How Long Do Air Conditioners Last? | Uncovering the Facts

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

A comfortable home environment has become a necessity for many of us, especially as the summer months roll in.

Air conditioners are an invaluable tool that helps to keep our homes cool and pleasant throughout the hot season. However, it is important to understand how long air conditioners last so that one can make an informed purchase decision and ensure proper maintenance.

How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

Air conditioners are a significant investment for any homeowner, and it is important to know how long they typically last. The lifespan of an air conditioner can vary depending on several factors, such as usage, maintenance, and the quality of the unit.

On average, air conditioners can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, some units can last up to 20 years. It is important to note that older units may be less efficient than newer models, leading to higher energy bills and a decrease in cooling performance.

Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Lifespan  

1. Quality of the Unit

Among the many factors influencing an air conditioner’s lifespan, quality is perhaps one of the most important.

The higher the quality and brand reputation of a unit, the longer its expected life will be.

Additionally, branded air conditioners come with warranties that can extend the life of the unit even further.

2. Usage

How frequently an AC is used also plays a role in how long it will last. If the unit is employed for long hours during peak season, its lifespan may be reduced due to excessive strain on its components. On the contrary, use of the unit can result in a longer life.

3. Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your air conditioner running efficiently and for an extended period.

This includes regular cleaning and filter changes, inspecting the condenser coils and fans regularly, checking coolant levels, and so on.

Failure to do this can result in the unit failing prematurely.

4. Climate

Excessive heat and humidity can both contribute to a shorter life for an air conditioner. It is important that the unit is installed in an area which gets adequate shade, while also having proper ventilation to keep it free of dirt and dust particles.

5. Installation

Proper installation is essential for the longevity of an air conditioner. Installing the unit in an area with inadequate space or ventilation can significantly reduce its expected life.

It is important to ensure that the installation process is done correctly by professionals who have experience and expertise in this field.

Signs That Your Air Conditioner Needs Replacement

air conditioner temperature

One of the first signs that your air conditioner may need to be replaced is when it starts making strange noises. If you hear sounds such as rattling, buzzing, or humming coming from the unit, it could indicate a problem with its internal components.

Another sign to watch out for is an increase in energy bills. An inefficient AC unit can cause your bills to rise significantly.

If the air conditioner doesn’t cool your home as well as it used to, or if it takes longer than usual for cooling, then this could also be a sign that you need a replacement.

You should also check for leaks around the AC unit regularly and look out for signs of water damage. If your unit is more than 10-15 years old, then it may be time to start looking for a new air conditioner.

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Air Conditioner  

1. Changing Filters Regularly

It is important to change the air filters in your air conditioner every few months, as they can become clogged with dust and other particles over time.

Clogged filters can cause your AC unit to run inefficiently, reduce its lifespan, and even adversely affect your indoor air quality.

2. Annual Maintenance Checkup

It is advisable to get a professional maintenance checkup for your air conditioner at least once a year.

A qualified technician can inspect the unit, identify any potential problems, and take steps to ensure that it is functioning correctly and efficiently.

This can help increase the life expectancy of your AC unit and prevent any expensive repairs down the line.

3. Proper Installation

Ensuring that your air conditioner is installed correctly is essential for its longevity and efficiency.

A professional technician should be able to install the unit in a way that maximizes ventilation, while also making sure it is properly insulated from outside elements such as extreme heat or cold.

4. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean

The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is exposed to the elements and can easily accumulate dirt, dust, and debris over time.

To ensure that your AC works efficiently, it’s important to clean the outdoor unit regularly. This can help prevent any mechanical issues and keep the unit running smoothly.

5. Smart Usage

While your air conditioner may be able to cool a room quickly, using it for long periods of time can lead to higher energy bills and reduce its lifespan.

To maximize efficiency, it is important to use the AC responsibly by setting the temperature at an appropriate level and avoiding long running periods.

Additionally, taking steps to reduce the air temperature in your home such as closing curtains or switching off lights can help reduce your reliance on the AC unit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?

The average lifespan of an air conditioner typically ranges from 10-15 years, depending on the type and brand of unit, as well as how well it is maintained. Regular maintenance can help extend the life expectancy of your AC unit.

Can regular maintenance increase the life of my air conditioner?

Absolutely! Regular maintenance can help keep your air conditioner in top shape and running efficiently. By inspecting the unit for potential issues and addressing any problems, you can help prevent breakdowns, extend its life expectancy, and avoid costly repairs.

How do I know when it is time to replace my air conditioner?

If your AC unit is more than 10 years old and is in need of frequent repairs, it may be time to consider replacing it. Other signs that indicate a replacement is needed include weak air flow, loud noises from the unit, insufficient cooling, or high energy bills.

What are the benefits of investing in a high-quality air conditioner unit?

Investing in a good quality air conditioner can provide several advantages. High-end AC units typically have superior energy efficiency ratings, which can help lower your cooling bills. Additionally, premium models come with advanced features that may improve indoor air quality, provide enhanced comfort, and reduce the need for repairs.

How much does it cost to replace an air conditioner?

The costs of replacing your AC unit can vary depending on factors such as the size of your home, the type of unit you choose, and any additional installation fees. Generally speaking, the cost of replacing an air conditioner can range anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. It is best to consult a professional HVAC technician for an accurate estimate.


Proper maintenance of your air conditioner is essential to ensuring maximum efficiency and longevity. This involves regular inspections, cleaning the outdoor unit, keeping up with repairs, and using the AC responsibly.

Additionally, investing in a high-quality AC can provide several benefits such as superior energy efficiency ratings and advanced features that may improve indoor air quality.

With the right care and maintenance, you can ensure that your air conditioner continues to provide reliable cooling for many years to come.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope it has been beneficial in helping you understand how to properly maintain your AC unit.