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How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

If your air conditioner has been around for many summers, it’s common to question if the system will be able to make it through the upcoming cooling season. Think back to your ac unit’s performance last summer – and you might start wondering how long do air conditioners last? Douglas Cooling & Heating shares the average lifespan for different types of cooling systems and what you can do to help the air conditioner last longer.

How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

There are no expiration dates for HVAC systems, so predicting just how long ac units typically last is not an exact science. However, we can get a good idea of what to expect in terms of air conditioner lifespan by looking at the average service life of this equipment.

  • On average, a central air conditioner lasts 10-15 years.
  • Heat pumps typically last 10-12 years.
  • Window air conditioning units average about 10 years of service.
  • A portable air conditioning unit generally runs for 5-10 years.

Many variables affect the life of an air conditioner. The climate conditions in Birmingham play a role, as do your usage habits and temperature preferences. The quality of the air conditioner can impact the number of years it will run, as does the level of maintenance it receives over those years.

Tips to Extend Air Conditioner Service Life

While 10 years might seem like a long time for an HVAC system to last, considering the amount of work they do each year, you can probably understand why they won’t last forever. While no air conditioner will run indefinitely, there are plenty of things you can do to minimize system problems and extend air conditioners’ life expectancy.

1. Practice Regular Maintenance

Your air conditioning system requires maintenance to help it run properly and avoid wear and tear. Establish a proper maintenance routine for your home’s ac unit which includes a combination of DIY and HVAC professional services.

  • Central air conditioners require one maintenance tune up annually; heat pump systems should receive two tune ups each year due to their use as heating systems in the winter.
  • Your air filter should be changed on a regular basis. Your air filter needs to be changed on a regular basis to help keep you extend the life span of your ac unit. The manufacturer will recommend how often the filter should be changed, but we recommend you check it once per month and assess its condition yourself. Pets, air conditioning use, indoor air quality, smoking indoors, and other factors can decrease the service life of your air filter. Replace your air filters when they are dirty or you notice issues with your ac system performance.
  • Keep outdoor condensing units and heat pumps clear of debris. Clean up around the outdoor unit after doing outdoor chores like mowing the lawn to keep maintain proper airflow. Be sure to remove any matter stuck against the unit’s fins, and weed around the base so vegetation doesn’t grow up to block the fins, too. Don’t store things up against the unit – leave a minimum of 24 inches clear on all sides.

A good maintenance routine will help prevent wear and tear as well as system breakdowns. If your air conditioner is well maintained over the years, it’s possible you’ll enjoy more than a decade of service from the unit, well beyond the average age of an ac unit.

2. Limit System Usage

We’re not suggesting you suffer discomfort throughout the hot months to get more time from your cooling system, but adjusting your habits can alleviate the air conditioner’s burden without making sacrifices.

  • Adjust your thermostat settings to as high as you can tolerate. This will reduce the amount of time your air conditioner runs. This will lower the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures so the unit has less work to do.
  • When outdoor temperatures are mild, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows instead. Just be sure to close the windows before you start up the air conditioner again.
  • Use fans to cool occupied rooms and reduce air conditioning usage. You can keep comfortable even when raising the thermostat temperature a few degrees. Turn fans off when people leave the area to avoid energy waste.

3. Make Prompt Repairs

If your existing system starts to struggle or your home doesn’t feel as comfortable, don’t ignore these signs as there could be something wrong with your air conditioner. Have a professional cooling repair technician inspect your entire system and call for HVAC repairs as soon as they happen instead of waiting for your air conditioner to reach the end of its life. This will resolve any issues quickly and limit the amount of damage that can be done to the system by the faulty part or malfunction. Prompt repairs can keep energy bills low, and your HVAC equipment running efficiently.

Air Conditioner Services in Birmingham

Douglas Cooling & Heating can help you get the most out of your cooling equipment! If you’re worried that your air conditioner will not last through the summer, talk to us about new air conditioner installation services. Contact us to schedule service for your air conditioner, and our team can let you know how much longer you can expect out of your air conditioner.

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