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It’s a question we get all the time: “How long do air conditioners typically last?” People who have us stop by for an AC tune-up or air conditioner maintenance are, of course, curious about the longevity of their AC, which is one of the biggest (and most expensive) parts of their home. Knowing how long one typically lasts can help them know whether or not they’re going to need to budget for new AC installation in the next few years.

Unfortunately, it’s a question that’s impossible to answer. Sure, when pressed for an answer we might say “eight to 20” years, but a five-year-old AC unit might have severe problems and need to be scrapped, while a 25-year-old unit could still be going strong (though it’s probably not very efficient and should be considered for retirement).

What can affect the typical life of an air conditioning unit? Let’s take a look at some common variables.

The Initial Quality

The quality of any machine you get will often determine just how long it lasts. Sometimes buying a more expensive unit will mean it lasts longer, but that’s not always the case. Different brands will often have better track records than others; but the models from the same brand might vary wildly in quality. Cheaper units might use cheaper parts, but more expensive units might have upgraded features that could make the unit so complex that it’s more likely to have problems. We can help you pick the best AC unit with the highest reputation and the longest warranty.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s just luck of the draw. Even the most reliable brands can produce a lemon if they had a bad day at the factory. Your unit could be the one lemon out of a thousand, but that doesn’t change the fact that your AC might be the first one to go out in your neighborhood.

How Often Is It Being Used?

The frequency that an AC unit is used will also determine how often you need AC maintenance and eventual replacement. Some people will turn them on during the first hot day in April, while others refuse to do so until it’s over 90 degrees in July. There are people who always have the temperature set at 68, and others who just won’t put the thermostat under 82.

Air conditioners experience wear and tear just like anything with moving parts; the more often it’s used, the more often parts are spinning and electricity is coursing through switches.

Is It Kept Clean? What Environment Is It In?

Dust and dirt from the air ends up settling on AC coils and reducing their efficiency, so location can play a big part in how well an air conditioner works. If it has to work too hard for the amount of cool air it’s putting out, it will have to be on for longer stretches of time…and that means more wear and tear.

We’re certainly not in the middle of the dusty desert here in the Beltsville area, but that doesn’t mean there’s not quite a bit of farm dust moving through our wide-open spaces and settling in our air conditioners. That’s why it’s so important to get them cleaned, which leads us to our next question…

How Often Does It Get AC Maintenance?

How often an air conditioner gets maintenance has a large bearing on how long it will last as a whole. Fixing smaller problems and replacing common parts on a yearly basis can prevent the need to fix bigger problems and replace more expensive parts when a huge breakdown occurs.

Get Your AC Tune-Up During Spring!

How long will your air conditioner last? We can’t tell you. But we can tell you that having regular maintenance can extend its life. If you want your AC to stick around for a while longer, contact JC & JC for an air conditioner tune-up today!