You should be extremely scrutinizing when you’re going to buy a new air conditioner. After all, your choice will be part of your life for a better part of a decade. Which brings us to this question: how long on average is the lifespan of an aircon?
According to a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders / Bank of America Home Equity, the average lifespan of a room aircon is 10 years. Additionally, the average lifespan of centralized air conditioning systems is 15 years.
While air conditioners do tend to have a long lifespan, it wouldn’t get there if you do not maintain it properly.
In this article, we will discuss the average lifespan of an aircon, and what you can do to extend it.
What is the average lifespan of an aircon?
If you know how long the lifespan of an aircon is, it will give you a benchmark to compare against when you decide whether or not to replace your air conditioner.
Air conditioners are classified as durable goods, which means that their usable life is long. How long exactly? According to the previously stated study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), these are the average lifespans of the following types of refrigerators:
|Air conditioner (room)||10 years|
|Air conditioner (unitary)||15 years|
However, do keep in mind that these are just averages. As the NAHB succinctly puts it: “The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives”, which means that proper maintenance can extend the lifespan of your aircon beyond the average.
How to know the age of your air conditioner
Some of us can clearly remember when we’ve bought a major item like a car, or an appliance such as an AC unit. But if you’ve forgotten when you bought the air conditioner (or if you bought it second-hand), you can still get clues by looking at its serial number.
The serial number can be seen at the rating label on the body of the unit. For window type models, this can be seen on the side of your unit (you’ll have to take out the unit first for you to inspect it. For split type models, these are located on either the indoor unit or outdoor unit.
Note: The rating label is NOT on the compressor itself; in fact, the compressor has a different serial number.
Serial numbers often contain the year that that particular unit has been manufactured. Most manufacturers put it in the front of the string, while others put it somewhere near the front.
How can you extend your AC’s usable life?
Proper care and regular maintenance will help extend the life of your air conditioner. Here is a simple care and maintenance checklist and how often you should do them:
|Cover the outdoor unit during a storm||As needed|
|Clean the air filter||Once a month/as needed|
|Clean the evaporator coils||Once a year|
|Clean the condenser coils||Once a year|
|Have it inspected by a technician||Once a year|
Also, you should set up your refrigerator properly the moment that you take it out of the box. Here are the best practices that can help prolong the lifespan of your aircon:
- Don’t put it near a heat source
- Give it ventilation space
- Use power protection devices
- Don’t plug it into an extension cord
How to know when to replace your air conditioner
While air conditioners do tend to last for a long time, we can’t use them forever. Someday, our AC units will develop mechanical issues and will need replacing. We’ve written about this before, but here is the summary:
- Compressor problems
- Short cycling
- Improper cooling
- Condensation around the unit
- Weird noises
- It’s still using R22 refrigerant
- It has undergone a major repair once
However, as the NAHB pointed out, appliances such as air conditioners are “often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable”.
Air conditioners are built tough to weather multiple years of use. However, do not be complacent; always properly care for and maintain your aircon so that you can extend its lifespan considerably.
- Economics Group of NAHB. (2007, February). Study of life expectancy of home components. National Association of Home Builders / Bank of America Home Equity. https://www.interstatebrick.com/sites/default/files/library/nahb20study20of20life20expectancy20of20home20components.pdf