How Long Does a Ductless Heat Pump Last?


Ductless heat pumps offer massive energy savings and are very easy to maintain. Because they are ductless, they can even be used in extremely cold weather down to as low as -2 degrees. Proper care and regular maintenance will keep your heat pump running smoothly for many years to come. But how long will these systems last?.

A ductless heat pump will last about 15 to 20 years. The lifespan of a ductless system varies between 10 to 25 years depending on maintenance, usage, and location. Ductless heat pumps located in coastal areas will have a much shorter lifespan of 8 to 10 years due to the inherent harsh climate.

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Throughout this article, you’ll learn the following info:

  • Details about ductless heat pumps and how many years they last
  • Different tips to make it last longer
  • Issues that people experience with ductless heat pumps and how you can fix them

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Ductless Heat Pump?

Brand Life Expectancy Price Highlight
Mitsubishi 15 Years ~$3,800 to $4,800 Customer Service
LG 12 Years ~$3,650 to $12,500 Temperature Range
Daikin 15 to 20 Years ~$1,800 to $4,000 Anti-Corrosion Coat
Fujitsu 12 to 14 Years ~$4,000 to $5,500 Eco-Friendly
Gree 10 to 12 Years ~$1,500 to $6,000 Energy-Efficient

As you can see from the table above, most ductless heat pumps fit within the aforementioned range of 10 to 30 years. While manufacturers don’t promise anything over their warranty period, which is typically 6 years on parts, concur that most ductless systems will last 15 to 20 years. It’s not uncommon to see well-maintained systems provide up to a decade of additional performance.

Are Ductless Heat Pumps Worth It?

The values above are presented to give you an estimated timespan before you need to start replacing parts regularly. If you’re consistent with repairs, then you can allow the ductless heat pump to reach 30 or more years.

According to The Heat Pump Store, you can save more money by getting an energy-efficient heat pump than if you got a regular model. They might cost a little bit more upfront, but you’ll end up saving down the road. In other words, spend the money now to save much more later.

Although each brand has its own unique highlight next to it, all of the five brands mentioned are well worth the investment. They’re more efficient than others, and they move air quicker than anything you’ll find elsewhere. Having a heat pump that lasts over ten years for such a low cost is a no-brainer compared to traditional air conditioner units.

In our article Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps 101: Are They Worth It? we dig into this in more detail. We include videos on various brand ductless heat pumps, efficiency ratings, and much more.

Another benefit to ductless systems is that, with a helper and a few tools, they can be a DIY installation. Check out our Installing a Ductless Heat Pumps: A DIY Guide for instructions and tips.

If you already have a ductless heat pump and you’re wondering how you can push the life expectancy a little bit further, then the next section will be a breath of fresh air. The guidelines are mere estimations, so there’s no reason that your unit can’t last well beyond them.

How Can You Make Your Ductless Heat Pump Last Longer?

If you feel like your ductless heat pump isn’t producing the power that it once did, then there’s a high chance that something needs to be replaced or repaired. Fortunately, most of the fixes are cheap and easy. 

Whether you just bought your ductless heat pump, or you’re looking for ways to extend the lifespan, you’re in the right place. Here are five ways to make your heat pump last longer:

  1. Clean the filter regularly. If you don’t take the time to clean and remove dust from the filter in your ductless heat pump, it’ll overheat. As more debris starts to accumulate, your heat pump has to work harder which puts unnecessary stress on the unit. Check your air filter every two weeks to see if it needs a good cleaning. We have an article on How to Clean Ductless Mini Split Air Filters which can help show you what to do.
  2. Clear everything from the inside and outside of the filter. The air coming in and going out of the pump shouldn’t be obstructed. Try to move everything within 3 feet away to allow air to move freely. When you have bushes, nightstands, and other objects in front of your system, it has to work harder and longer.
  3. Clean the airways weekly or as needed. The vents and ledges around the vent are just as important as the filter. When they get dusty and dirty, they start to ruin various components of the unit. For example, too much hot dust can wear away at the coils, which aren’t too cheap to replace.
  4. Never let your ductless heat pump freeze. If you live in an area that gets below freezing, then it’s a good idea to continuously run the heat pump through the night. When the pipes freeze, they can break easily. Coils, condensers, filters, and other parts are all subject to damage from low temperatures as well.
  5. As Compact Appliance suggests, hire a professional when needed. Annual checkups are highly recommended, even if you’re not concerned about any issues. You never know when a small repair can save you loads of money down the road. Nothing’s worse than having a broken heat pump in the middle of winter!

Common Problems & Concerns

Ductless heat pumps are fairly self-sufficient, aside from regular filter cleanings. However, there are numerous issues that could go wrong without any warning signs. If you’re worried about this happening to your ductless heat pump, then see #5 from the previous section. Peace of mind is worth more than anything with HVAC systems.

Aside from the rare outliers, let’s check out a handful of common problems associated with old heat pumps. They’ll let you know when it’s almost time to replace a couple of parts (or maybe even the whole unit).

  • If your heat pump is getting increasingly louder by the week, it might be time to look for repairs. Clogged filters, broken coils, and blockages can all be the cause. However, there might be broken pipes or a frozen condenser. Unfortunately, hiring a pro is sometimes the only way to know.
  • If your ductless heat pump isn’t producing the same temperature that it used to, you have a serious problem on your hands. Old or leaking refrigerant is often the cause of a heat pump that doesn’t put out the correct temperature. Broken coils, malfunctioning condensers, and a bad thermostat can also cause this issue.
  • Corrosion and rust can also be present, although they’re rare. Conditioned Air, Inc. states that people who live in coastal towns can experience these issues. They’re often caused by excessive amounts of humidity and salinity in the air. The combination of salt and moisture is horrible for most electronics.
  • Loose connections seem to be common in older units. Fortunately, all you have to do is reconnect them, in most cases. Always start by turning off the power to the ductless heat pump before working with any wires (or all other parts for that matter). If rewiring doesn’t work, you should use a multimeter to find out where the power isn’t going to.

How Often Should You Replace Your Heat Pump?

Ductless heat pumps should last well over a decade under proper usage and maintenance. Depending on the brand that you have, you can expect between 10 to 30 years from your unit. Remember that regular inspections and cleanings are the keys to increasing the longevity of your ductless heat pump.

It is also worth noting that, at some point, if you find that your system is requiring a lot more maintenance it becomes more prudent to replace the system. Advancements in heat pump technology is expanding rapidly.

While systems can last up to 20 years, it doesn’t make it the most cost-efficient thing to do. Because technology advancements are moving so fast, manufacturers stop producing parts on older systems which may make it hard to repair a ductless system that is over 12 to 15 years old.

There’s an old adage that states “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” however that simply isn’t always the best course of action. Sometimes, it better to play offensive rather than defense.

Depending on what the failure maybe, you could just be wasting money by prolonging the inevitable. It’s wise to fix and maintain your ductless system, but there comes a time where enough is enough.

Conclusion

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • People living in coastal towns might experience rust and corrosion much quicker. If you live within a mile or so of the coast, you can expect a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
  • Always inspect the filter every two weeks. Clean the air filter as needed to keep your mini-split system running great for years to come.
  • Hire a professional annually to come out and look through your system. Annual service helps to prevent little problems from becoming major premature breakdowns.
  • Loud or otherwise abnormal sounds from a heat pump are never normal. Always get them checked out!

Sources

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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