What Is The Lifespan Of A Heat Pump?

A heat pump can last up to twenty years, but that’s far from a guarantee. Many factors will affect its longevity. As a homeowner, you can take some steps to make your HVAC equipment last longer. But, some factors are out of your control. 

In the 12 years I’ve been as product manager for the HVAC distributor Peirce Phelps, I’ve seen these systems improve a lot.


From working with contractors who’ve installed thousands in the mid-Atlantic area, I’ve learned plenty about how to keep them working. And what specific challenges exist in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. 

I’ll go through all of those in this article. And, if you have more questions, or are considering an installation for your home, use our dealer locator to find a certified contractor in your area. You’ll get a no-obligation, free consultation.  


What is the average life of a heat pump?

The average heat pump lifespan is 15 years to 20 years. It’s notable that they work year-round to heat and cool your home, as opposed to switching between a traditional furnace and central air conditioning. With proper care and maintenance, a heat pump can last more than two decades.

Common Heat Pumps In Mid-Atlantic States

Air-source pumps extract heat from the outside air while ground-source pumps extract it from the earth. They’re the most common, especially for homes. 

Ductless mini splits, sometimes called ductless air conditioners, are heat pump systems that use air source units. They’re more expensive than ducted setups, but offer lower utility bills and better home comfort.  

Ground-source pumps tend to last longer. They’re mostly underground and so are protected from outside elements that may damage them. But, they require a lot of land, so they’re less common in residential settings. 

How Many Years Does A Heat Pump Last In A Pennsylvania Home? 

Climate affects how long a heat pump can continue working. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland or Delaware, it’s common to see them heat and cool for up to two decades. It doesn’t get so hot or cold that the system wears out earlier than expected. However, extra humidity and salt water in coastal areas can shorten the life expectancy of a heat pump/

Factors that affect heat pump life expectancy

I mentioned how climate can affect the lifespan of a heat pump, but that’s not the only factor. Others include: 

When the unit was manufactured

Newer heat pump models are built to last longer than older ones. They also use less electricity. 

Proper installation

A unit that’s not installed correctly wont’ run as well as it should. It will also use more energy, leading to higher energy bills. Always have your heat pump installed by a professional. A DIY job can cost much more in the long run.

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance extends a heat pump’s lifespan and keeps it running efficiently. As the homeowner, you can keep the unit clean, change the air filters, and watch for problems. Then, have a professional perform two tune-ups per year: One for heating season and one for cooling. 


Your system will run much more frequently if you’re in a high humidity area. It’ll wear out faster as a result. If you’re near the shore, salt water from the ocean corrodes the components faster than in other areas. 

Signs it’s Time to Replace a Heat Pump

No matter how well you treat your appliances, they’ll break down eventually. That’s why it’s important to know the signs that it’s almost time to replace your heat pump: 

Utility Bills Get Higher

As the condenser and heat exchanger age, they’ll suffer from wear and tear and use more electricity to keep up with demand.

Diminished Performance

You may be constantly adjusting the thermostat lately. Or, the house just doesn’t get as warm or cool as it used to. These are signs your heat pump isn’t up to the task.

More Breakdowns

Constant repairs are costly. And, the extra wear and tear on a heating and cooling system leads to early replacement.

Unit is More than 15 Years Old

A heat pump that’s more than 15 years old is closer to the end of its service life than the beginning. Start watching for the other warning signs.

Increase Your Heat Pump Life Longevity with Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of any furnace, heat pump, or AC. It also prevents common issues. This means getting a tune-up. You want one in the fall so it’s ready for winter, and another in the spring so you have great cooling all summer. 

What You Get with a Tune-Up

During a tune-up, an HVAC technician inspects all the components of your heat pump, including the fins on the outdoor coil, for wear and tear and any broken components. They’ll check all the electrical connections, run diagnostics, and clean out any dust, dirt or other buildup. 

Heat Pump FAQs

By now, you should know plenty about how long your heat pump should last and how to make it go the distance. I’ll answer a few more FAQs here. And, if you live in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey or Delaware, you can also get a free consultation from a certified installer. 


Do heat pumps lose efficiency with age? 

Heat pumps can lose efficiency with age just like any HVAC system. Wear and tear causes it to work harder to produce the same amount of heat. Regular maintenance and upkeep help prolong the lifespan and efficiency of a heat pump. 

Which HVAC system lasts the longest?

Oil furnaces last the longest of any HVAC system, with some working for 30 years. However, oil is inefficient and only provides heating. Other systems also provide cooling. They’re also much more energy-efficient.

Find the best heat pump installers in State College, PA.