Every HVAC part is critical to efficient, effective heating or cooling. Today, a new system lasts longer than ever, keeping the home environment comfortable in all seasons. As long as each HVAC part functions up to standards, monthly costs are reduced, and reliability is maximized.
However, wear and tear is an unavoidable reality in all mechanical devices, including HVAC parts. Over the years, certain system parts may become unreliable or fail. Here are some components that are more susceptible to the effects of time and usage.
- Furnace heat exchanger. This critical component transfers heat from the furnace burner into the household HVAC airflow while also sealing out deadly carbon monoxide gas and other combustion byproducts. After years of use and many heating cycles, the heat exchanger may crack. Local safety codes require that the furnace must be shut down until a new heat exchanger — or an entirely new furnace — is installed.
- Furnace gas igniter. This electronic component has made the old furnace pilot light obsolete. When the thermostat signals for heat, electricity is switched to the igniter, the material glows red hot, and the flow of gas into the furnace burner ignites. Electronic igniters have a typical life expectancy of four to seven years before it will require replacement.
- System blower motor. This powerful motor pulls both heated and cooled air through household ductwork. After a long service life — most blower motors last up to 15 years — the blower may begin to fail. System airflow may decline or the unit may eventually trip a circuit breaker.
- AC compressor. The most expensive component in the central air conditioner, a compressor runs on 220 volts, which is twice the standard voltage of most household circuits. It is subjected to excessive heat and generates very high pressure to compress the AC refrigerant flow. In warmer climates where the AC runs many more hours per day, a worn compressor may malfunction and require replacement at around 10 years.
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