Air conditioners are a standard appliance in many homes across the United States. The US Energy Information Administration states that more than 100 million US homes have air conditioners.

While most people know how to operate their air conditioner, few know how to find the age of the unit. The EPA recommends that people get their air conditioner serviced every three to five years. However, if you don’t know how old your unit is, it’s challenging to know when it’s time for a tune-up.

For example, the furnace filter is the part of the system that most often needs replacing. The filter is vital for trapping airborne contaminants before entering the air ducts and circulating throughout your home.

How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

It would be great if we could give you a definitive answer like 25 years, but realistically. Air conditioner life expectancy will vary greatly for a number of reasons. Starting with the quality of the unit and the work performed by the installing technician. To your climate and comfort preferences, to how well or poorly the system is maintained. There  quite a few variables that can either help prolong the life of your system or cut it short. And when a major issue presents itself, the decision to repair or replace the air conditioner can add years of comfort with a major component replacement… or cut the lifespan short if you decide to replace it with brand new equipment.

All of these factors and more can play a role in either extending… or reducing the life expectancy of your air conditioner. While every unit seems different, and every homeowner has a different understanding of when their central air conditioner broke beyond repair. It’s fair to say that, with proper maintenance and care, you can expect a good 15 to 20 years of cooling from a new high efficiency air conditioning system.

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Any discussion about how long do AC units last should include the question: when is its useful life officially over? Like your family car, HVAC systems will need some TLC – regular tune-ups and minor repairs and parts replacement. One homeowner might think that the first time a unit quits running and is no longer under warranty, it’s time for a new one. Another might consider making a number of repairs, even at great expense, to keep an existing system running. So the repair or replacement issue plays a role in determining the life of the AC unit.

Beyond that, factors that play into the lifespan of air conditioners include:

  • Installation quality and proper sizing
  • Personal comfort preferences, thermostat settings, and system wear and tear
  • Climate issues such as high humidity
  • Air quality issues such as salty sea air or other airborne corrosives
  • Regular maintenance

Here are some tips to determine the correct age of your air conditioning unit.

  1.  Check the Condenser Nameplate
  2.  Check the Product Label on the Blower Compartment
  3. Date of Installation
  4.  Call an HVAC Expert


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