In most cases, your central air can last anywhere between ten and twenty years. Depending on how much you run the system, and how much you take care of it, that range can either decrease or increase.
Another thing to remember is that your central air consists of several components, some of which may last longer than others. This also factors into the overall life expectancy of the system. If you want your system to last you for multiple decades, then you have to make sure that you're taking care of it.
Start with a Professional Installation
Adding life to your central air system starts from the very beginning. One cause of early failure or inefficiency is a faulty installation. Improperly installed, sized, and calibrated central air systems introduce many issues that will cause the system to fade faster than it should.
- The system may work harder than it should
- Individual parts may wear faster
- You will need far more repairs
- You will experience inadequate cooling
- The AC can negatively impact your furnace
That's why it's important you deal with a professional and repeatable HVAC contractor for your installation and any possible needed air conditioning repairs. Getting the proper life expectancy from your AC starts with a professional installation.
Practice Good Maintenance Habits
There are two kinds of maintenance that will keep your central air in good condition. There are the things that you can do yourself, and the things you should have a professional do for you.
Things you can do yourself.
Pay attention to your thermostat – You can do a lot for your central air just by paying attention to your thermostat. Keep it at the temperature you want, but make sure to lower it when you're not home, or during different times of the day to match outside temperature changes.
Replace dirty filters – Replacing dirty air filters will keep your air free of dust, particles, and debris. It will also keep your system from collecting these things within it. Clean filters free up the air to flow smoothly through your home without obstruction. That's because dirty filters cause your central air to work harder to pass air through a clogged filter.
Inspect your registers – Keep your registers free of obstructions. Also, check them for dust or debris. Keep them clean and stay aware of their performance.
Clean the outside condenser – Keep your outside unit clean and free of debris. Make sure that no insects, rodents, or other animals are making it a home. These things can keep the unit from working properly, and can cause wear on the unit.
When you need a professional
You should set up a maintenance schedule with a professional HVAC contractor. They can inspect both your heating and cooling systems, clean them, and look for potential problems. If you do need any repairs, it's better, and cheaper, to get them sooner than later. Don't wait for a small issue and easy fix to turn into a large problem and expensive repair.
Take Care of It, and It Will Take Care of You
It's not impossible for a central air unit to last far longer than expected. Over the years, you don't have to deal with a loss of efficiency or expensive problems. All you have to do is make sure you hire professionals to start with, and practice good maintenance routines once it's installed.