How to prolong the life of your air conditioner
Air Conditioner Lifespan
As any homeowner here in Chicagoland knows, you don’t want to go through summer without a working air conditioner. Keeping the heat and humidity out of your home is a big deal, and it makes your air conditioner an essential part of your home.
In other words, you’ll want to do everything in your power to prolong your AC lifespan and put off the day you eventually need to replace it. In this article, we’ll review how long air conditioners typically last and how you can potentially extend the lifespan of your system through preventative maintenance, energy-efficiency improvements, and taking quick action on repairs.
How long do air conditioners last?
Most air conditioners last between 12-17 years. Air conditioners on the high end of that scale—or those that exceed it and last 20+ years—have some things in common:
– They’re well-maintained by professionals
– They’re not subjected to extraordinary stress
– Their repairs are completed promptly by AC experts.
For air conditioners, age is more than just a number. But, it’s also not everything. When it comes to air conditioners, it’s not always about the years—it’s about the mileage. An air conditioner that runs constantly is going to wear down and “age” faster than one that runs less. In other words, the average lifespan of an air conditioner often comes down to how well you treat it.
Later in this article, we’ll discuss several ways to improve your home’s energy-efficiency. This matters because it lowers the mileage put on your system, increasing the useful life of an air conditioner.
You can’t control how many years pass, but you can potentially extend the lifespan of your AC by lowering the mileage put on it.
Schedule an annual tune-up
Without a doubt, this is the single-best thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner. Just like your vehicle, your AC unit needs regular, professional maintenance to keep it running right.
Skipping annual tune-ups is just asking for trouble—both in the present, as you’re at greater risk of a breakdown, and in the future.
What makes seasonal tune-ups so important? It’s an opportunity for our technicians to take a close look at your system and determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Many AC repairs start small, and then—unnoticed—lead to a breakdown later.
Catching them early can reduce the stress on the system, helping it live a longer (and more productive!) life.
Every spring, have one of our certified technicians take a look at your air conditioner. Our 40-point AC tune-up ensures your system is ready for the summer ahead.
To learn more about our preventative maintenance—and to book an appointment—click the button below.
What’s the advantage of regular maintenance?
If you’ve been putting off scheduling your spring AC tune-up, now’s the time to act. Just like oil changes for your vehicles, AC maintenance isn’t something that’s optional or extra. To extend your air conditioner’s lifespan, it needs care and attention from a professional.
In this next section, we’ll review what you need to know about AC maintenance and what you stand to gain from scheduling a tune-up. Here are a few reasons why you should look into getting your AC unit serviced this spring:
It’s called “preventative maintenance” for a reason. An AC tune-up can drastically reduce your risk of an in-season breakdown. In fact, most HVAC techs estimate that 80% of all the repairs they encounter could have been avoided with regular AC maintenance.
Even if your spring tune-up prevents one major problem throughout the course of your air conditioner’s life, you’ve probably already met the threshold for your return-on-investment.
There’s no way to avoid saying it: AC repairs are inconvenient, and—due to their typical causes—tend to happen at the worst possible times. There’s a reason our team is busiest on the hottest and most humid nights of the year!
An AC tune-up isn’t just about avoiding problems with your system. It can also help you dodge a whole lot of hassle. That alone is worth the cost, in our book.
Does this extend the lifespan of your system? Yes. By avoiding unnecessary repairs and breakdowns, your system experiences a lot less stress throughout the years.
Boost your AC performance
Without regular AC maintenance, your air conditioner just won’t run as well as it should. If you’re feeling spotty cooling throughout your home—where one room feels like an icebox and the other feels like an oven—it might mean you’re overdue for maintenance.
As parts experience routine wear-and-tear and dust builds up inside of the system, your air conditioner tends to become less effective at cooling. All-in-all, that adds up to a less comfortable home for you and your family.
Does this extend the lifespan of your system? Absolutely! When your air conditioner is able to run at its best, it’s undergoing far less stress and strain to produce the cooling needed for your home. Think about that as less mileage on the system—especially when you start adding up the years you’ve had it.
Improve your energy-efficiency
Have you noticed that your electricity bills this summer have been similar to the temperatures outside: climbing up-and-up, with no relief in sight? There’s probably a correlation between skipping your AC tune-up and your higher bills.
Without annual maintenance, your air conditioner will continually become less efficient and effective.
Even a slight dropoff in efficiency can really spike your energy bills. Stop and think about it: your AC runs nearly continuously on the hottest and most humid days of the year. Every hour it’s running at 5-10% less efficiency, you’re paying more money for less cooling.
Your AC tune-up might just end up paying for itself when it’s all said and done!
Does this extend the lifespan of your system? Yes. If your AC is running inefficiently, that means it’s working harder to produce less cooling. That’s extra stress being put on your system for months at a time—and it could result in a significantly shorter lifespan for your AC unit.
