How Long Do Air Conditioners Last? Tips To Increase Lifespan

Are you wondering how long an air conditioner lasts? Air conditioning units are a major investment, so it’s important to understand how long they should last. 

In this blog post, we will explore the longevity of air conditioners and the factors that can affect their lifespan

We will also look at how you can extend the life of your air conditioner and make sure that you get the most out of your investment. Keep reading to learn more!

How long do different types of air conditioners last?

The average lifespan of an air conditioner can vary depending on the type of system you have and how well it is maintained. Window conditioners typically last between 10 and 15 years, and according to, central air conditioners can last up to 20 years. On the other hand, the lifespan of a portable air conditioner usually ranges from 5 to 8 years.

Factors that affect air conditioner lifespan

There are many different factors that can affect how long your air conditioner lasts. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the various factors that can affect the lifespan of your air conditioner.

#1 Usage

One of the biggest factors that affect an air conditioner’s lifespan is how much it is used. An air conditioner is built to handle a certain amount of use, so if it is consistently running at a higher level than it was designed for, its components may start to wear out more quickly.

To reduce the strain on your unit, try to keep your home cool without using the air conditioner if possible, such as by closing blinds to block out sunlight or using fans. This will not only help your air conditioner last longer, but it will also help you save money on energy costs.

#2 Maintenance

When it comes to the lifespan of your air conditioner, maintenance is key. Maintenance of your air conditioner is a huge factor that can make or break the lifespan of your air conditioner.

Neglecting regular maintenance of your air conditioner can lead to a variety of problems, including:

  • Reduced efficiency
  • Shortened lifespan
  • Increased repair costs
  • Poor indoor air quality

#3 Temperature

The environment in which your air conditioner operates can have a significant impact on its lifespan. Extreme temperatures can put extra strain on an air conditioner, as it has to work harder to cool space in higher temperatures. This can reduce efficiency and shorten the lifetime. This can also cause components to overheat and eventually fail.

On the other hand, running your air conditioner in extremely low temperatures can cause your air conditioner to freeze. The evaporator coil can get too cold, causing the coils to ice up and the air conditioner to stop working.

#4 Humidity level

Humidity plays an important role in the lifespan of your air conditioner. High humidity levels can also be challenging for air conditioners. This can make your AC work harder and make it more likely to fail faster. This can also cause condensation to form on the coils, which can cause the system to freeze up and break down.

#5 The quality of your AC

The quality of your air conditioning system is a significant determinant of the longevity of your air conditioner. Incurring a higher cost initially by purchasing a premium-quality unit can ultimately save you a lot of money in the long run. High-quality air conditioners are more durable and reliable, so they last longer than cheaper models.

#6 The location of your AC

This factor does not affect it significantly. But if your AC is located too close to walls or other obstructions, it may be difficult for air to flow properly, resulting in reduced efficiency and a shorter lifespan of your AC.

How to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner

Here, we are sharing some tips to help you extend the life of your air conditioner and make sure that it runs smoothly all summer long.

1) Schedule an annual tune-up

How to Maintain an Air Conditioner

To get the most out of your air conditioning unit, it’s important to schedule a tune-up at least once a year. During tune-up or maintenance, a certified technician can identify any potential problems and make sure that your system is running efficiently. They can also advise you on how to get the most out of your AC and extend its life.

Maintenance usually includes checking things like the refrigerant level, blower motor, fan belt, condenser coil, and electrical connections. Your technician will be able to spot any potential problems before they become bigger problems. They’ll also be able to tell you if it’s time to replace some components or if any safety issues need to be addressed.

It’s a smart investment that can help you avoid costly repairs down the road. So be sure to keep up with your annual tune-up and your AC will serve you well for many years to come!

2) Changing the air filter regularly

Changing the air filter regularly

Maintaining a clean air filter is essential to keeping your air conditioner running efficiently and effectively. A dirty air filter restricts air flow, making it difficult for your air conditioner to properly cool your home. This causes your air conditioner to work harder, resulting in higher electricity bills. You should change your air filters regularly to keep your AC running optimally.

It is recommended that you change your air filter at least once every three months. If you have pets or allergies, you should check your filter more often and replace it as needed. You can find the correct size of filter for your AC unit by checking the owner’s manual or consulting a professional.

