One of the most important decisions you can make regarding your home comfort during the “shoulder seasons” (spring and fall) is whether your current HVAC system needs to be replaced. For example, if you’re one of the many people in the area who use a heat pump for comfort around the year when is the system too old to justify repairing it over and over again?
In general, a heat pump can last around 10 to 15 years. As a rule of thumb to see if a repair is worth it, multiply the cost of the repair by the age of the system. If you get a number over $5,000, it’s probably better to put in a new heat pump.
But What If I Don’t Know How Old My Heat Pump Is?
Now we come to the big question people often have: “How old is my heat pump?” If your heat pump was already installed when you moved into your house, you may not have a good idea of its manufacture date.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find out!
The first step is to go to the outdoor cabinet of the heat pump. Look on the back side, the side facing toward the house, and you should find a nameplate. The nameplate lists the manufacturer’s specifications on it. At the top of the nameplate, you should see the manufacture’s date like a month and year. Sometimes it’s abbreviated as MFR DATE. If you can locate this information, then the work is all done. You know how old the heat pump is and can use the information to help make choices about replacing or repairing it.
I Don’t See a Manufacturer’s Date
Not all manufacturers make it so easy. If you don’t see the date on the nameplate, take a digital snapshot of the plate with your phone. Use the picture as a reference to write down the following information: model number, serial number, and brand. This information contains the manufacturer’s date in it, even if it’s not obvious at first. You may be able to figure it out by looking at the number. For example, the serial number 6032TWF for a heat pump means it was manufactured in the 3rd fiscal week of 2006, in other words, January 2006. The 6 is the year, and the 03 is the fiscal week.
How can you know this is the way the information is coded into the serial number or model number? One way is to type the numbers and brand into a search engine, and this will often pull up manufacturer information on how to read the data.
Or you can take a shortcut and call a Des Moines, IA, HVAC company with the numbers and brand and they’ll quickly tell you the system’s age. You will probably need their expert advice anyway to help you make the choice about what to do with your heat pump!