Maintain your warranty
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: your new air conditioner comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.
While the exact fine print varies from system-to-system, most of these warranties provide coverage for essential AC components—like the compressor—for years after installation. This protects you from the risk of a faulty or malfunctioning component that, in effect, bricks the system.
As you might imagine, there’s an important catch: most of these manufacturer’s warranties require you to get an annual, professional tune-up in order to keep the coverage active. If you skip a year, you could void your otherwise free warranty coverage.
From the manufacturer’s point-of-view, they only want to cover systems that are being properly cared for by the homeowner (via a professional HVAC technician). From your perspective, you should do everything within your power to maintain your warranty coverage—it could end up saving you thousands of dollars down the road!
Does this extend the lifespan of your system? While the manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t necessarily extend the lifespan of your air conditioner, it does protect you from defects, which are rare, but still possible. It’s additional peace of mind for you and your family.
So far, we’ve talked mostly about the financial side of things. But, your comfort matters, too. It’s the entire reason you run your air conditioner in the first place. Without regular maintenance, your air conditioner is more likely to run inconsistently, cool your home slowly, or even run into problems like short-cycling, which is when your air conditioner is constantly turning itself off-and-on because it can’t maintain the current temperature in your home.
For many of us, there’s no price you can put on the feeling of cool air coming out of the vents on a hot and humid summer night.
Given the relatively low cost of an AC tune-up, having a professional out to ensure your system is working at its best is essential.
Does this extend the lifespan of your system? If your air conditioner isn’t keeping you cool in the summer, you’re probably going to get a new air conditioner. Your comfort is everything, and ensuring that your AC unit can keep up its end of the bargain is incredibly important.
Improve your home’s efficiency
The less your air conditioner has to work, the better. Outside of keeping your home at an uncomfortable temperature, the best way to lighten the load is making your home more energy-efficient.
The less energy that’s wasted, the less your air conditioner has to run to keep your home habitable in the summer. That, in turn, can ultimately add years back to your air conditioner’s life.
Add insulation to your attic
There’s a lot you can do to make your home more efficient. Start in your attic. If your home doesn’t have enough attic insulation, your air conditioner (and furnace!) will have to work overtime to keep up with what’s being lost through your roof.
Talk to our team to learn more about attic insulation and whether or not your home has enough of it.
Seal your air ducts
In a forced-air system, air ducts are used to transport cooled air from the AC blower to the different rooms of your home, where air is distributed through vents and registers.
However, ductwork is notoriously prone to damage, including pinholes, gaps, and cracks. These allow cooled air to escape into the attic before it even gets to you.
Have our team seal your home’s air ducts, and you’ll reduce your home’s energy waste by up to 30%!
Keep the heat out
As the summer sun beats down on your home, the air inside begins to heat up. Your air conditioner kicks on to cool things down. Obviously, you can’t do much about the sun itself, but you can shield your home from it.
Let’s start outside. Strategically planting shade trees around your property can block the afternoon sun from hitting your windows. It’s a game-changer for both your home’s efficiency and your comfort. Plus, as an added bonus, shade trees look great and will make your yard that much more beautiful.
Inside, hang sun-blocking curtains to cut down on the amount of light that gets into your home during the day.
If your home has single-pane windows, you may want to consider eventually upgrading to dual-pane ones: they’re far better at slowing the heat transfer process, and can vastly improve your home’s efficiency.
Be proactive when it comes to repairs
As a homeowner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. It’s natural to procrastinate on things that aren’t an immediate problem. Hearing a strange sound coming from your air conditioner? Well, it’s still running, right? You’ll deal with it over the weekend—maybe.
We’re only human. That weekend project quickly gets forgotten about. That strange noise you heard? It was actually a warning sign from your air conditioner. It stops working, and you now need emergency repairs. In delaying, however, you’ve put a lot of additional stress on the system, which is not ideal for its overall lifespan.
Our advice? If you know something’s wrong with your air conditioner, or even just have a gut feeling that something’s not right, call us. If you deal with AC problems right then-and-there, you can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.
Trust our experts
Here’s a final tip: never let anyone but a certified and experienced HVAC technician work on your system. Your AC repairs are too important to be left to your neighbor, Dave, or your cousin, Bob. Your AC unit—and its future longevity—is worth bringing in an expert.
At King, our AC technicians are certified and experienced professionals who know everything there is to know about air conditioners. They’ve worked with and studied every make and model. More than that, they understand air conditioning at a holistic level. When you bring them in for a tune-up or repair, they’ll help you not just with the system itself, but with your thermostat, air ducts, and more.
Need an AC expert here in Chicagoland? We’re on it! Click the button below and fill out the form to schedule service with our team.