If you’ve had the same air conditioning unit for a while, you might be starting to wonder just how long you can expect it to last. Most experts agree that the average life expectancy of an air conditioning unit is around 10 to 15 years. However, with proper usage and maintenance, a quality AC unit’s lifespan could even exceed 20 years.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to extend the life of your AC unit and postpone a replacement--without sacrificing your comfort at home.
1. Change your air filters.
It doesn’t matter how many times HVAC technicians say it: this is one of those things that people forget to do far too often. Dirty, clogged air filters do not allow airflow to occur as it should through your HVAC system. As a result, your system may not be able to run or may even break.
Change your filter at least once every 90 days, but make sure to check on it before the 90-day mark. Certain conditions that cause an increase in dust, pollen, or other debris in the air might make your filter dirty more quickly than usual. Smoking indoors or owning furry pets may also increase your need to change your air filter more often than every 90 days.
2. Make use of a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat allows you to use your AC unit more efficiently. You can control precisely when your AC runs and turns off so that the unit is never running needlessly or excessively.
3. Use ceiling fans when you can.
If your home is feeling stuffy or just moderately warm, you might be tempted to turn on your AC. Opt for your ceiling fans instead. The air movement they create helps you feel cooler by a few degrees so that you can afford to keep the AC a few degrees higher.
4. Install heat-blocking window treatments
Utilizing heat-blocking window treatments cools down your rooms during warmer months and decreases your dependence on your AC. This is important for windows that get a lot of sun, particularly afternoon sun. Blocking out sunlight with thermal curtains, thick, wooden blinds, or Roman shades can make a noticeably positive difference in a room’s temperature almost right away.
5. Clear plants and debris away from the outdoor unit.
Check on your outdoor unit every so often, particularly after a storm or a windy day, to make sure that no fallen debris (such as leaves or branches) might be restricting its airflow. Also make sure to clear away any weeds, mulch, or other plants that are crowding your unit.
6. Make sure nothing is disrupting the airflow.
Sometimes carpets, drapes, or furniture are accidentally placed over or too close to indoor vents, which can obstruct airflow and cause your AC to work harder than it should to cool down your home. Make sure there are no objects blocking your air vents. Also, be sure to vacuum or wipe away any built-up dust on your registers.
7. Get your air ducts sealed.
Even if everything else is in perfect condition, if you have leaks in your air ducts, this will cause your AC unit to work harder than it has to. It’s a good idea to get your air ducts inspected for any loose seams or gaps through which air is escaping.
8. Don’t skip tune-ups.
The most effective way to make your AC unit last as long as possible is regular preventative maintenance. During a tune-up, your AC unit gets inspected, cleaned, and serviced. It’s recommended to get your AC tuned-up in spring before you start using it heavily during summer--that way if the HVAC technician sees a problem with the unit, it can be fixed while the weather is still relatively pleasant.
Is your AC unit in need of its spring tune-up? Get in touch with the HVAC professionals at Park Mechanical before summer arrives in full force!