Joe Swett
Lifespan Of An AC System
By Published On: July 10th, 20200 Comments34.8 min read

On average, the lifespan of air conditioners is between 15 to 20 years. But just because they can last for decades doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t run into problems. In fact, you can certainly expect to have issues come up from time to time, especially as your AC unit gets older.

While you can keep getting your air conditioner repaired, there comes a time where it just isn’t worth sinking money into anymore. But how do you know you’ve reached this point?

In this article, we’ll explain the lifespan of an AC system so you’ll know when to repair or replace it.

0 to 5 Years

This is where your AC unit is brand new, or it practically is. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get off scot-free.

Sometimes, you may have gotten a lemon. Or even purchased a system from a subpar manufacturer.

Either way, you might run into some small problems like faulty fans and buildup of ice on your evaporator coils. These should all be relatively cheap or affordable to fix, so chances are very low that it’d be worth it to replace it at this point.

Do note that it’s vital that during this period (and the others), you have regular AC maintenance done. This ensures that nothing is broken for too long and that small issues are taken care of immediately. As a result, this will extend the lifespan of your air conditioner and save you money in the long run.

5 to 10 Years

In most cases, you probably won’t need to replace your AC system if it’s under 10 years old. This is assuming that you’ve taken care to have it properly maintained and have gotten issues repaired promptly.

During this time, you might see more serious problems occur. For example, the older your AC unit is, the more likely it’ll have an electrical failure. This includes issues with your capacitors, relays, and circuit breakers.

You may also experience leaking ducts, refrigerant leaks, and sensors that are misaligned.

All of these issues can be avoided if you have regular maintenance appointments. You really shouldn’t see a need to replace your air conditioning until your unit is at least 10 years old.

Of course, the exception would be if somehow, you’ve had a complete breakdown of your HVAC system. In that case, it’d be more cost-efficient to just replace the whole thing rather than try to salvage it. But again, a complete breakdown should be rare if you’ve chosen a good model and taken excellent care of it.

10 to 15 Years

In the period of 10 to 15 years for your HVAC unit, repairing vs replacing it will depend on a few factors.

First of all, how often do you use it? If your answer is “not very often,” then it can be in as good condition as a unit that’s only 5 years old with more hours of usage. On the other hand, if you use it quite often, then this may be pushing the very last bits of its lifespan.

Also, how often have you been getting things maintained and repaired? What types of repairs have been performed?

If you’ve only had very minor problems with your AC unit and it was just a few over the years, then chances are, your air conditioning isn’t too old yet. However, if it keeps breaking down with major issues, it might be best to replace it with something that’s new, as it’ll have fewer problems and it’ll be more energy-efficient as well.

Where you live will play a factor too. If you live right by the ocean, this can actually cause your AC system to break down faster. This is because the chemicals that come from the seawater can corrode the system, especially if you don’t practice regular maintenance.

One last thing you need to consider is the type of refrigerant it uses. As of 2020, we’ve ceased production and importation of R-22 refrigerant.

So it may be cost-efficient to replace your AC unit if it uses R-22. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you can avoid costly repairs in the future too.

15 Years and Over

Past 15 years, you’ll see a lot of common AC problems crop up. Not only that, but they’ll crop up often. Sure, HVAC experts will be able to fix these repairs as they rear their ugly heads, but it’ll cost you a lot of money.

Not to mention, these units are most likely not the most energy-efficient ones around. As far as technology goes, a lot can happen in a decade or two.

Today, there are Energy Star-certified AC units that run on significantly less energy. This means not only will they run more smoothly, but they’ll also cost you less in the long run.

So if your AC system is regularly having problems and it’s over 15 years old, it’s high time you considered replacing it. It’s not worth the hassle, time, and money you spend to keep it running anymore.

Know When to Repair or Replace Your AC System

Now you know all about the lifespan of an AC system. This allows you to know what to expect as the years go by, whether you’ve just gotten a new unit or have had one for years.

If you ever encounter any problems, the best thing to do is to get in touch with an HVAC specialist. They can tell you exactly what’s wrong and give you an expert opinion on whether you should repair or replace the unit. Together, you can figure out the most cost-efficient solutions for your needs and budget.

Do you have current issues with your air conditioning? Then get in touch with us now. We’ll give you an upfront quote before any work begins!

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