A new air conditioner is a huge investment. Not only is it expensive, but it’s also a decision you’ll likely live with for over a decade. So how long does an AC typically last? And is there anything you can do to make it last longer?
Average Air Conditioner Lifespan
The average life expectancy of an air conditioner is between 15 and 20 years. Now, if you think about the 20-year estimate, you might nod and think “not bad”. Do keep in mind, however, that to make it last that long you have to provide it with regular maintenance. Some of it requires HVAC assistance, but a lot of it you can do on your own. Read below for tips to make this big expenditure last as long as possible.
5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Air Conditioner
1. Install a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers help your AC work more efficiently. Here’s why: An air conditioner works by absorbing the warm air and moisture from inside your home. If there’s less moisture to take in, your air conditioner will complete cycles more expeditiously.
This is especially important in a climate as humid as Florida’s. During the hotter months of the year, set the humidifier so that it regulates the humidity inside your home to remain at 40%. During the occasional chilly nights we experience in the Sunshine State, set it to 60%.
While installing an additional component is an extra expense, in the long run, you’ll save money on your monthly energy bills.
2. Change the air filters regularly. We can’t say this enough: The easiest AC maintenance practice is to change your air filters. Remember when we mentioned above that air conditioners absorb your home’s moisture? It also takes in all of the dust particles and allergens floating mid-air. These dust motes eventually cover the entire filter. As a result, the condensation from the moisture in the air freezes on the coils. Both the layers of dust on the filters and ice on the coils block airflow. As a result, your AC works harder but won’t cool as efficiently and its lifespan is shortened.
To gain extra time between filter changes, pay attention to their MERV rating. It ranges from 1 to 20. The higher the number, the better the quality of the filter and the less frequently you’ll need to change it.
Keep in mind that the more people living in your home (or if there are any pets, allergy sufferers, or smokers), the more often you need to change the filters.
3. Clean the drain line. All the moisture absorbed from the air inside your home is drained through the AC drain line (also known as the condensate line). Since this enclosed space is constantly wet, it’s fertile ground for mold and mildew to grow. Every month or so, pour a cup of either white vinegar, peroxide, or bleach into the drain line, and let it sit for half an hour. Then flush it with water.
4. Clear debris from around the condenser unit. If you live in a single-family home, the condenser unit is the big square box that is outside your house. Being outside, it’s exposed to the elements and to all the debris in the yard: fallen leaves and branches, dirt, and bugs. All of these items can easily get stuck between fan blades or panel fins. To take care of it, trim bushes and trees close to the condenser unit, wash it regularly and use a condenser fin comb to straighten the fins. Before taking care of this yourself, though, always remember to shut off your AC and turn off the breaker.
5. Have regular maintenance checks by an HVAC professional. While you can handle the tips above yourself, there is no substitute for a certified technician that takes care of your AC system’s routine maintenance. They can foresee potential issues and nip them in the bud before they become a major problem.
3 Signs You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner
Now that you know the lifespan of an air conditioner and how you can help it last as long as possible, how do you know if it’s time to replace the one you have? Well, if it’s somewhere between the 15-20 year age range and you’ve noticed any of the issues listed below, it may be time to replace it:
Unusual sounds. Unusual noises coming from your air conditioner could be due to a myriad of reasons: a faulty part, loose air ducts, blocked airflow, a refrigerant leak, or it’s age. Regardless of the reason, you’ll need a technician to diagnose the problem.
It stinks. There are several reasons for an air conditioner to smell bad: A dead rodent in the air ducts, mildew, stagnant water, or a gas leak. Or it could mean that your AC needs to be updated. To narrow it down, have an HVAC professional inspect your unit.
Higher energy bills. Higher energy bills are usually a sign that an air conditioner is not working efficiently: Dirty air filters, refrigerant leak, or an aging unit could be to blame. If you’re nearing the 15-20 year mark, your filters are clean, and you don’t hear a hissing sound or see frost on the condenser unit (signs of a leak), chances are it’s time to bite the bullet and replace it.
Contact Complete Air Mechanical for New AC Installation
At Complete Air Mechanical, we have experienced HVAC professionals who can inspect your AC and if necessary install a unit that’s right for your home or business. We provide service in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties, and we offer financing options.
Call us at (407) 915-0144 and let us make your home comfortable.