How Long Does an Air Conditioner Last?

Posted on: June 17, 2013

The lifespan of an air conditioner is dependent upon many factors, including the wear and usage it endures through the years, the cooling demand placed on it through a home’s heat gain, and the quality of regular preventive AC maintenance it receives. If you think it may be time for an air conditioner replacement in your home, or if you’ve recently installed an AC and want to learn how to attain maximum home comfort and energy efficiency, use this handy guide to get the best performance and longevity out of your old AC workhorse or from your brand new thoroughbred.

When it’s time for an air conditioner replacement in Philadelphia or the surrounding PA areas, contact Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning. Just give us a call at 215-752-3638 or fill out the form to the right to request a quote!

How an Air Conditioner Keeps You Cool

An air conditioner leverages the natural properties of refrigerant to extract and release heat when placed under alternating pressure changes. Refrigerant extracts heat from your home from within the indoor evaporator coil and expels heat at the outdoor condenser coil. To do this efficiently at minimal energy consumption, your AC needs unrestricted airflow across the coils, and all components (e.g. compressor, electrical components, thermostat, and drainage) working correctly.

Staying Cool Through the Years

The typical lifespan of an AC system is 10 to 15 years. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, many air conditioner replacement systems are not installed for optimal performance, and, moreover, they are overburdened by the cooling load placed on them by inefficient duct systems and excessive heat gain through the typical home’s inefficient shell.

This is a formidable disadvantage to overcome in order to provide comfortable and energy-efficient cooling. With regular professional AC maintenance, however, your AC system can be optimized for peak performance. Therefore, the key ingredients for efficient cooling and a long AC lifespan are:

  • Professional installation which includes a home-efficiency evaluation
  • Industry-standard calculations to determine the cooling load of your home
  • Correct AC system sizing, good duct design and selecting AC advanced features which meet your comfort and performance demands

Sizing Up Your New Air Conditioner Replacement

Before your new air conditioner can be installed, you need to know what size system you’re going to need. A trained HVAC professional can calculate the cooling load of your home using reputable industry-standard tests and procedures from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. These are some of the many criteria used to determine a home’s cooling load:

  • Floor plan
  • Number and size of windows
  • Orientation to the sun
  • Local average temperature and humidity
  • Coexistent comfort systems (e.g. zoning system) and much more

Your HVAC professional uses the results of the cooling load to match the cooling capacity of your new air conditioner replacement. If you install an AC that is too large, you’re wasting your money, and the over-sized AC won’t reach peak performance due to quick cycling. An AC that is too small will struggle to keep up with your cooling demand, and you’ll experience hot spots or uneven air circulation through your home. Humidity control suffers from inaccurate AC sizing, too, and moisture removal will be well below acceptable and comfortable levels.

Your HVAC professional should inspect your duct system to determine if modifications are needed to accommodate the AC replacement. New AC systems are designed with larger coils, which may require modifications at the duct trunk for the larger size.

Lastly, your HVAC pro should thoroughly explain the benefits of advanced AC systems and components featuring two-stage compressors, multi-speed air handlers, and more. These components quietly deliver even cooling throughout the living spaces at much less energy usage than conventional components.

Schedule Your Air Conditioner Replacement Today

If your air conditioner is more than 10 – 15 years old and you’re ready to improve your home’s energy efficiency, call Dowd’s Mechanical, Heating & Air Conditioning. We can replace your failing AC and help you stay comfortable and cool all summer long. Contact us today!