How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

There is nothing worse than your air conditioner breaking down on a hot day! Purchasing a new AC unit is a major investment, so you may be wondering – how long do air conditioners last? The average life of a central air conditioning system depends on several factors, but there are some general guidelines that you can follow to determine it.

The Average AC Unit Lifespan

An AC unit maintained by Shriver Mechanical

So, what is the average life of a central air conditioning system? Typically, this number falls somewhere between 15 to 20 years, but the lifespan can be decreased depending on the level of usage and how well it is maintained. Even if your AC unit is built with the best parts, something will come along within those 20 years that will require you to replace it. This can be caused by anything from parts malfunctions due to normal wear and tear to inefficiencies that arise because of old AC unit models. Since this number is just an average, your air conditioner may last up to 30 years – or as few as 10. The lifespan depends on a wide variety of factors and if the amount of money you are spending on repairs continues to add up, it may be time to replace your central air conditioning system.

Other Factors that Affect How Long Air Conditioners Last

One of the biggest contributing factors to how long your air conditioner will last is how new the system is. Older systems tend to be less efficient, and the technology in newer air conditioners allows them to produce the same amount of cooling with anywhere from 30% to 50% less energy. As a result, many manufacturers will stop making parts for older models as it does not make sense in terms of expenses and efficiency. So even if your unit is only 12 years old, if the model is no longer being manufactured, it may not be able to be repaired – or worth the cost.

The quality of the installation is another driving factor in the life span of your AC. If the unit is too large for the home, it will not be able to remove the humidity and will likely burn out from cycling on and off too often. A unit that is too small will not be able to control the temperature of the whole home and will likely burn out faster from being kept on all the time.


Where the unit is located will also impact how long your air conditioner will last. If you live in a coastal area where rapid corrosion is an issue, you will probably have to replace the unit before the 20-year average.

Shriver Mechanical AC Specialists

At External link opens in new tab or windowShriver Mechanical we have over 30 years of expert AC maintenance and installation experience in North Georgia. Don’t leave the question of how much longer your air conditioning unit will last to a guess – this could put you at risk for a breakdown in the middle of a hot day!


If your home isn’t as cool as it should be, there is poor airflow, or you are hearing grinding sounds from the outside unit, it is time to call us so we can inspect it before the problems become more serious – and costly.