Air conditioners are a big investment. They not only cost a pretty chunk of money, but it also takes a lot of research to figure out what’s the best type of system for your home. From SEER ratings to British Thermal Units (BTUs), sometimes it feels like you need an advanced degree in HVAC systems to at the very least try to understand what it all means.
So when you finally decide to purchase one, you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. To that end, is there anything you can do to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner?
What’s the Life Expectancy of an Air Conditioner?
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is between 15 and 20 years. If you want it to last towards the latter number in that range, you’ll have to be proactive about taking good care of your system.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Air Conditioner
Learn 6 ways you can improve your AC’s life expectancy and extend its lifespan.
1. Conduct a Home Energy Audit
First things first: Even if you purchase the most impressive air conditioner system for your home, it’s not going to work as efficiently if you have faulty air ducts, leaks around door frames and windows, or subpar insulation. By conducting a home energy audit, you take care of all these issues before you even install your new unit.
2. Purchase a System With an Energy Star Logo
Once you know your home is leak proof and the air ducts are in great shape, look for air conditioners with the Energy Star logo. This nifty design is a result of an agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that manufacturers design air conditioners that are more energy efficient than previous models.
3. Change the Air Filters Regularly
While this is hardly on anyone’s list of favorite activities, changing your air filters regularly is a win-win for several reasons:
- Doing so improves the air quality inside your home
- It’ll ensure your air conditioner works more efficiently
- Which means lower energy bills
- And an extended lifespan
The best air filters are labeled as HEPA filters, since they can capture even smaller dust particles. How often you have to change them depends on a laundry list of factors such as:
- Whether there are any smokers in your home
- Whether there are any allergy sufferers in your home
- Whether you have any pets
- Whether you like to burn scented candles
- Whether you live in a highly polluted area.
The more of the above circumstances apply to you, the more frequently you’ll have to change them.
4. Clean the Drain Line
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air inside your home, taking the moisture away, and returning cool air through your vents. When the moisture is stripped from the air, water droplets fall into what’s called a drip pan. This water then drains out of your home through a pipe called the drain line.
As you can imagine, a dark, enclosed, wet space will get pretty damp and gross; and it becomes a prime location for mold and mildew to grow. To prevent this from happening, flush it regularly with ¾ cup of white vinegar.
For step-by-step directions, check out our article: How to Clean Your AC Drain Line With Vinegar in 5 Easy Steps
5. Clean the Condenser Unit
If you live in a condo, the condenser unit is located in the furnace closet. Make sure that the side panels aren’t covered in dust bunnies and fluff from your pets. You can remove debris with a vacuum cleaner or with canned condensed air.
If you live in a single-family home, the condenser unit is the big square box that sits in your backyard. Make sure to keep trees and bushes around it trimmed regularly. Also, shut off your AC and hose down the side panels. If any of the fins are bent, you can straighten them with a condenser fin comb.
6. Get Regular HVAC Maintenance
At least once a year, contact an experienced HVAC professional to inspect the entire system, including the air ducts. Doing so will allow the technician to foresee any potential issues and resolve them before they cause any problems. Just as with your car, air conditioners need tender loving care to last you as long as they can.
Call Colman Heating & Air for a New Air Conditioner Today
At Colman Heating & Air, we want to help you create the most comfortable environment in your home.