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How Long Do Air Conditioners Last? 

Posted on June 10, 2024
by Appleby Systems

Your air conditioner is a crucial part of keeping your home comfortable, especially during those hot, humid Ontario summer months. Understanding its lifespan can help you plan for maintenance and eventual replacement, ensuring uninterrupted comfort in your home.

So, Just How Long do Air Conditioners Last?

Whether it's while you are searching for a new air conditioner or when you get the unwelcome surprise of a broken unit, this is a question most homeowners will ask. In general, with air conditioners that are properly maintained and cared for, you can expect a good 20 years of cooling power from a new high-efficiency system. There are also systems that are still running after 25 years; however, keep in mind that they are likely running inefficiently.

Just Because It Can Doesn't Mean It Should

It's important to note that older air conditioning systems use more energy to produce the same amount of cooling as newer, efficient models. Even if your air conditioner is only 10-15 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

What Determines an Air Conditioner's Lifespan?

1. Quality of Installation

An air conditioner's lifespan can be impacted by several factors. Variables to consider are the quality of the unit and the work performed by the installing technician. You could have top-of-the-line equipment, but if it is not installed correctly, this will play a major role in the longevity and performance of the system.

2. How Often It's Needed

Your local climate and rate of use impact the lifespan. If you live in a climate that has milder, shorter summer weather, you probably use your air conditioner less than someone who lives in a hotter location.

3. How Often It's Maintained

Most importantly, the level of care and upkeep you put into your unit is essential for its efficiency and longevity. Annual maintenance performed by homeowners and HVAC professionals can help

extend the lifespan of an air conditioner. Regular maintenance is important for all types of air conditioners, including central ACs, heat pumps and ductless mini splits. Neglecting routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning or replacing your air filters and keeping the outdoor unit free from leaves, pine needles, mulch, dirt, and debris can lead to premature wear and decreased efficiencies.

4. AC Size Matters

It is extremely important to ensure proper sizing of an air conditioning system. If the unit is undersized for the home it needs to cool, it will struggle to reach and maintain a consistent temperature, thus leading to excessive strain and wear on the system, discomfort, and higher energy bills.

Conversely, an oversized unit will cycle on & off frequently. A larger air conditioner system will not cool the house faster but instead could cause serious problems such as short cycling. When an AC is not properly matched to the home's size, it will turn on & off repeatedly, wasting energy and causing excessive wear and tear on the system. It can also increase humidity levels in your home because the air conditioner won't run long enough to remove excess moisture from the air, impacting home comfort levels.

When Was the Last Time a Licensed HVAC Technician Came Out for an AC Tune-up?

As we mentioned, regular maintenance is crucial for preserving the lifespan of an air conditioner. The condensing unit of your air conditioning system sits outside, and its exposure to the outdoor elements all year long can cause wear and tear on the unit. While it is manufactured to withstand the elements, the amount of time it remains exposed, and the severity of the conditions can affect the life of the unit.

It is recommended that annual maintenance be scheduled to ensure refrigerant levels are up to manufacturer specifications and that the coil is cleaned to keep dirt and potentially corrosive debris from accumulating.

Enhance Your AC's Longevity with Appleby Systems

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your air conditioner running efficiently and prolong its lifespan. Appleby Systems offers professional AC tune-ups performed by licensed HVAC technicians to ensure your system is in top condition. Don't wait for a breakdown—schedule your annual maintenance today and enjoy a cool, comfortable home all summer long.

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