pressure. It might be a malfunctioning fan or blower.

Update Your Home’s Insulation

If your home’s insulation is old and worn, it’s time to replace it. This is important as an HVAC system has to work harder if the cool or warm air is escaping through the attic or roof due to the lack of insulation.

Upgrade your attic insulation and take advantage of tax incentives and rebates. You can save money on the insulation that’s added, and save money on your AC bills at the same time.

Don’t Set Unreasonable Temperatures

When you’re setting your home’s temperature, don’t be unreasonable. You may love the idea of having a home that’s 68 F all summer, but that’s going to force your AC system to work harder. If the system works more than normal, it’s going to wear out faster. 

The same is true with winter thermostat settings. If you’re setting it to 82 F, it’s going to run a lot more than it needs to. Use a thermostat and aim for recommended settings in your area. In Miami, the State of Florida recommends 78 F in the summer. 

Have a New HVAC System Sized and Installed by a Professional

When you do have a new HVAC system installed, make sure you have it sized by a Florida HVAC professional. If you get a central AC system that is oversized or undersized, it’s going to work harder and wear out faster.

Some people think that an AC system that’s bigger than you need for your square footage will be more powerful and cool everything faster. While it will cool quickly, it also turns on and off quickly, which wears out the electricals and motors faster. 

And, a smaller system than you need won’t help save money. If it’s too small for your square footage, it’s going to run constantly. It will wear out fast.

All Year Cooling is happy to come to your home and discuss your central AC system. We can inspect it, check your ducts, and let you know if there are any issues. If we feel your system is going to cost more to repair than replace, we’ll tell you. We have in-house financing if our financing partners cannot help you, and we’re happy to help you secure federal tax incentives and FPL’s central AC rebate.

We are an FPL Participating Contractor. Ask us about the latest energy-efficient central AC systems and our extended warranty that protects your AC for an entire decade.

All Year Cooling