How Long Does an AC Unit Last?

Even with advancing technology and longer-lasting air conditioning units, they still are not made to last forever.  At some point, an AC unit will need to be repaired or even replaced.  But about how long will your air conditioning unit last before you must invest in a new one?

Old AC Unit

Wear and Tear on an AC Unit

While it would be nice to know just how long our air conditioner will last, it just isn’t possible to know an exact timeframe.  The more an air conditioner is used in the summer, the more wear and tear the unit will sustain, and the sooner it will need to be replaced.  A large unit might also “short-cycle” or turn on and off rapidly causing wear and tear on the unit’s compressor, the most costly part of an air conditioning unit. Maintenance is an important part of having a longer-lasting AC unit.  Homeowners that keep up with yearly maintenance on an air conditioner will see their unit outlast those that haven’t undergone any maintenance over the years.

Simply put, if you take care of your unit, it will need fewer AC repairs and will last longer.  Homeowners should call a professional to service an air conditioner annually.  Technicians will do a comprehensive check, looking at each part to see what is working great and what might need AC repairs.  While a unit can last an average of 12-17 years, be sure to listen to the air conditioner.  Is it grinding, whining, or rattling?  Is your home not cooling down like it used to?  If yes, it might be time to contact an AC repair technician.

Signs Your Unit Might Need to Be Replaced

Age is the most common sign that your air conditioner may need replacing.  Any unit over ten years old could need to be replaced in the next few years.  Often times, investing in a new unit is more cost-effective than putting money into repairs for a 10-15-year-old air conditioner.  If you are unsure of your unit’s age, call the manufacturer and give them your model and serial number.  They can provide you with the exact age of your AC unit.  Another sign your air conditioner might need to be replaced soon is the humidity level in your home.  The evaporator coil is responsible for extracting humidity from the air, and if you notice more humidity in the air, then it might not be doing its job.  This can be a sign that your unit is beginning to malfunction.  While AC repairs may be the answer, it might also be time to look into investing in a new air conditioning unit.

Cost of Older Units

Some homeowners are interested in replacing their older units to increase energy efficiency.  As units age, their Seasonal Energy Efficiency, or SEER numbers, decrease.  Each increment lost is about nine percent of lost energy.  With newer and more efficient units readily available, most would rather spend more money upfront on an energy-efficient unit and save on the cost of AC repair bills in the long run.  Whether you are looking to make AC repairs on an existing unit or replace an older unit, a professional technician is ready to help you.