In Arizona, an air conditioner lasts around 10 to 14 years on average. This range is slightly lower than the national average (15 to 20 years, according to the US Department of Energy) because we use our ACs more than other parts of the country.
Of course, you want your air conditioner to last as long as possible. In this blog, we’ll share 4 tips to help you extend the lifespan of your AC system:
We’ll also share some problems that may cause your AC to stop working prematurely and how to fix them.
Tip #1: Schedule annual maintenance with a professional
There's a reason this is the first suggestion on our list. Scheduling annual maintenance with a licensed professional is the best way to extend the life of your AC system.
Professional maintenance helps your AC run more efficiently. If your AC runs efficiently, it will naturally last longer.
If part of your AC system isn’t working the way it should, the whole system must work harder to compensate, lowering its overall efficiency. Eventually, this reduced efficiency will result in more worn-out parts. Ultimately, the wearing on your system decreases its lifespan.
During a maintenance visit (also called a “check-up”), a professional will thoroughly clean and inspect your AC system. If the technician finds any issues or faulty parts, they'll recommend repairs to keep your AC healthy and running efficiently.
Related article: How Long Does An Air Conditioner Unit Last In Phoenix, AZ?
Tip #2: Clean and replace air filters regularly
Your AC system needs a consistent supply of air to run efficiently. When your air filters are dirty, less airflow comes into the AC, making it more difficult for your AC system to run efficiently.
Like we mentioned in the section above, the harder your AC has to work to do its job, the more wear and tear your AC will experience.
We recommend checking your air filter every month and replacing it if it is dirty (like the one shown in the image below). Clean air filters will help your AC run efficiently and extend the lifespan of the equipment.
Tip #3: Open all supply and return vents
Many people think closing vents in unused rooms will decrease energy costs, but that is a misconception. Closing supply or return vents can actually damage your AC system, increase energy bills and reduce the lifespan of your AC.
You see, closing too many vents increases pressure in the ductwork, which can cause components in your AC (such as the blower fan) to work overtime trying to cool your home. When your AC is overworked, parts are more likely to break down, and its lifespan shortens.
To avoid expensive repairs and/or system failure, we recommend opening all vents, even in rooms you do not occupy.
Tip #4: Avoid setting the temperature too low
Some people think setting the thermostat temperature super low during the summer will help the AC cool the home faster.
Unfortunately, setting the thermostat super low will only make the AC run longer, which will increase energy usage and your bills.
To avoid these issues, you should set the temperature on the thermostat to the temperature you actually want in your home. For example, if you want your house to be at 74° F, set the thermostat to 74° instead of 68°. Setting the thermostat below 74° will only make your AC waste energy and work harder for no reason.
3 problems that shorten the lifespan of your AC system
We’ve shared some tips on how to prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner. But, some significant problems can shorten the lifespan of your AC system, including:
- Improper system sizing
- Poor insulation
- Leaky ductwork
Let’s look at each of these problems in more detail below.
Problem #1: Improper system sizing
All air conditioners come in a particular “size” that measures your air conditioner’s cooling ability (how well it can remove heat from your home) and not its physical dimensions. The larger the system, the more quickly it can remove heat.
However, if the AC is too big or small for your home, it could reduce its lifespan.
- If your AC is too big, it will cool your home too quickly. That may not sound like a bad thing, but it is! Cooling your home too quickly causes the unit to turn on and off often, increasing exertion and, therefore, decreasing the system’s lifespan.
- If your AC is too small, it will struggle to cool your home on hot days, forcing it to run constantly to meet your cooling needs. This constant running increases damage to it and reduces your system’s lifespan.
Signs that you have an incorrectly-sized AC system include:
- Hot and cold spots throughout the home
- The AC turns off and on frequently
- The AC runs non-stop
Solution: If you suspect you have an incorrectly sized air conditioner, you can contact an HVAC professional to perform a load calculation to determine the correct size for your home.
Related article: What Size Central Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Problem #2: Poor insulation
If your home is poorly insulated, cool air will escape outside, making your AC run longer to offset the lack of cooling. Eventually, this overcompensation can cause your AC to stop working.
On the other hand, a properly insulated home will retain the cool air produced by the AC, which will help your home stay more comfortable and extend the lifespan of your system.
Signs of poor home insulation include:
- Consistently high monthly energy bills
- Warm or cold drafts in the home
- Significant fluctuations in temperature between rooms
Solution: If you are experiencing any of the signs listed above, contact an insulation contractor for assistance. They can check the quality of your home’s insulation and recommend any modifications or upgrades.
Problem #3: Leaky ductwork
Your AC system will only perform as well as the ductwork that supports it. Ductwork with significant leaks will make your air conditioner strain to keep your home at the desired temperature, shortening the lifespan of your equipment.
Signs of leaky ductwork include:
- Uneven temperatures throughout your home
- Steadily increasing energy bills
- Excessive dust coming into your home from the vents
Solution: If you think you might have leaky ducts, you’ll need to contact an HVAC specialist to inspect your ductwork. A duct specialist can find the location of the leaks and seal them.
Related article: Why Does My Home Get So Dusty So Fast?
Need AC service from a trusted Phoenix pro?
Whether you need a check-up or a repair, we’ve got you covered. At George Brazil, we strive to provide 5-star workmanship and customer service for every project. In fact, if you’re not happy with the AC service that we provide to you, we’ll refund you 100% of your money.
Learn more about what to expect when you hire us by reading the following pages: