If you’re a homeowner and you have had to purchase a new AC unit, or just had AC problems in the past, you have probably asked yourself at one point or another, “What is the typical lifespan of an air conditioner?” This is a good question. After all, a new air conditioner is a major investment for any homeowner, and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
The answer to this question can be a bit complex, but the good news is that, by choosing to work with a company like King that installs systems from a reliable manufacturer like Carrier, you can rest easy knowing they have spent a lot of time testing and improving their units for lasting reliability.
Realistically, an air conditioner’s lifespan can vary widely for several different reasons. In this article, we’ll discuss all of the factors that play a role in the life expectancy of your AC unit. With adequate upkeep and proper maintenance, you can expect a new system to last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
What are the factors that influence the lifespan of an air conditioner?
Just like your car, you’ll need to perform regular tune-ups and maintenance on your HVAC system. Some people think that once the unit stops working for the first time, and it’s no longer under its warranty, that it’s time for a new one. Another person might put in money to make the repairs, even if they cost a lot, to keep the system running for a few additional years. This decision plays a significant role in determining how long an AC unit lasts.
Beyond maintenance, some of the other factors that play into the lifespan of your system include:
- Proper installation
- Amount of month-to-month wear-and-tear and personal comfort settings within your home
- Climate factors, such as extreme cold or high humidity
- Air quality factors (salty sea breeze or other corrosives in the air)
How often is your unit being used?
It might be better to ask yourself, “how long do AC units last in my area?” Obviously, a unit that is used more than average will naturally go through more wear-and-tear compared to a unit that only runs for half the year. Here in the Chicago area, we deal with hot, humid summers, so your air conditioner will have to work hard to keep your home comfortable.
Personal preference plays a huge role here, too. If you decide to keep your AC set at 70 degrees all summer, that will require it to run much more frequently than the neighbors next door who keep their thermostat set at 78 degrees. Take this example and stretch it over 15 years, with similar maintenance schedules, and you’ll be able to see the huge difference in usage of each unit.
Are you keeping up with annual maintenance?
The number one rule with any piece of machinery is that preventative maintenance matters. When was the last time you had a professional come out and tune up your air conditioner? Do you regularly change the air filters? Do you clean the outdoor unit and keep dirt, debris, and leaves from clogging it up?
As you can expect, it is essential to keep up with this maintenance if you want to extend the life of your AC unit. It’s easy for a homeowner to inspect and replace an air filter every other month, no problem. But, scheduling a seasonal tune-up will allow the service technician to find smaller problems before they become big, breakdown-causing problems. At King, our technicians inspect things like the compressor, evaporator, condenser coils, the fan and motor parts, and the condensate drains. They will also be able to make the necessary adjustments and minor repairs that will improve performance and keep the system operating near peak energy efficiency.
What is your unit being exposed to?
Think about it: your air conditioner sits outside all day, every day, for so many years. It is exposed to the elements. And, depending on where you reside, it could potentially be taking a beating. Here in Chicago, for example, our air conditioners are exposed to freezing temperatures during the winter.
To protect and help extend the life of your outdoor unit, you can have a professional clean the coil regularly to make sure it is free of dirt and other potentially corrosive debris. You can also go and remove any leaves, pine needles, mulch, or trash that accumulates in the unit as well. Just be careful and make sure the air conditioner’s fan is off while you do these things.
Call King for all of your HVAC needs in Chicago
These are just a few factors that influence the overall lifespan of your AC unit. At King, our team can help keep your air conditioner on-schedule with regular tune-ups and be on call when you need us for an emergency repair. To schedule an appointment, call us today!