How Long Do AC Units Last?

How long your AC lasts depends on a few factors.

A well-maintained air conditioner should last for 10-15 years. If you run your AC all year long, it won’t last as long as one used only during the hot months.

You may be having issues with your current AC unit or wondering how much a replacement air conditioning system will cost. You’ll find that all below and more.

Let’s get started.

How Long Do AC Units Last?

How long your air conditioner lasts depends on its make and model, how old it is, and if you did proper maintenance on your air conditioning system.

For modern air conditioners, you should expect them to last between 15-20 years. Older air conditioning units are expected to last around 10-12 years.

Keep in mind if you live in a hotter, humid climate, then your central air conditioning unit will be working overtime.

This will put wear and tear on your air conditioner compared to more moderate climates where AC is used less.

The best way to extend the life of your air conditioner is by getting it serviced once a year.

When your air conditioner is left dormant during the winter months, clogs can happen in the pipes, and oil inside of your air conditioner can thicken up and cause malfunctions.

Proper maintenance before the summer beings will reduce any chance that your central air conditioner system fails on you.

Preventative action will allow you to avoid expensive repair costs that you would endure during peak season.

Signs Your AC Unit is Failing

1. Air feels warm

If your thermostat is set to cool, but the air feels warm, then it’s likely your AC is having issues operating properly.

The compressor may be faulty or your AC has airflow issues that need to be serviced by a licensed technician.

2. Air feels weak

Just like how your shower can have low pressure, the same can be for your air conditioner.

If you feel that the air is cool but the airflow coming from your air conditioner is weak, you may have a clogged air filter, or your motor is broken.

Something may be clogged inside of the ductwork in your home and will need to be inspected by a professional.

3. Your AC is short cycling

An AC short cycle is when your AC fails to run its full cycle and then starts again.

If your air conditioner is turning itself on and off again in rapid succession, it’ll put unnecessary strain on your central air conditioning system.

You can prevent AC short cycling by getting your AC unit serviced every year.

4. It feels humid inside of your home

Air conditioners naturally dehumidify the air. If you feel high humidity inside of your home no matter what you set your AC to, then it’s likely that it’s failing.

It could be that the outside is unusually high, making it feel humid indoors.

You can check your indoor humidity with a hygrometer or other methods that don’t require any special tools.

5. Your AC Uses R-22 Freon

If your air conditioner uses R-22 Freon, that means that it’s an older model. The USA has banned the production of R22 refrigerants.

You can still use your older air conditioner, but you will not be able to service it should you have an issue with the refrigerant.

6. Energy bills are higher than normal

If you’ve suddenly experienced high energy bills, that’s a sign your air conditioner is stressed.

It’s normal for your energy bills to go up during the summer month with heavy air conditioner usage, but it isn’t normal for your bill to continue increasing in cost each month.

7. Your AC is making strange noises

If your AC is making strange noises when you turn it off or even while it’s running, it may be signaling that it’s struggling to operate and it’s on its last legs.

You can use our guide to troubleshoot the exact sound, but it may be difficult if you aren’t an HVAC technician.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner?

While it is recommended to replace your AC unit every 10 to 15 years, it may save you money if you can repair your current one.

Factor in the shape of your existing air conditioner and how many years it has left.

If it’s already 10 years old and you’re looking at a big repair bill, it would make more sense to purchase a new air conditioning system.

It will save you money in the long run as newer models are energy efficient.

If your AC uses the old R22 refrigerant, servicing your air conditioner is going to be impossible as the refrigerant is impossible to produce since January 1st, 2020.

In this scenario, it’s recommended to replace your air conditioner.

How Much Will a New Air Conditioner Cost?

To install a new central air conditioner, will cost an average of $5664.

Depending on where you live, and the size you require, it likely will fall under the $3810 to $7480 range including installation.

If you are going to install it yourself then a central AC unit ranges from $1200 to $4500 depending on the size.

How to Maintain Your Air Conditioner Long Term

The best way to maintain your AC unit is by cleaning it regularly, scheduling routine maintenance check-ups, and replacing the filter every month.

You can also invest in a programmable thermostat to keep your AC from working 24/7.

Final Thoughts

How long an air conditioner lasts depends on if you’re giving your AC system regular maintenance and how often you use it.

If you’re in a hot and humid climate, your air conditioning system will not last as long as one that’s only being used during the summer months.

You should expect newer units to last around 10-15 years and older air conditioners to last 10-12 years.

If you feel that your central air conditioning system is experiencing problems, then you should hire an HVAC professional to take a look.

If your HVAC system is constantly breaking down, then it’s time to look for a new one rather than continuing to pay for repairs.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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