How Long Do AC Units Last?


Do you find yourself constantly questioning the lifespan of your AC unit? Well, you’re not alone! Many homeowners grapple with this same query, especially as the hot summer months approach. 

But don’t worry! 

IMS Heating & Air is here to clear the air and provide you with the facts you need. So, grab a refreshing drink, settle down, and let’s dive into the question of the day: How long do AC units last?

After reading today’s article, you’ll be an air conditioning expert before you know it.

How Long Do AC Units Last? — An Expert Guide for Homeowners

The longevity of an AC unit often boils down to how well it’s taken care of. So, how long does an AC unit last, you may ask? 

On average, with regular care and maintenance, an AC unit can efficiently serve your cooling needs for anywhere between 10 to 15 years. 

Yes, you read that right! 

Just like any other appliance, your AC unit isn’t invincible, but with proper care, you can maximize its lifespan. So, the key to a long-lasting AC unit is proactive and regular maintenance.

6 Factors That Affect the Lifespan of an AC Unit

If you want to keep your AC unit in good condition for several years, you should. familiarize yourself with the variables that can influence the overall lifespan of your unit. Some of the most common factors include the following:

  1. Quality of the AC Unit: Not all AC units are created equally. Some brands have a reputation for longevity and durability thanks to superior construction and high-quality parts. Conversely, cheaper models might not last as long due to inferior components and craftsmanship.
  2. Installation: Professional AC installation plays a significant role in determining the overall lifespan of your AC unit. Incorrect installation can cause significant issues, ranging from subpar performance to an outright system failure. Always ensure a certified professional installs your unit.
  3. Usage: The more you use your AC unit, the more wear and tear it experiences. On the other hand, an AC in a cooler climate that’s only used sporadically might last longer than one in a hotter climate that’s constantly running.
  4. Maintenance: Regular maintenance can contribute to a long-lasting AC unit. This includes changing the AC air filters, cleaning the coils, and scheduling annual professional maintenance. Neglecting these tasks could lead to less efficiency and a shorter lifespan.
  5. Environment: External factors, such as the presence of corrosive elements (like saltwater for coastal homes), can affect the longevity of your AC unit. In such harsh conditions, your AC may require more frequent maintenance and might have a shorter overall lifespan.
  6. Size of the Unit: An oversized or undersized unit can affect its lifespan. An oversized AC unit will cycle on and off frequently, causing excessive wear and tear. A unit that’s too small will run continuously to keep up with cooling demands, potentially leading to overheating and early failure.

So if you’ve been wondering, “how long do air conditioners last?”, regular and proactive maintenance is the most effective way to ensure your AC serves you efficiently for many years.

6 Things That You Can Do To Increase the Lifespan of Your AC Unit

Even if you know what factors affect the lifespan of your AC unit, you need to put time and effort into maintaining it. Although you may not be able to tune up your AC unit like a professional, there are several things that you can do to keep your AC unit in good shape for the foreseeable future:

Regularly Change Your Air Filters

The air filters in your AC unit play a vital role in maintaining the unit’s efficiency. They trap unwanted airborne particles like dust and allergens and prevent them from circulating in your home. 

However, over time, these filters can become clogged, forcing your AC unit to work harder and shortening its lifespan. Regularly changing your AC air filters – typically every 60-90 days – can promote better airflow, improve air quality, and help extend the life of your AC unit.

Schedule Routine Professional Maintenance

Have a professional HVAC technician check your AC system at least once a year. These routine inspections can identify potential problems early, preventing minor issues from turning into major, costly repairs. Regular professional maintenance can keep your AC system in peak working order, extend its lifespan, and could even save you money on energy bills.

Keep Outdoor Unit Clear of Debris

Your outdoor AC unit needs ample airflow to function effectively. Keep the area around the AC unit clear of debris that can block airflow and cause the system to overheat. A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least a two-foot clearance around the AC unit.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can reduce the wear and tear on your AC unit by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re not home or at night when you’re sleeping. This results in less energy usage and can prolong the life of your AC unit. Be sure to keep this in mind if you’ve been wondering, “how long should an air conditioner last?”.

Use Ceiling Fans to Keep Your Home Cool

Ceiling fans can be a great help to your AC unit by circulating the cool air throughout your rooms. This reduces the amount of work your AC unit has to do, which can extend its lifespan.

Insulate Your Home Properly

Good insulation keeps cool air in and hot air out, reducing the cooling load on your AC unit. Insulate your home properly, especially in the attic and around windows and doors, to reduce the demand on your AC unit and extend its life.

Remember, these tips are not a guarantee but can significantly increase the chances of your AC unit functioning efficiently for longer.

How Long Do AC Units Last? — Conclusion

The lifespan of an AC unit largely hinges on its quality, usage, maintenance, environment, and size. 

If you’ve been wondering, “how long do air conditioners typically last?”,  you can significantly extend the efficient service life of your AC unit with the right measures. 

At IMS Heating & Air in Northern Colorado, we’re committed to helping you get the most out of your AC unit. Contact us today for professional maintenance and expert advice to ensure your AC unit keeps you cool for years to come.