How Long Do Air Conditioners Last? 4 Things That Can Affect Your AC’s Lifespan

air conditioner condenser

Is your air conditioner getting up in years? If so, you're probably wondering how long it has left before you need to replace it. Your AC's lifespan depends on various factors, such as the installation and maintenance you provide, the climate in which it operates, and how you use it. Generally speaking, most air conditioners last an average of 15 to 20 years — when properly maintained.

Below, we'll look at factors that can impact how long your AC lasts and provide tips about repairing versus replacing.

Factors That Affect an Air Conditioner's Lifespan

  1. Climate. Climate (weather conditions where you live) significantly affects how long your air conditioner can last. If you live in an area with excessively hot or muggy summers, your AC may not last as long as a system operating in generally cooler temperatures. Extreme temperatures can put additional strain on a system. They require it to run more often, increasing wear and tear on the components and leading to a shorter lifespan.
  2. Installation. A professional HVAC installer will ensure that your air conditioner is appropriately sized for your home and installed correctly and safely. This can help maximize its efficiency, which, in turn, helps extend its lifespan significantly. Poorly sized or incorrectly installed ACs may not last as long as systems installed by a competent technician who takes the time to perform quality work.
  3. Maintenance. Yearly tune-ups are essential for keeping your air conditioner running efficiently, effectively, and reliably. Regular cleaning and maintenance by a qualified technician can help detect potential problems, allowing you to address them before they become major issues that could shorten your air conditioner's lifespan.
  4. Typical Usage. How much you use your air conditioner can also determine how long it lasts. Overworking an AC unit can cause components to break down prematurely. It's a good idea to “help” your AC on hot days by using floor and ceiling fans, keeping sunny windows closed, and dressing in thin, loose-fitting clothing. Doing this means you won't need to set your thermostat as low or make your system run as often.

Repair vs. Replace?

Before replacing a system, it’s essential to consider the costs involved, the energy efficiency of a new system, and possible future repairs if you keep your current one. If your system isn’t that old and the repair is minor and inexpensive, you may be better off simply repairing it.

However, if you have an older system that needs major repairs, replacing the entire unit may be more cost-effective. Generally speaking, if your system is more than 10 to 15 years old and you’re frequently repairing it, you may be better off putting that “repair money” towards a replacement. A newer system will be much more efficient, reducing your monthly energy bills, and it's far less likely to need repairs in the near future.

If you need help deciding which choice is best for your home and household, discuss your options with one of our qualified HVAC professionals at Robison. Our technicians can assess your system, provide you with a recommendation, and walk you through the repair or replacement process.


At Robison, we have decades of experience providing HVAC services to customers in Westchester and Putnam counties. Contact us today at (914) 345-5700 to learn more about our air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance services. Our team of skilled technicians is here to help you keep your home comfortable all year long!

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