With the winter finally behind us and warm weather approaching, homeowners across the country are looking nervously at their aging air conditioner units and wondering if it will make it through another season or will they be left suffocating in the heat and humidity at the height of summer as they wait for the repairman to give them the bad news — it’s time to replace your HVAC unit.

In order to help you avoid this unpleasant situation and prepare for the inevitability of replacing your air conditioner, we’ll look at how long should an air conditioner last and what you can do to maximize the lifespan of your unit.

How long does a central air conditioner last?

Under normal conditions, experts say a central AC unit should last between 15 – 20 years. That’s under normal conditions — but there are several factors that can adversely affect the life expectancy of your unit, shortening it by as much as half.

  • Maintenance
    Like most things in life, air conditioners need a bit of loving care and attention if they are to perform optimally. If you haven’t been doing the things you should, like regularly cleaning your filters, or having a yearly maintenance check of your system, you might suddenly find yourself in the unenviable situation of having to choose between costly repairs or an even more costly system replacement.
  • System Quality
    Quality counts and a system that is made by a manufacturer with a reputation for reliability is worth the investment. If you have an aging system, check the maker’s name. If it’s a good brand and the system hasn’t yet developed any problems, it’ll probably last a few years more (with regular maintenance). If you are purchasing a new system, do your research and choose a make and model with a proven track record.
  • System Installation
    If your central air conditioning system was not installed properly, to begin with, it will place an added strain on it, causing malfunctions and breakdowns. Only hire reputable companies for HVAC installation and maintenance work.
  • System Sizing
    It is very important that the system is the right size for space it is intended to cool. If its capacity is too large or too small, the system will not function efficiently, leading to breakdowns and a shortened lifespan. Many homeowners have been forced to replace their system prematurely due to miscalculations of size.
  • Operating Conditions
    The more a system is used, the shorter its lifespan will be. If you constantly run the air conditioning or live in an area of high air pollution, this will knock years off the life expectancy of your unit.

Central air conditioner maintenance

All these factors and more will affect how long your system lasts, so keep them in mind when deciding to repair or replace your system. A good rule of the thumb in this situation is — if the system is over 10 years old, and repairs are more than a quarter of the cost of a replacement system, replacement might be the road to go.

And if you still need help deciding what to do, contact us here at Chills Air Conditioning and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you expert advice on your options. We hope this blog was useful and thank you for reading.