Why Do Gas Packs Have a Shorter Life than Split Systems?

March 24th, 2016

Atlanta area homeowners considering the purchase of a gas pack, or gas packaged unit, will want to know how long they last. The short answer is that a gas pack can be expected to last for 8-12 years, possibly longer, while standard split systems commonly last from 12-20 years.

In this Atlanta HVAC Guide article, let’s take a look at the main reasons that gas packs have a shorter life than split systems. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that all of them are a result of the unit being outside. In addition to learning why they don’t last quite as long as split systems, we’ll also try to cover some basic things you can do to extend the life of your gas pack.

Enemies of Package Units

Corrosion is a larger factor with gas packs. While the cabinets do a good job of keeping rain directly off parts that are prone to corrosion, the more humid outside conditions we have in Atlanta, will take their toll over time. When key system parts like the burner or the heat exchanger in the built-in furnace begin to rust, they become inefficient and frankly, dangerous, causing energy bills to rise and the overall safety of your family to be at risk! They also weaken and eventually fail altogether.

Dirt and debris build up in gas packs. Fine grit gets into moving parts and causes them to wear faster. Blower motors, for example, are susceptible to failure sooner in gas packs than in traditional split system gas furnaces.

In addition to this, bugs, spiders, ants and all those wonderful insects and outdoor critters build small and hard to see nests in the little corners and covered panels on the system.

Getting the Greatest Durability from your Gas Pack

If you want to get the maximum lifespan from your gas pack, the key is to keep it maintained. Having an HVAC professional give it an annual checkup is essential. There is a long list of maintenance items to be performed that will help it run with highest efficiency as well as greatest durability. The list includes, but is not limited to: cleaning the coils, lubricating moving parts, clearing the condensate line of debris, cleaning the burner, checking for refrigerant leaks, and checking for signs of corrosion or wear.

In addition to annual maintenance for your packaged unit, you should make sure you wash down and rinse off the entire gas pack after each lawn mowing. This will help keep clippings and other debris off the coils and help it run more efficiently for longer lasting performance!

The average warranty covers the parts of the gas pack for 5 years. Some may have a longer heat exchanger warranty on the internal gas furnace. That makes it critical to have the system maintained prior to the five-year point so that any problems with it can be covered by the warranty. Minor problems that may not be affecting the performance of the gas pack yet can be identified and corrected. If you wait until the warranty has expired, those repairs won’t be covered.

As is common with every kind of HVAC repair or replacement, ALWAYS get more than 1 quote for the work. It could save you thousands of dollars!

Conclusion, and Your Feedback

Most gas packs can be expected to last for 8-12 years. With proper maintenance, yours might exceed that life span by several years. Take good care of a gas pack by hiring an HVAC technician to maintain it, and it will take care of heating and air conditioning your Atlanta home for a longer period of time

Tell us, how long did your Atlanta home gas pack last for you, and what finally made you decide to replace it?