Air handler question

How long should an air handler last and/or what is its average life of an air handler?

Did a 41 year old mobile home the other day. Original owners. Original electric furnace. I think the lady vacuumed and polished it before I got there. Immaculate and blowing strong.


No definitive answer to your question.
I believe life of an AHU, or for that matter, any type of equipment is based on many variables. Those variables can be quality of equipment, installation methods, maintenance, design, etc.
Actuarilly, I’ve seen that type of unit listed with a 12-15 year operating life expectancy. Again, the variables control the answer, for the most part.
Recently, I inspected a home with two Ht.Pump systems dating back to 1979. They were cooling fine, virtually rusted out, and had to be costing a small fortune to operate, but even with the rust, you could tell the systems had been maintained, and the seller wasn’t going to replace anything.
Hope MY opinions help.

Thanks for the response. I had a Goodman 5 year heat pump with a 20 year old air handler. Just wandering what should be written in the report regarding life of air handler.

A heat pump air handler is not like a furnace with an air conditioning coil mounted on top.

If you have a five-year-old condensor hooked up to a 20-year-old air handler it should be changed that day it was put in!

The 20-year-old air handler does not have the same efficiency rating as the new heat pump. Second, all warranties are voided on both units as soon as they’re mismatched.

Bottom line is, is it functioning? Other than that, analysis and evaluation on capacity and efficiency is outside the scope of your job.

I hear all kinds of reasons why we should be advising our clients about old appliances because when they break down, they’re going to blame us for it.
Going along with this thinking just creates a standard for lawyers to follow.

The standards of practice specifically states estimation of life expectancy, recommendations on buying, the determination of capacity is specifically outside your responsibility. For those that want to waste their time and figure out how old a piece of equipment is, you’re just setting a standard that has no standard. There is no way to tell when a unit is going to break.

I lost a compressor/fan capacitor down at my bunkhouse today. Didn’t have a clue that it was going to go out! If I can’t tell when my own equipment is going to break, how can I predict the life of equipment I know nothing about?

Many people just want to be informed. They just want to know ABOUT the typical life expectancy so they can allocate funds as an estimate. I name the age of all the euipment that I can identify. Why not?

You mention functioning…that is a very broad and vague word. Is an AC unit that has a temp drop of 4 degrees functioning? Yes, it is cooling the air, isn’t that the purpose of an AC unit? Now the real question is, is it functioning AS INTENDED…Whole different ball game.

You mention capacity…to me thats VERY important. I live in SW Florida and an AC unit that is too large can cause severe mold problems even when operating PERFECTLY…so capacity is a large factor.

LAWYERS…why are people so afraid of them? If your gonna get sued, your gonna get sued, plain and simple. If they want you they will get you. I teamed up with a lawyer 10 years ago. Did about 10 inspections for him, FOR FREE…Smart move. When I need a collection letter or any type of lawyer representation…(even to fix a couple of speeding tickets) he is there to help…What goes around, comes around…

Ask a Home Inspection expert witness…Heck half the time they do not know if they are the litigants of the defendands. All will tell you they can make a case either way.

The standards of practice specifically states…we are not REQUIRED to…That does not mean we CANT do it, it just means exactly what it says we are not required to do it.

If code REQUIRES a 12 SEER AC unit and the builder installs a 14 SEER is he/she wrong?

When builders brag about meeting code, I always say congratulations on meeting the absolute minimum needed.

Just my thoughts…