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How Long Should Your Air Conditioner Last


If you’ve got an older HVAC system, you might be wondering exactly when the right time would be to entirely replace the unit. At some point, the maintenance and upkeep of older units will outweigh the investment of a new installation. But when exactly does that happen? Let’s take a look:  

One important factor to keep in mind is how well the unit has been maintained throughout its life. If you purchased your home with your current AC unit, it’s impossible to really know how well the previous owners cared for the system. So, you might need to rely on signs and symptoms rather than timelines. Whereas those who purchased their AC and have taken good care of it can generally rely on life expectancy to know when it’s time to invest again.  

Each unit will carry its own life expectancy as determined by the manufacturer, but there are many factors that can alter that expectancy. For example, how the unit was installed, if the ducts have been cleaned, and whether or not the unit is the right size for the house.  

Taking all that into consideration, in general you can expect an air conditioner to last 15 to 20 years. Properly installed and maintained units will see greater life expectancy, but poorly maintained or installed units will see less life expectancy. But, in general, if you’ve had your AC unit for around 15 years, it’s time to start considering a new installation.  

HVAC Maintenance and Cleaning

Some air conditioner maintenance is easy for you to do. The first and easiest maintenance step is to keep up with your air filter changes. Make sure you follow the air filter’s manufacturer’s instructions on how frequently to change it out. And make sure you choose the right air filter for your home’s needs. 

Additional maintenance that is fairly easy to do yourself is removing twigs, leaves, and other debris from the condenser, which is the unit located outside your home. Removing this debris can help prevent major problems and will help to keep your air conditioner in good shape throughout its life. 

Outside of these DIY maintenance tips, it’s also important to have your AC maintenanced twice a year by a professional. The best time of year to have this maintenance is when you switch from using heat to AC in the spring and when you switch back to heat from the AC in winter.  

This twice-yearly maintenance is really important because the AC technician will inspect the entire system, run tests, and make sure it is performing at its optimum capacity. These inspections will save you money in the long run by increasing your AC’s efficiency and preventing major problems from occurring by spotting them before they become too big of a concern.  

AC Repair or Replacement

Towards the end of your AC’s life, you might find that suggested repairs cost more than or are close to the price of a new unit. This is a positive sign that it’s time to consider a new AC unit investment. Newer AC units are often more efficient, which means you’ll save money on your monthly utility bills. This is an important factor to consider when faced with a major repair on an older unit.  

Since you know that your HVAC system has a limited shelf life, the older it is, the more practical it becomes to swap it out for a new one rather than repairing it. Your HVAC technician will be happy to advise you on which option will be best to meet your family's particular needs. 

The professionally trained technicians at David Gray Heating & Air have been assisting homeowners with their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the greater Jacksonville, Florida region and beyond. From performing regular inspections, maintenance and cleaning to troubleshooting problems and helping customers determine when it's best to replace an aging HVAC system, we offer fast and friendly service. For details on your HVAC options or to schedule an appointment, please contact David Gray Heating & Air today.