When temperatures start to heat up, the air conditioning unit becomes of the most important appliances in your home. A well-maintained AC unit can help keep your home’s indoor temps under control, while also reducing the amount of humidity and dust in your air.
But even the best air conditioning units aren’t built to last forever. Whether you’re replacing an old unit or buying the first one for your home, most people’s first question is, “How long do AC units last?” When you’re purchasing a major appliance, you want to know exactly what you can expect from that equipment, including its estimated lifespan. Read on to learn what is the average life for an AC unit, along with other answers to your pressing HVAC questions.
How long do AC units last?
The average life of an AC unit is typically between 10 and 15 years. If your home has an HVAC system, your AC unit can often last even longer because the furnace filter and improved ventilation reduce dust build-up in your unit.
No matter what the advertised life expectancy of your AC unit may be, maintenance has a big impact on this lifespan. Regular AC unit cleanings and tune-ups can reduce the buildup of dust and debris and keep the appliance in excellent working condition. If you neglect this appliance, though, it could wear down quickly, resulting in additional repairs and a lower life expectancy.
What are the signs that it’s time to replace my AC unit?
Your air conditioning unit may not break down all at once. In many cases, figuring out when to replace an AC unit depends on the appliance’s recent performance as well as the extent of repairs it may require.
The most common signs include the following:
- Your AC unit can’t keep up with your home’s cooling needs. When temperatures soar, is your unit able to keep indoor temps at your desired level? If the unit is running all day but the indoor temperature continues to rise, it’s a sign that something is wrong with your AC unit.
- Your air smells when the AC unit is running. A clogged condensate drain in your AC unit can cause a buildup of mold inside the appliance. If this lack of drainage becomes severe, it can require repairs to your AC coils or other parts. Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent drainage blocks that lead to bad odors.
- The dust in your home seems to be increasing. In some cases, dust accumulation is a sign that the AC unit’s air filter needs to be replaced. But dust can also indicate more serious problems, such as leaks in your ducts and dust accumulation in the AC unit itself—all of which jeopardize the health of your appliance.
- Your energy bills in the summer are higher than normal. Cooling costs obviously go up during hot weather. But if your monthly bills are reaching new levels, it could be a sign that your air conditioner’s performance is lagging—even if there aren’t obvious signs that the unit is breaking down.
If any of these symptoms develop, don’t ignore the problem. Troubleshoot your AC unit, or contact an HVAC technician who can inspect your appliance.
Tips to Care For Your AC Unit
If you’re curious about what is the average life of an AC unit, then you’re probably interested in tips to extend this lifespan and get even more value out of this major home appliance.
- Change your AC unit filter every 30 to 90 days. The same rule applies if you have an HVAC system. Check the filter periodically and replace it whenever dust is visible on the filter.
- Check your cooling coils every year. If clogged with debris, clean these coils to improve their cooling power.
- Push a wire through your air conditioner’s condensate drain to remove minor or major clogs. This prevents water buildup that can lead to serious damage.
- Hire a professional to conduct an annual tune-up. HVAC professionals can provide a thorough inspection, top of refrigerant levels, and provide routine maintenance that extends the life of your AC unit.
As an AC unit owner, your maintenance and care play a significant role in determining the overall lifespan of your appliance. Be diligent in replacing filters and doing other basic maintenance tasks, and you’ll save yourself from future headaches when your AC unit starts to suffer from unnecessary wear and tear.