What is the average life of a central air conditioning system?

Your central air conditioning system will last a certain period of time and during this time it is important to look after it to prolong its lifespan.


Air conditioners, just like other household appliances, have a certain lifespan and are not intended to work forever. Varying types of cooling systems have their own expected lifespans, some lasting longer than others. If you have a central unit, you may want to know its average lifespan.

A central cooling system will either be a split-type system or a packaged unit. If you own either of these or are thinking of investing in one, it is beneficial to know how long you can anticipate your air conditioner lasting, how to prepare it for this period, and how to best maintain it.

Exploring the average lifespan of central air conditioners

Household appliances are only intended to last a certain amount of time before they stop working. You will start noticing depreciation in the way your appliance functions and this can be an indication of the deteriorating lifespan of your appliance.

The same applies to air conditioning systems. No matter what type of air conditioner you have, it will have an average expected lifespan, and with routine and proper maintenance, some units can make it all the way through its expected years.

So, you may be wondering how long a central unit would last. Look no further.

What is the average life of a central air conditioning system?

Your central air conditioner is vital for keeping your home cool or warm. With its usage, you need to ensure that you are also maintaining it well.

Air conditioners are expected to last a certain period of time and will, inevitably, deteriorate with time due to wear and tear.

Your central air conditioning system has an average lifespan of about 15 to 20 years according to the United States Department of Energy.

It is important to bear in mind that this life expectancy does not apply to every household as some can be quite negligent with their systems – overusing them or not properly maintaining them to sustain their lifespan or even prolong them, which is possible with extra care.

The importance of installation and location of a unit as it affects lifespan

The importance of professionally installing your central air conditioner in the right location should be stressed, as these factors can greatly affect and contribute to how long your unit will potentially last.

Incorrect installation can lead to poor performance of your central unit. In some cases, you will find that modern energy-efficient units end up performing as badly as older units because they are incorrectly installed.

Be sure that your contractor assembles all parts of your air conditioner properly (particularly ductwork, and duct-sizing methodology), which will allow for adequate indoor spacing and outside placement.

Signs to look for in decreasing lifespan

There are certain signs to be aware of that indicate that your central air conditioner may be coming to the end of its lifespan. These include giving off weaker airflow as the compressor may be failing.

If the unit is frequently short-cycling and you do not pick this up and have it checked in time, it will result in early failure of the unit.

If your utility bill and repair expenses seem to be increasing in amount and frequency, respectively, your unit may not be as efficient as it used to be.

Tips to improve and extend the lifespan of your unit

You can extend the lifespan of your central air conditioner in many ways. It is important to ensure that your unit is installed properly by a professional contractor, even though they will likely charge you more for the job.

Ultimately, it will be worth it. Regular maintenance of your unit ensures that all components are in good condition and working together well to prevent any costly issues.

Additionally, always inspect your outdoor unit as it the most important driver of your air conditioner. Check for leaks and any debris that may have gathered on or in the unit.

Additional tips How to

AC Auto mode

·   With this setting, the fan only operates according to requirements

·   Will not run at a constant speed regardless of current temperature

·   Can prevent wasteful usage of the fan and air conditioner

Decrease AC load

·   Make use of other methods of cooling besides your AC unit

·   Other home appliances such as ceiling fans can help reduce the load on your AC unit

·   Use a fan and your AC unit simultaneously to better circulate air to set your unit a lower setting

Regular tune-ups

·   Schedule routine maintenance for your unit

·   Can prevent bad system failures and ensure issues are detected through maintenance early

·   Involves cleaning of inner components and overview of the outdoor unit

Filter replacement

·   Check your filters regularly and clean them when necessary

·   Replace the filters when they need to be replaced

·   Look for notifications from smart units about cleaning and replacing your filter

Final thoughts

All household appliances are intended to last for a certain period before they give in. There are various ways by which you can retain and even prolong the lifespan of a central unit and the one that is most important is ensuring you have adequately maintained and looked after it.

A central air conditioner will have an average lifespan of about 15 to 20 years if it has been properly maintained and serviced throughout its years. It is always useful to know what signs to look for in a deteriorating central unit, to prepare for its repair or replacement.

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