Investing in an AC unit for your home is a long-term decision. With proper and regular maintenance, these machines are designed to last around ten years on average. However, depending on factors such as maintenance frequency, unit quality, manufacturer, and operating conditions, AC units can even extend their lifespan to a remarkable 15 to 20 years.

This means that you, as a homeowner, have the power to significantly influence the lifespan of your AC unit through regular maintenance and other informed decisions.

Yet, it’s important to note that certain parts of an AC, such as the compressor, aren’t meant to last that long, especially if the unit isn’t properly maintained. In some instances, replacing the compressor can be a good move, while replacing the entire AC unit is a cost-effective solution in others.

Understanding your specific circumstances is crucial when it comes to the lifespan of your AC unit. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with an AC repair service provider. They can assess if it’s time for a new AC unit or if a repair might suffice. A professional HVAC technician can also provide you with maintenance and other valuable tips and services, giving you the confidence that you’re making the right decisions to prolong the life of your AC unit.

Factors that Decrease AC Unit Lifespan

Regardless of what type of AC unit you have or wish to acquire, most of the same factors will influence its lifespan. Here are some of the most important factors that will affect your AC unit’s lifespan:

Lack of Regular Maintenance

Maintenance is among the most determining factors concerning an AC unit’s lifespan. As a homeowner, you must perform regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning or replacing the air filters and ensuring proper airflow.

Cleaning the coils and checking the refrigerant levels is also essential. However, even if your AC is in good working condition, providing maintenance, servicing it for a tune-up, and subjecting it to an annual inspection are among the best ways to ensure its lifespan and peak operational efficiency.

A lack of regular AC maintenance will result in decreased efficiency, increased wear and tear, and a shorter lifespan.

Improper Installation

Although ACs are meant to last for many years, if they aren’t installed correctly, the machines will have a significantly shortened lifespan. Some common poor installation practices that will negatively affect your AC lifespan include:

  • Incorrect sizing
  • Improper ductwork or refrigerant charging

Improper installation practices will make your AC unit work harder to function at standard levels. When this occurs, it will lead to premature wear and tear that can cut off even years from your AC’s standard lifespan. Ensure your AC is installed by a professional with proper qualifications and experience.

Dirty Coils and Filters

Everything that will make your AC work harder than it should will reduce its lifespan. Throughout usage, your AC will accumulate dust, dirt, and debris on its evaporator and condenser coils, and air filters.

This will lead to clogged filters, restricted airflow, reduced efficiency, and put a strain on your AC, which will reduce its lifespan. Because of this, you should replace your air filters every three months or so, depending on what filters you use, where you are located, and whether you have pets in your home.

Clean your AC monthly and subject it to professional maintenance twice yearly for the best results. Keep in mind the recommendations of your HVAC provider, as the frequency may differ depending on your unique circumstances.

Refrigerant Leaks

Whenever you encounter a refrigerant leak, you should immediately contact an AC service provider to repair the issue. Decreased cooling performance from refrigerant leaks can significantly damage your AC’s compressor.

The compressor is a critical component of your AC and isn’t the only one that can be affected by a refrigerant leak. Immediately address AC refrigerant leaks to as it will decrease your unit’s lifespan if left unaddressed.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues with your AC are among the worst issues you can face as a homeowner because they will also decrease its lifespan. Faulty wiring, capacitor issues, relay issues, or other electrical problems can stain your AC and even lead to premature system failure. Address these issues as soon as possible.

Overworking or Overloading

It’s hard not to rely on your AC in Nevada during the hot summer months. Yet, keep in mind that running your AC continuously at low temperatures or setting the thermostat too low can overwork the unit. Also, overloading the unit to cool spaces beyond its capacity will cause excessive wear and tear, reducing your AC’s lifespan.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors play a crucial role in the lifespan of most electronics and home appliances, including your AC unit. Among the most detrimental environmental factors that can negatively affect your AC lifespan include:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Corrosive environments
  • High humidity
  • Heavy pollution

It’s essential to consult an AC technician to understand exactly how to take care of your AC unit, depending on where you live and the climate you are most exposed to.

Lack of Airflow and Ventilation

You play a crucial role in your AC’s lifespan. If you don’t regularly take care of your AC by regularly inspecting, cleaning, and replacing your air filters, it might develop some airflow and ventilation issues.

Blocked vents, closed registers, or obstructed ducts will make the AC work harder than it should. This increased strain might not be felt immediately, but it will decrease your AC’s lifespan in time.

Infrequent Usage

Although you shouldn’t overwork or overload your AC, infrequent usage can be just as bad for its lifespan. When an AC remains inactive for long periods, it can accumulate dust and debris even on its critical components.

If you start up your AC again after the winter months, you might encounter some issues. Do some maintenance beforehand or service it before putting it back in use.

Consult with a professional HVAC technician for regular inspections and maintenance to address potential issues before they cause problems and always ensure that your AC has proper airflow and ventilation to maximize its lifespan to avoid costly repairs or premature replacements.


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