What’s the Average AC Unit Lifespan?

Average AC Unit Lifespan

Do you have an old air conditioner unit?

As an American homeowner with an air conditioner, you must know when to replace your unit. It’s a vital consideration when you live in hot and humid areas. You don’t want your old AC to break during peak season since it takes days or weeks to get any service.

Without prior experience, you won’t have a concrete idea. The good news is our guide can help. Read on and learn the average AC unit lifespan now:

What Is the Average AC Unit Lifespan?

The average lifespan of a central air conditioner is between 15 and 20 years. If your unit is older than 15 years, consider a replacement unit soon. In most cases, it’s better to do this than repair it when it breaks.

Also, older air conditioners use a refrigerant called R22. It doesn’t adhere to environmental protection laws, meaning it will get phased out soon.

It’s not worth replacing this refrigerant with a compliant variant. After all, it’s becoming harder to find.

Meanwhile, newer air conditioners are compliant with these regulations. They also enjoy higher energy efficiency. With the proper refrigerant, you have lower carbon emissions.

Newer AC unit models will also improve your indoor home quality. The best part is it could increase your home’s resale value in the future.

Signs to Replace Your Central AC Unit

Now you know the average lifespan of AC unit models. However, it’s only the beginning since some symptoms will cause you to replace them sooner. Regardless, consider contacting an HVAC expert for a more definitive opinion:

Excessive Dust and Noise

Persistent dust presence in your home means your ductwork is suffering from leaks. It often compromises your air conditioning system efficiency. Worse, your operational costs increase, leading to higher energy bills.

An extremely noisy air conditioner means your duct system isn’t sufficient. It can’t cover every square footage of your house, causing it to work harder. Another possibility is a problem with the indoor coil.

AC Unit Expenses Are Increasing

Are your utility bills increasing without changing your average usage? If so, it means your system isn’t as efficient as before. This issue is more prevalent with older models, but any AC unit can experience it.

When these units break often, your budget will suffer. Consider replacing your AC unit when the repair costs are draining your budget.

Inconsistent Cooling and Humidity

Your air conditioner should remove humidity in your home. It ensures your living spaces are comfortable by maintaining consistent temperatures.

Experiencing excessive humidity often happens due to equipment malfunction. It’s either your AC unit or ductwork. Regardless, think about whether the repairs are worth more than replacing your unit instead.

How to Choose the Right Air Conditioner

When you deem it’s time to look for an AC replacement, you must learn from your mistakes. It means learning about specific factors to get the most out of your new purchase. Here are some:


When replacing your air conditioner, you might think your previous AC type is the best for your home. It’s true in most cases, but not all the time.

Consider picking between a central and ductless air conditioner. The former is the more common type since it uses the following components:

  • Outside condenser
  • Indoor air handler
  • Ductwork

The indoor air handler includes a blower and evaporator coils. Meanwhile, the ductwork will run throughout your house.

When you have poorly installed ductwork, your central unit will cost more. Contractors will either fix or install it to pave the way for the HVAC system.

Meanwhile, ductless air conditioners are an alternative to upgrading window units. It cools various rooms using a wall-installed and outdoor unit. A single outdoor unit can control multiple indoor ones.

Energy Efficiency

If your air conditioner is over a decade, any new model you get will have more energy efficiency. However, replace both the condenser and air handler at the same time. After all, these components work in tandem.

When you replace one but not the other, your air conditioner will be inefficient.

Check the SEER rating of the unit to determine how well it will use energy. Most new models have at least a 14 SEER rating. However, opt for higher ratings if you have disposable income.


Most people believe larger air conditioners will better cool your home. It’s not as simple. After all, these models will often turn on and off more often, making your energy costs higher.

Also, these systems will never run long enough to keep humidity down.

Your new unit size shouldn’t only consider your home’s square footage. Think about the cooling load of your home. You can compute it through your property size, insulation amount, and window sizes.


Having a flexible budget means a broader selection of air conditioner models. You can pick more efficient systems. However, always think about the amount of money you’ll save on energy every year.

Aside from that, consider the air conditioner’s added value if you’re planning to sell in the future.

Contractor Quality

Always get multiple bids when looking for a new air conditioner. Never leave your unit and installation to chance since the cost is too great. When getting contractor bids, go beyond the price.

Ask yourself whether the HVAC contractor carries well-known quality brands. Check their available warranty for both the AC unit and the installation. Determine whether they’re experts by making them explain their recommendations.

Avoid companies charging you lots of money without delivering anything of value. Instead, look for a contractor with reputable products and expertise to keep your unit working for decades.

How Long Do AC Units Last? Learn More Now

Now you know the average AC unit lifespan. Use the knowledge to determine whether your current system needs a replacement. However, it’s best to complement it with the signs stated above.

Did you find this guide helpful? If so, read our other posts and learn more valuable tips and tricks today.


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