How Long Do Air Conditioners Typically Last?

When you’re looking at a new home the age of the appliances isn’t something at the forefront of your mind. But nothing lasts forever, and that includes your HVAC equipment. Most air conditioners only last 10 to 12 years max. The average homeowner stays in place for about 10 to 15 years themselves, so there is a good chance you’ll need to replace your AC at least once during your ownership.

What affects how long an air conditioner can last?

The two primary factors that affect how long a home air conditioner lasts are maintenance and indoor air quality. Here is what you need to know about both.

Indoor air quality and filters

You heard me right: the quality of the air in your home can be draining the life of your air conditioner! How, you ask? Well, simply put, the tiny particles in your home, those things you see as a cloud when captured in a ray of sunlight on the floor, can have detrimental effects on air conditioners and YOUR own health!

The two primary factors that affect how long a home air conditioner lasts are maintenance and indoor air quality

VOC’s or volatile organic compounds, allergens, micro organisms, and other air contaminants can make the air in our homes unhealthy and cause formicary corrosion in HVAC units. This can lead to expensive AC repairs and replacements.

The best way to prevent these issues is to keep up with filtration. Many people don’t realize that your indoor air filter is actually working hard year-round to prevent these particles from gumming up the works, so to speak. If you are changing your filter monthly and still experiencing problems with air quality, adding indoor air quality products like the iWave line we offer is the best option. Avoid using higher MERV rated filters without consulting our experts first. They could damage your system if it was not designed with those heavier filters in mind.

Regular Preventative Maintenance

Experts agree that regular maintenance is one of the most important steps a homeowner can take to extend the life of their heating and cooling system. There are three types of maintenance:

Reactive – don’t do anything until the system breaks, then fix whatever is broken
Preventative – twice a year maintenance as suggested by HVAC manufacturers
Predictive – getting a personalized service plan based on usage and trends

Of the three, preventative maintenance is by far the most reliable and cost effective means of keeping a central heating and cooling system running trouble free. The only way to know the best maintenance schedule for your HVAC system is to have one of our experts inspect the system and let you know what should be done when to keep it running like a champ.

Typical routine maintenance, done twice a year, combined with a monthly filter change is the equivalent of having a regular oil change and tire rotation for your car. Unlike your car however, there is usually no “check engine” or “low oil” light on your home comfort system!

Besides preventing mechanical and electrical issues from happening, there is another BIG reason to maintain your central air conditioner, and that is to keep its efficiency up and your energy bill down. Studies show that regular maintenance can identify and correct issues that reduce the energy efficiency of any kind of heating and cooling system.

Is there anything that can make my air conditioner last longer?

The best way to make sure you don’t end up without an HVAC system is to start saving as soon as the warranty expires. Manufacturers usually give you a 10 year warranty, but only Lennox transfers that warranty from homeowner to homeowner. If you just moved into the home and don’t have a Lennox Signature Series system, you should start saving for a new one right away. Once the manufacturer warranty ends, it is just a matter of time before it won’t be worth fixing.

It is also important to carefully maintain your unit so that it lasts as long as possible, giving you more time to save. The best thing you can do is change your filter monthly. We’ve mentioned this a few times already, because it really is important enough to repeat! Clean filters don’t just protect your HVAC system from damage, it also protects you and your family from harmful allergens and other airborne contaminants that can accumulate in your air if not filtered out.

 Clean filters don’t just protect your HVAC system from damage, it also protects you and your family from harmful allergens and other airborne contaminants
Beyond this basic filter change, you should really leave all other maintenance and repairs to your local HVAC professionals. We are best equipped with the knowledge, tools, and experience necessary to ensure a job done right. Even if you are confident in your home maintenance skills, you should have a professional look over the system and correct any issues at least twice per year.

How do I know it’s time to replace my air conditioner?

If you are new to a house that was previously occupied, you might not know the exact age of your air conditioner. If that is the case, you should really have an HVAC inspection done to determine when the unit might need to be replaced. It is a good idea to have such an inspection done when you first move into the home. You may also need maintenance before running the system, especially if the home has sat unoccupied for some time.

Aside from an inspection, you can tell it is probably time to replace your heating and cooling system if you run into any of these issues:

  • Frequent and costly repairs
  • System is no longer under manufacturer’s warranty
  • Higher than normal energy bills

If you suspect that your HVAC is not working properly, you should turn it off and contact us right away. We will be able to safety get you back up and running, with reasonable expectations of future maintenance or replacement costs.

Do you need to get your air conditioner inspected, upgraded, or replaced? Contact us today to schedule.

Expert Consultation – Only A Call Away!

Carolina Comfort, Inc. has been serving the neighborhoods of Columbia, South Carolina for over two decades. This means that when it comes to air conditioning systems, we really know our business.

From assessing your cooling requirements to bringing down costs associated with faulty air conditioning units, Carolina Comfort, Inc. can serve all your AC related needs.

The best part is that we pride on being available 24/7 for our customers.

After all, air conditioning systems can stop working any time, and so our technicians are always available to deal with any AC related emergencies – whether it is a weekend, holiday, or the middle of the night!

If you have any questions, need a consultation, or someone to repair your air conditioning unit – call us now!



5636 Bush River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
SC License – #M104545
NC License – #32356

Phone: (803) 794-5526