Air conditioning systems keep improving with each generation, but not even the best can last forever. It would be very convenient if all ACs had one specific expiration date, but this isn’t the case. However, you can expect your AC to last for around 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced, but this is just an average estimate. The lifespan of an air conditioner depends on its model, usage, and location. Air conditioners in a sunny, hot climate, for instance, will need to be replaced more frequently than those in temperate regions. When purchasing an air conditioning unit, the warranty is the best indicator of how long it will last before needing replacement.
While it’s somewhat difficult to gauge just how long an air conditioner will last, there are a few things you can do and be on the lookout for that may indicate it’s time to get a new unit. Air conditioning systems nearing the end of their lifespan will malfunction more frequently and use more energy than is necessary. Regular upkeep and other methods can increase your AC unit’s lifespan. Nevertheless, you should always remember that even the greatest HVAC systems that have been properly maintained will ultimately fail. It’s important to understand the factors that influence an AC’s longevity so that you can properly maintain yours and prepare for its replacement.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
Perhaps the biggest factor that influences an AC unit’s lifespan is how often it’s maintained. While some homeowners neglect AC maintenance in order to save a bit of cash, the truth is that doing so will ultimately cost more money in the long run. An unmaintained air conditioner will have to work harder than necessary to produce the same amount of cooling. In addition to driving up your energy bills, this will also put excess strain on internal components. Increased wear and tear can lead to premature breakdowns and untimely system replacements.
At Dring Air Conditioning & Heating, we provide AC maintenance for clients in Carrollton and the surrounding area. During a maintenance visit, our experienced technicians complete a comprehensive tune-up that includes cleaning, tightening, and lubricating internal components. We also inspect wiring, belts, and other parts that can wear down with age. Other tasks include changing air filters and inspecting ductwork to ensure that it is free of cracks, leaks, and debris buildup. Maintenance visits also give us a chance to provide quick fixes for minor problems that may become major issues in the future. With a properly maintained AC, you can enjoy efficient cooling and get the most life out of your unit.
Our team recommends at least yearly maintenance, but biannual maintenance is ideal. In addition, it’s important for you to keep up with regular filter changes in between maintenance visits. You should change your filters every 90 days or more often if you have pets or family members with allergies.
Size of Your AC
A lot of the factors that determine how long your air conditioner lasts are directly related to the size and power of your air conditioner. Obviously, a bigger unit can cool a larger space, but this also means that it will have to run more often, use more electricity, and generally be more vulnerable to wear and tear. The other side of this coin is that a smaller unit will cool a smaller space, but it may last longer because it doesn’t have to work as hard, and its parts will not wear out as quickly.
It’s also important to have an appropriately sized AC for the space you are trying to cool. Generally, an HVAC system that is larger than required will have a shorter lifespan. When a system is too big for a space, it will short-cycle, which means it turns on and off frequently because cooling demands are met very quickly. Continually turning on and off increases wear and tear on the system. On the other hand, an AC system that is too small for the space will run for a long time to cool a room. This also results in increased wear and tear and premature system failure.
Thermostat Setting and Placement
The thermostat setting is probably the most important factor in determining how long your air conditioner lasts. The thermostat can be thought of as the brain of your AC system, and it controls when and for how long the system runs. To reduce wear on your AC, it is important to use your thermostat settings to your advantage. In general, it is best to set the thermostat to as high a temperature as possible while still being able to stay comfortable. Using a lower fan speed, if possible, is also a good idea. The optimal temperature for a given unit depends on room size, efficiency rating, and location. The ideal temperature may differ in each room and will most likely vary with the time of year.
The placement of your thermostat can also affect your AC life. When installing a thermostat, it should be in an area of the home that reflects the temperature of your living spaces. For instance, you wouldn’t want to place a thermostat in a hallway in an unused area of the home that is hotter or cooler than the rest of your property. Also, it’s important to never install a thermostat in a spot that gets direct sunlight because doing so can lead to inaccurate temperature readings.
Air Conditioner Usage Patterns
The usage patterns for an air conditioner may also affect its life expectancy. Even if you set your AC at the optimum temperature, it will wear out faster if it is on more often, especially when running on higher settings.
You can do a few things to reduce the wear and tear on your air conditioner. One option would be to use a programmable thermostat that is set to automatically turn the air conditioner on during the times you’re home and off when you are away. You can program these thermostats for different times of the day and different days of the week to match changing schedules. There are also smart thermostats available that can learn your usage patterns and lifestyle and make automatic adjustments to your cooling. In addition to helping you save money on your energy use, these thermostats will help extend the life of your AC.
Air Conditioner Installation
Another factor that may increase the life expectancy of your air conditioner is how it was installed. One way to maximize your unit’s life is to ensure that it is installed properly, including mounting on a firm and level surface. Some models may come with adjustable legs for just this purpose.
Air Conditioners that are not level may vibrate excessively or even fall over, causing significant damage. Another critical factor in installation is proper ventilation, especially in larger units. Without proper ventilation, an air conditioner will overheat and wear out sooner than expected. The other major problem with improper venting is carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be deadly if left uncorrected. At Dring Air Conditioning & Heating, we can correctly install your AC and help you get a unit that is the perfect size for your home and cooling needs.
Exposure to the Elements
If you are in an area that gets very hot for a long time, your air conditioner will degrade faster. When the temperature is high, more condensation will form on the coils. This can lead to mold, corrosion, and other problems that can cause the compressor to fail prematurely. If you live in an area with extreme heat and low humidity, consider purchasing a unit with a higher SEER rating.
Other external factors can influence your AC’s life. For instance, those who live near the coast can be affected by salty sea air, which can also damage the condensing coil on the outdoor unit. Debris such as leaves, pine needles, and even trash can get into the system as well. To keep things operating, be sure to check your outdoor unit and clean any debris that it collects. You also want to cut back bushes and shrubs so that they are at least 3 feet away from the outdoor unit to improve airflow and prevent debris from getting into the unit.
Your AC Experts
At Dring Air Conditioning & Heating, we have been serving the area since 1953. Our team provides a full range of AC services, and we can work on your heating system as well. Carrollton residents can also turn to us for indoor air quality solutions and duct installation services. Contact us today to set up an appointment.