How to Extend the Life of Your AC Unit

Keep doing this, and your air conditioner will be around for a LONG time. You can easily extend its life span for years of extra comfort.

Air conditioners represent a hefty investment for your home that hopefully lasts many years to come (especially if you purchased central AC). It only makes sense that you would want to do everything possible to ensure that your air conditioner lives up to its fullest potential.

So, can you really double the life of your air conditioner? Well, it requires one important rule: Take care of it.  Like any other machine in your house your air conditioner condenser needs regular attention. The air conditioning condenser is the outside portion of your air conditioning unit. it’s job is to release or collect heat, depending up on the time of year. It also needs cleaning. It needs the proper space to live in. Take note of this advice and it will provide you years of additional comfort.

Proper maintenance and usage habits can greatly extend the lifespan of your AC unit. Here are some tips:

  1. Regular Maintenance: This is the most critical factor in prolonging your AC’s lifespan. Schedule regular service appointments with a certified HVAC technician who can thoroughly inspect, clean, and tune up your unit.
  2. Clean or Replace Filters Regularly: Dust and debris in the filter can restrict airflow, making your unit work harder. Check the filter at least once a month and clean or replace it as necessary.
  3. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean: Keep the area around your outdoor unit clear of debris and vegetation. Clean the fins of the outdoor unit regularly to ensure proper airflow.
  4. Use a Programmable Thermostat: Using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when you’re not home can help reduce the workload on your AC unit.
  5. Seal Your Home: Ensure your home is well-sealed and insulated to reduce heat gain. Use weatherstripping on doors and windows, and consider installing energy-efficient windows or window coverings.
  6. Avoid Overworking the Unit: In extremely hot weather, avoid setting your thermostat too low. This can overwork the unit. A setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit is often recommended for energy efficiency.
  7. Regularly Check for Leaks: Leaking refrigerant can decrease your AC’s efficiency and cause it to work harder. If your AC isn’t cooling as well as it should be, reach out to a professional to check and fix any potential AC leaks.
  8. Upgrade Your Insulation: Good insulation helps keep your home’s interior cool in the summer, which reduces the workload on your AC unit.
  9. Install Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans can help circulate cool air throughout your home, reducing the need for your AC to work as hard.
  10. Consider a Maintenance Agreement: Many HVAC companies offer maintenance agreements where they will regularly service your unit and provide priority service for any issues that arise.

Remember, while these strategies can help prolong your AC’s lifespan, all units eventually wear out. If your AC is old and not cooling efficiently, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it with a more energy-efficient model.

Average Life of an Air Conditioner: Outdoor AC Units

The average lifespan of a central air conditioner, which includes the outdoor unit known as the condenser, typically ranges between 10 to 15 years. This can vary based on how often the air conditioner is used, the conditions it operates under, the maintenance it receives, and the quality of the unit itself. Regular maintenance and service can help to extend the life of the unit. High-quality units that are well-maintained can even last up to 20 years or more. However, as an air conditioner ages, its efficiency can decrease, leading to higher energy costs. Therefore, it may be cost-effective to replace an older unit, even if it’s still operational.

Average Life of an Air Conditioner: Window AC Units

Window air conditioning units typically have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years, similar to central air conditioning units. However, this lifespan can depend on various factors including the quality of the unit, the amount of usage it experiences, and how well it is maintained. For example, a window unit that is used heavily and is not well-maintained may only last for about 5 to 7 years. On the other hand, a high-quality unit that is well-maintained and only used seasonally may last for more than 15 years. Regular maintenance such as cleaning or replacing filters and removing dust and debris can help to extend the lifespan of a window air conditioning unit.

Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Operation

Several factors can influence the efficiency and operation of an air conditioner. Here are a few key ones:

  1. Maintenance: Regular cleaning and servicing of an air conditioner can greatly increase its lifespan and efficiency. This includes tasks such as cleaning or replacing filters, cleaning coils, checking for leaks, and ensuring the condensate drain is not clogged.
  2. Usage: How often the air conditioner is used can affect its operation. Constant use without breaks can lead to wear and tear over time. Conversely, sporadic use can also lead to problems, as dormant parts may seize up or degrade.
  3. Installation: The installation process is crucial for an air conditioner’s operation. If the unit is not installed correctly or the sizing is off, it may not cool effectively or may consume more energy than necessary.
  4. Airflow: Proper airflow is necessary for an air conditioner to operate efficiently. Blocked or restricted airflow due to dirty filters or blocked vents can decrease the efficiency of the unit and strain the system, potentially causing damage over time.
  5. Climate: The local climate can have a significant impact on air conditioner operation. For instance, units in hot, humid climates may need to work harder to cool the air and remove moisture, potentially leading to more frequent repairs or shorter lifespan.
  6. Refrigerant Levels: Insufficient refrigerant can cause an air conditioner to work harder than necessary, leading to inefficiency and potential damage to the unit.
  7. Age: As an air conditioner gets older, its components can wear out and it may become less efficient. After a certain point, repairs may become more frequent and more costly, and it may be more cost-effective to replace the unit.
  8. Electrical issues: Problems with the wiring, fuses, or circuit breakers can affect the operation of the air conditioner. Electrical issues can lead to the unit not working at all, working intermittently, or even potential safety hazards like fire.
  9. Thermostat settings: Incorrect thermostat settings can lead to an air conditioner not cooling as expected, cycling on and off too frequently, or other operational issues.
  10. Quality of the unit: The quality and brand of the air conditioner unit can greatly affect its operation. Higher quality units may be more durable and efficient, leading to fewer problems over time.

You may also want to consider scheduling an annual checkup for your air conditioner to ensure peak performance before the heat of summer really kicks in. This DIY air conditioning service repair can help you with any issues you may find.