How Long Should an Air Conditioner Last

You are currently viewing How Long Should an Air Conditioner Last
How Long Should an Air Conditioner Last

When your air conditioner breaks down and you are facing a costly repair, it may be time to consider replacing the unit. No doubt, this is a challenging decision to make from a financial perspective. However, investing a little more money into a new system instead of repairing an old system may save you money in the long run.

How long does an air conditioner last?

On average, most central air conditioning units last 11-15 years under normal circumstances. However, several factors can reduce that lifespan including age, equipment condition, and how well the system is maintained.

Factors that Impact the Average Life Span of an air conditioning system


The estimated average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is 11-15 years, but there are some variables that can extend or decrease their life expectancy.

Neglected preventative maintenance appointments, exposure to severe weather conditions, and outside dirt and debris are all factors that you need to consider when trying to determine the life expectancy of your air conditioner.

If repair parts are difficult to find or obsolete such as R-22 refrigerant, replacing the equipment may be the better option.

Equipment Condition

Consider the overall condition of your air conditioning system. If the unit is unreliable and in need of frequent repairs just to get through the season, this is could be an indication it is time to invest in a new unit.

System Maintenance

A major factor in determining the life expectancy of a system is how well it is maintained. Consistent preventative maintenance is the number one way to extend the lifespan of your air conditioning system. During a maintenance visit, an HVAC technician cleans, inspects, and tests the unit to make sure it is operating correctly and efficiently. The maintenance visit provides the technician with the opportunity to spot any potential issues with the system before they turn into major problems.

If you have not had your system serviced regularly, you may be setting yourself up for a premature equipment replacement.

When to replace your air conditioner

When facing the decision on whether to repair or replace your aging air conditioning system, a good formula to follow is to take the age of the equipment and multiply it by the repair cost. If the number is more than $5,000, then you should replace it.

The type of refrigerant your air conditioner uses is another critical factor to consider. If your system was installed prior to 2010 it likely uses Freon also known as R-22 refrigerant. R-22 refrigerant was phased out in January 2020 by the EPA because it is harmful to the environment. Newer units use R-410A, an environmentally friendly alternative.

High utility bills are another warning that your air conditioner may be on its last leg. An increase in your energy bills is a sign that your system is not working efficiently. Newer models have improved energy efficiency ratings. You may hesitate when it comes down to purchasing a new system, but if you compare the annual energy savings of a new model with your current system, the money you save may help you pay for your new air conditioner over time.

Choosing the right replacement for your air conditioning system

If you choose to replace your air conditioner contact us to discuss your options. Our team of Comfort Specialists are highly qualified and trained in the latest technologies. They can help you determine the most economical and efficient air conditioning system for your home. When you work with Burkholder’s HVAC, you get a team of professionals who you can count on.

Contact us today to schedule a free installation estimate.