How Long Does an AC Unit Last?

3 ac units

Your air conditioner is an important component of having a great summer. While the sun can be nice for getting a tan, it can get too hot after a while. Having a quality air conditioner to go home to can ensure that you get to relax in comfort. Understanding how long air conditioners last is vital to ensure that you always have one that works to cool down your home.

The Manufacturer’s Life Expectancy

Each air conditioner manufacturer will have a set life expectancy for their products. For centralized home air conditioning units, you can expect them to last around 10 to 15 years. After this point, you’ll need to most likely replace the a/c unit. Now, the life expectancy of any unit can be maximized by taking proper care of it. With most air conditioning units, you can increase their life expectancy to about 20 years or more if you properly maintain them.

How To Properly Maintain Your Air Conditioning Unit

As you learned above, properly maintaining your air conditioning unit can make all the difference in how long your unit lasts. It’s a great idea to understand the components that make up the maintenance for your system in order to ensure that you perform them all or have a professional do so for you. Below, we’re going to take a look at the key components to any good maintenance plan.

Yearly Air Conditioner Tune-Up

One of the best ways to prevent having to have a cooling system replacement is to get a yearly tune-up for your air conditioner. While each HVAC company may add their own unique touches to the list of services a tune-up includes, you can expect all of them to contain the following:

  • Flushing Drain Lines
  • Cleaning Condenser Coils
  • Replacing Faulty Electrical Components
  • Topping Off The Freon (Refrigerant)
  • Replacing The Air Filters

Change Air Filters Regularly

Each air conditioning unit is going to be a little different as far as the frequency of air filter changes it will need. It’s a great idea to talk with your a/c installation expert to determine how often you should be cleaning and changing your air filters. You can also find this information with the manual which came with your home air conditioning system. Some of these systems will require cleaning every month while others may last for three months in between cleanings.

Cleaning The Outside Condenser Unit

As part of your residential cleaning system, there is an outside condenser unit. You’ll need to ensure that this unit is regularly kept free of dirt and debris build-up. Leaves and bugs tend to be the most common offenders when it comes to these outdoor condenser units. You should check every few weeks to ensure that your unit is free from this outside debris so your air conditioning system can work effectively.

Your Outside Environment Will Play A Role

The manufacturer can recommend general lifespans for their units; however, it’s important to realize they’re just estimating. The actual environment the system is used in and the amount of use it gets will highly alter its ultimate lifespan. To understand this a little better, let’s take a look at an extreme example. 

Let’s say you have a unit in your home in Arizona. It’s hot all year round. This means that you’ll be running your unit throughout the entire year. Compare this to an air conditioning unit in a home in the state of Pennsylvania where the unit gets run solely through the summer season. The home in Arizona is going to be running the air conditioning unit all year versus the unit in Pennsylvania that will be running the unit one season of the year. There’s a big difference in the amount of wear and tear for each of these two units. This is why the environment that the air conditioning unit will be installed plays a big role in how long the unit lasts. 

Understanding the lifespan of your air conditioning unit is important so that you can plan for future replacements. Part of the lifespan of your unit will highly depend on how well you take care of it. As you learned above, there are some necessary maintenance steps you can do on a regular basis to help keep your unit working effectively for longer. Therefore, the actual lifespan of your unit is going to highly depend on not only how long the manufacturer recommends, but also the amount of care your unit receives throughout its lifetime.