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How Long Does an AC Unit Last? How Often Do AC Units Need to Be Replaced?

As a property owner, I can guess that you’ve probably pondered this question more than once: “How long does an AC unit last?” Today, we’ll shed some light on this burning topic. But before we dive in headfirst, let’s start with the basics.

An air conditioning unit (AC unit) is a marvelous contraption that keeps our indoor spaces cool and comfortable during those sweltering summer months. We all know how brutal suburban Chicago summers can get- an air conditioner can be a lifesaver sometimes!

A/C units aren’t built to last forever; just like any other piece of machinery or technology, they have their limitations. On average, a residential air conditioner lasts around 10-15 years.

That being said, several factors can influence both the longevity and performance of your cooling companion. So buckle up, because we’re about to explore everything you need to know!

Factors That Influence an AC Unit’s Lifespan

When it comes to the lifespan of your beloved AC unit, several factors come into play. From how often you use it to where it’s located and even the air quality in your home – all these elements can have a significant impact on its longevity.

  • Installation

Proper installation is key when it comes to maximizing the lifespan of your AC unit. It’s crucial to hire a licensed HVAC technician who knows their stuff and can ensure that your air conditioning system is installed correctly.

You might be tempted to take on the installation yourself, but trust me, it’s not worth the risk. Improperly installed AC units can lead to a whole range of issues down the line. You may experience reduced efficiency due to long refrigerant pipes or poorly sealed ducts. Even so, there could be potential safety hazards like electrical malfunctions or fire risks.

Investing in professional AC installation will save you headaches (and possible electrocution) in the long run!

  • Air Quality and Humidity

The air quality in your area can have a significant impact on the lifespan of your AC unit. Take coastal areas, for instance. The salty sea air can wreak havoc on the condensing coil, causing premature wear and tear.

Similarly, poor air quality filled with pollutants can accumulate within the AC unit, leading to trapped moisture and even mold growth. It’s essential to maintain good indoor air quality through regular cleaning and proper ventilation.

  • Maintenance

Proper maintenance and filter replacement are key to keeping your AC unit in tip-top shape and extending its lifespan. Regular servicing by a licensed HVAC technician can do wonders for the health of your cooling system.

By scheduling an annual AC tune-up, you’ll catch any potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This preventive measure not only saves you from costly repairs but also adds years to the life of your trusty air conditioner.

A well-maintained AC unit can lead to potential savings of up to 15% on your monthly energy bills!

how long does an ac unit last

5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

Is your trusty AC unit showing signs of wear and tear? Well, it might be time to bid farewell. Keep an eye out for these telltale signals that indicate it’s time for a new cooling companion:

  • Aging AC Unit

If your faithful air conditioner has been faithfully serving you for a decade or more, it may be time to start thinking about an upgrade. AC units that are over 10 years old might not have the same efficiency and performance as newer models. Plus, older units often use outdated refrigerants that aren’t eco-friendly.

Repairing an aging unit can also become quite costly when parts become harder to find over time. So why not invest in a new air conditioner? Not only will you enjoy improved energy savings, but you’ll also contribute towards a greener planet!

  • Rising Energy Bills

We all know how it feels when our energy bills start creeping up. But did you know that an old and inefficient AC unit may be the culprit behind these skyrocketing costs? While slight variations in your monthly bill are normal, a significant and consistent increase should definitely pique your interest.

An aging or worn-down air conditioner typically has to work harder to cool your space, putting unnecessary strain on its components. This translates into higher electricity consumption and ultimately inflated energy bills.

  • Foul Odors from AC Unit

If you catch a whiff of smoke when your AC unit springs into action, it’s time to take some measures. These unpleasant smells are serious warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored. They could indicate electrical problems with your air conditioner.

Don’t let these odorous issues persist; call in a licensed HVAC technician immediately!

Extending the Life of an AC Unit

Extending the lifespan of your AC unit is not as hard as you might think! Simple steps can do wonders, so learn these practices to keep your air conditioner running smoothly for years to come!

  • Regular maintenance and cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial for the well-being of your AC unit. Schedule annual check-ups with a licensed HVAC technician to ensure optimal performance.

Cleaning the condenser coil, clearing debris around the outdoor unit, and changing air filters regularly can prevent costly repairs down the road. Don’t neglect this essential step in prolonging your system’s lifespan!

  • Air filter replacement

Regular air filter replacement is key to maintaining the efficiency and lifespan of your AC unit. Clogged filters can restrict airflow, putting strain on the system’s components and decreasing its performance.

Replace your air filters every 1-3 months, or as recommended by the manufacturer. It’s a small investment that goes a long way toward keeping your indoor air quality top-notch!

  • Proper usage and temperature settings

Proper usage and temperature settings are essential for maximizing the lifespan of your AC unit. Avoid constantly cranking up the cooling or setting it to extreme temperatures, as this can strain the system over time.

Instead, opt for moderate temperature settings that still keep you comfortable while reducing stress on your HVAC system. It’s a simple adjustment that can make a big difference in prolonging its life!

  • Protecting the unit from environmental factors

Keep vegetation trimmed and clear debris that could obstruct airflow. By shielding it from harsh elements, you’ll be giving your A/C unit a fighting chance against premature wear and tear!

How Often Do AC Units Need to Be Replaced?

It largely depends on the age and condition of your current system. We know the average lifespan, so basically, residential air conditioners need to be replaced every 10-15 years.

However, this can vary based on factors such as regular maintenance, usage patterns, and environmental conditions like salty sea air or extreme temperatures.

It’s essential to keep an eye out for signs that indicate a decline in performance or frequent repairs; those might be indicators that it’s time for a new cooling buddy! And remember: proper maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your AC unit.


Understanding how long air conditioners last is crucial for all homeowners. By knowing how long your air conditioning system can last, you can plan ahead and make informed decisions regarding maintenance and replacements. Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your AC unit. However, there will come a time when even regular maintenance won’t be enough.

Schedule tune-ups with a licensed HVAC professional from G & R Heating and Air to keep your system running smoothly. Prevent costly repairs down the line, boost energy efficiency, and ensure better indoor air quality. And if you start noticing signs indicating it’s time for a new unit, trust us as your go-to service provider in the Chicago suburbs!

Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action today! Contact G & R Heating and Air for expert help in evaluating whether it’s time to repair or replace your AC unit. Your comfort depends on making smart choices about preserving the lifespan of this essential cooling companion!

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