When you are ready to replace the filter:

  1. Turn off the power to your AC unit
  2. Remove the old filter
  3. Clean the area around the filter slot
  4. Insert the new filter
  5. Press the filter firmly into place so it is snug and secure
  6. Then turn the power back on and your AC should be ready to go

3) Use a programmable thermostat to optimize usage

One of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner is to use a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day and days of the week, so you can make sure your home is comfortable when you’re home and comfortable when you’re away and be energy efficient. This helps your air conditioner run more efficiently as it will not work as hard to maintain the desired temperature.

In addition to optimizing usage, using a programmable thermostat can also help reduce energy costs. By programming your thermostat to run at a cooler temperature when you’re away from home and a warmer temperature when you’re there, you can save money on your cooling costs. 

4) Maintain a clear space around your air conditioner unit

It is important to have a clear space around your air conditioner unit. Not only does this ensure that the AC runs more efficiently, but it also reduces the risk of damage to the unit from debris or other objects in the area. 

You should make sure that there is at least two feet of clearance on all sides of your unit. Additionally, any shrubs, bushes, or foliage should be trimmed away from the air conditioner to allow air to flow freely through the vents.

It is also recommended to keep any furniture or other items at least three feet away from the unit to prevent accidental damage.

5) Seal your ducts

Leaky ducts can cause your air conditioner to work harder than necessary, which can ultimately shorten its lifespan. It is important to periodically check your ducts for any leaks or holes. If you locate any, seal them with mastic sealant or steel tape.

You should be sure to inspect the seams of your ducts to make sure they are properly sealed. Sealing the ducts will help maximize the efficiency of your air conditioning system and contribute to extending its lifespan.

6) Consider a whole-house humidifier

Humidity can have a significant impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of your air conditioner. When air is too dry, it can build up static electricity, making it difficult for your air conditioner to cool the air effectively. Installing a whole-home humidifier can help maintain the proper balance of humidity in your home, allowing your air conditioner to run more efficiently and extending its lifespan.

7) Keep the unit clean

Dust, dirt and debris can clog your system, causing decreased performance and shortening the life of your unit. To keep your system running smoothly, it is important to regularly clean the exterior and interior of the unit. 

It is best to use a damp cloth or brush rather than a hose or pressure washer to clean the unit. This will help you avoid any possible water damage to the delicate components inside the unit. Also, be sure to remove any leaves or debris from around the outdoor unit, as this can clog the fan blades or other parts of the system. 

When to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Are you wondering when to replace your air conditioner? With the amount of money you’ve invested in keeping your AC unit running, it’s understandable that you don’t want to replace it unless it’s necessary. 

Knowing the signs that it may be time to replace your air conditioner can save you money and ensure that your home stays cool and comfortable during the summer months. Here, we will discuss 8 major signs that it is time to replace your air conditioner.

1) The unit requires frequent repairs

If your air conditioner is in need of frequent repairs, it’s time to consider replacing it. Even if the cost of repair is relatively low, the problem is likely to recur and more money will be needed in the future. The money you save on repairs can be used for a newer, more efficient system. 

In addition, frequent repairs may indicate a larger problem with your systems, such as an old compressor or refrigerant leak. A licensed technician can assess the problem and advise you on whether it’s worth repairing or replacing.

2) The unit is not cooling as effectively as it used to

If you notice that your air conditioner is not cooling as effectively as before, it may be a sign that it is time to replace your unit with a new one. The first step in determining whether this is the case is to have a professional check it out. 

They can inspect the unit and determine if there are any problems that can be repaired or if replacement is necessary. 

If it is determined that the unit needs to be replaced, some common problems that can cause low cooling include:

  • Worn fan motors
  • Malfunctioning thermostat
  • Malfunctioning compressor
  • Low refrigerant levels
  • Clogged filters and ducts.

3) There’s water leakage


If you notice that water is still leaking from your air conditioner after you’ve fixed it, it may be a sign that it’s time to replace it. Water leakage can be caused by a variety of issues, including: 

  • Clogged Condensate Drain
  • Refrigerant Leak
  • Faulty evaporator coil
  • Clogged air filter
  • Frozen evaporator coil

This also happens when the AC is no longer in good condition, it can no longer hold the components inside tightly together, allowing water to seep out, and if left unchecked, can cause serious damage to your home.

4) The unit makes strange noises

air conditioner making strange noises

If your air conditioner is making strange noises like:

  • Rattling
  • Buzzing 
  • Grinding
  • Hissing
  • Squaling

It could be a sign that it’s time to replace the unit.These noises can be caused by loose parts, worn bearings, debris stuck in the air conditioner or other mechanical problems. 

