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How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

Most air conditioning systems are designed to last for at least 10 or 15 years. This is a general or average lifespan for most air conditioners. However, it doesn’t mean that your air conditioner will last the same amount of time, too. 

Since air conditioners are complicated machines and have several moving parts that need to be changed periodically, they will eventually break. But how long until they break, and how soon will you need to repair or replace them? The answer: it depends.

AC Unit Inspection & Repair

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Break?

There are a few reasons why your AC may not last as long as you expected. A few of the factors that determine the lifespan of AC are:

  • Lack of maintenance. This is a simple one. But many people are busy and often forget to stay on top of the maintenance of their air conditioners. 
  • The thermostat is on too high or low mode. By not keeping it a moderate setting, you can overtax your unit, burning it out sooner.
  • The size of the air conditioner in your house. You have to choose the AC size accordingly. This is because if you buy a small air conditioner, then it will struggle to cool your home, wearing out its parts and leaving to an increase in your energy bills.
  • Improper installation. This is necessary, as poor installation will lead to improper airflow, and you will not be able to cool your home as well.
  • You’ve had the AC for more than a decade. If you’ve had it for more than ten years, then you might want to consider the costs of repairing the air conditioner or replacing it with a new one (as they are often more energy-efficient).
  • The number of times you’ve used it. In the case of air conditioners — or electronic things in general — the more often you use them, the sooner they will wear out. This does not mean that the AC will necessarily break if you keep using it day and night. It just means that you can use ACs, but you have to take care of maintenance as well.
  • The area in which you’re residing. If you’re staying in a place with extreme conditions (like the hot weather we get here in Southern California), it can put pressure on your AC’s outdoor and indoor units and can wear it out sooner.

Should I Repair or Replace My AC Unit?

Your AC unit will let you know when it is time to replace it. Clues that it’s time to replace it may include:

  • Expensive and frequent repair bills. If you are getting professional maintenance on your air conditioner more often than not, it could mean that it has reached the end of its lifecycle. At this point, you should think of replacing it with a new one, as the new air conditioner might be more economical as compared to repairing the older one again.
  • Your energy bill is skyrocketing. Your energy bills should stay the same. Unexpectedly high energy bills might be an indication of a faulty air conditioner. Although high energy bills for one or two months are no concern, especially during the summer months, you should investigate it if your energy bill is just constantly moving up and won’t go down.
  • Annoying sounds. Your AC unit should not be excessively loud. While some sounds are normal, if you’re finding that your AC unit is making rattling or banging noises, it can indicate that it’s overdue for repair. For instance, a rattling sound can suggest that something is loose in the system, and a banging noise points to something within it getting dislodged.

How Can I Extend the Lifespan of My Air Conditioner?

The best thing you can do to extend its life span is to have proper professional maintenance. Just like a car, air conditioners also require frequent maintenance. Having preventative maintenance might seem like a tedious task, but really, it’s an investment in the system that will pay for itself by working perfectly.

If you suspect that your AC unit is reaching the end of its lifespan, it may mean that our team of professionals here at Absolute Airflow needs to come out and inspect it. We can determine if it simply needs a repair or if you need to replace it entirely. To learn more about our AC repair and replacement services, please contact us today!

It is always best to go with a little more capacity than recommended in the case of expansion tanks because it will not hurt your plumbing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, hiring a professional is always the best way to go. Plumbing services will help you decide on the best brand and size for expansion tanks and even cover maintenance duties.

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Customer Reviews

Called Absolute for my 81 year old landlord in the height of Summer heat. Scott came out to inspect the old beast of an AC and found many issues. He took the time to educate us, note everything, photograph it and provide several recommendations...and my stubborn landlord has done nothing LOL. A couple months later we asked that Scott come back out and he was there that same day.

Emily H.

Santa Ana, CA

I contacted Absolute Airflow to check my mother's AC, as it was not getting cold. The tech (Scott) arrived earlier than his scheduled time, and was very knowledgeable, professional, and most of very personable with my mother in letting her know that the issue was. Superb customer service Scott and thank you Absolute Airflow! I highly recommend Absolute Airflow.

Billy A.

Billy A.

Bellflower, CA

I have called in Absokite Airflow for my tankless water heater and A/C unit for maintenance. They were professional and took the safety precautions necessary including wearing a mask and cornering their shoes when entering my home. I recommend them highly. Shout out to Zack who took care of the tankless water heater.  They were professional and friendly.

Beatriz S.


Santa Fe Springs, CA

Carlos came to our house to access the A/C project and to give us an estimate. He was very knowledgeable and took his time to explain all the opinions in detail as well as the installation process and warranties. Tanner and Chris were the installers, they were very professional taking their time and attention to details. To keep our house clean while installing the new A/C system.

Robert M.

Robert M.

Whittier, CA

Energy costs continue to surge as fluctuations in seasonal temperatures get more extreme. Being able to adapt to inconsistent weather conditions is an unavoidable fact of life no matter where you live. As a result, drastic