In some cases, the problem can be corrected with repair, but in other cases, replacing the entire unit may be more cost-effective. If the noise persists after several repairs, it may be time to start shopping for a new air conditioner.

5) The unit is not turning on

If your air conditioner is not turning on at all, it could be a sign that you need to replace your air conditioner. An air conditioner that won’t turn on is a common sign of an older unit that has reached the end of its life. Before you decide to replace the unit, you should have a professional inspect it for any electrical issues. 

It could also be a simple problem like a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If this is the case, you can simply reset the breaker or replace the fuse and try restarting the unit. If the unit still does not turn on, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer model.

6) Higher energy bills

This is one of the most common issue these days. If your energy bills keep rising despite no change in usage, it may be time to consider replacing your air conditioner. Over time, air conditioners become less efficient and require more energy to run. It is not uncommon for older air conditioners to use up to 20% more energy than newer ones.

If you’re noticing a jump in your energy bills for no obvious reason, it may be time to consider replacing your air conditioner. Additionally, upgrading to an energy-efficient air conditioner can help save you money on your energy bills in the long run.

7) The unit is more than 15 years old

Like humans, air conditioners can experience a decline in performance as they age. When your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, it is likely to be less efficient and may not be able to keep up with your home’s cooling demands. This can result in more expensive energy bills as well as not provide your desired level of cooling comfort. 

If it’s more than 15 years old, it becomes harder to obtain parts for repairs, and it may not be worth spending the money on repairs for an older unit when a newer one will provide better energy efficiency and cooling performance.

FAQ: Lifespan of Air Conditioner

Here we answer some frequently asked questions about how long air conditioners last.

Q1. How long do a window air conditioner last?

Ans: Window air conditioners typically last between 10 and 15 years, depending on use and maintenance. For those looking for a more reliable model, higher-end units can have a lifespan of 20 years or more. That said, the life expectancy of your window air conditioner will depend largely on how well you maintain and care for it.

Q2. How long do portable air conditioners last?

Ans: Portable air conditioners usually last for 5 to 8 years, it depends on the quality and regular maintenance of your portable air conditioner.

Q3. Is it best to replace the air conditioner after 10 years?

Ans: When it comes to air conditioners, the average life span is around 10-15 years. This varies slightly depending on the type and quality of the unit, but a decade is a good rule of thumb. After this point, your AC unit may begin to experience significant degradation and become less efficient, more unreliable, and may cost you more in repairs than it’s worth. 

While repairing an AC unit may be a more cost-effective solution in the short term, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it’s probably time to invest in a newer, energy-efficient model. Over time, these newer units are more reliable and often more cost-effective in the long run.

Q4. How long does an air conditioner condenser last?

Ans: An air conditioning unit’s condenser is a critical component and can be expected to last anywhere from 8-12 years. The condenser is the part of the unit that absorbs heat from the air inside your home and then expels it outside. It is also responsible for creating cool air that circulates throughout your home.

Q5. How long does the air conditioner compressor last?

Ans: The compressor is the heart of any air conditioner, and it is responsible for pumping the refrigerant throughout the system. A good quality compressor can last up to 10 years with proper maintenance and care. However, due to different environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, dirt, dust and debris, the life expectancy of the air conditioner compressor can be reduced or increased if you maintain the compressor properly.

Wrap Up: How long do air conditioners last?

It is important to take good care of your air conditioner to ensure that it continues to run efficiently and last as long as possible, regardless of its performance. Proper maintenance including regular tune-ups and cleanings is essential to keep an air conditioner running smoothly. And in my opinion, the most effective recommendation for extending the lifespan of an air conditioner is to consistently perform regular maintenance.

Many factors can affect the lifespan of an air conditioner, including the quality of the unit, frequency of use, and environmental conditions. If you notice a problem with your air conditioners, such as low cooling or high energy usage, it’s a good idea to have a professional assess the problem and determine the best course of action. 

If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old (depending on the type of air conditioner you have) and you’ve noticed a decline in its performance, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer model.

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David Jack

David Jack

David Jack is a veteran when it comes to air conditioners, he love helping people find solutions to their problems with AC units. His specialty is helping people find the right Air-Conditioner for their needs, whether that means replacing a broken unit or adding on to an existing system. He is also great at diagnosing problems and fixing them quickly. He learned this from my father Jack Smith who was an air conditioner repairer, he has 2 years of experience in this field.

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