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What Is the Average Lifespan of a Central Air Conditioner?

Posted by Gregg on Jul 11, 2017 2:42:33 PM

central air conditionerA central air conditioning system is a significant investment in a home and most homeowners look forward to theirs lasting a good many years. Still, many homeowners wonder what they can realistically expect from their system, especially if it’s a little older. Many also ask if it makes sense to upgrade an older system, even if it’s working just fine. Well, wonder no more. Here's everything you need to know about the average lifespan of a central air conditioner.

Most Central ACs are Long-Lasting

The average lifespan of a central air conditioning system is 15 to 20 years. With careful maintenance and sensible use, some can last even longer. Most manufacturers offer robust warranties that cover replacement parts to keep units up and running without breaking the bank. As an example, Carrier typically offers 10-year parts warranties on many units. In addition, manufacturers may offer optional labor warranties, as Carrier does.

When Does It Make Sense to Upgrade an Older System?

To answer that question, we turned to Keith Hill, our resident HVAC pro at Stay Comfy. Here’s what we learned. First, efficiency ratings in recent years have improved a lot. “Replacing a 15-year-old unit that's in great shape may be a smart thing to do,” Keith notes. Why? Because new units have much higher SEER ratings, meaning they are dramatically more efficient.

Fifteen- or 20-year-old units are likely to be 7 to 10 SEER rated. New units are a minimum of 13 SEER. As Keith points out, “a change of 10 to 13 SEER is a 30% increase in efficiency and that's a direct correlation to energy bill reduction.” With new units that are from 13 to 21 SEER, you can see that there are significant gains in efficiency to be had.

Energy.gov backs that up: “Today's best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model."

As an added incentive, manufacturer and utility rebates can make upgrading financially affordable and sensible.

One last benefit is that new units use “green” coolants — you’ll be able to get rid of your old Freon and “go green.”

Use a Trusted Manufacturer

If you’re thinking of upgrading your old AC, be sure to choose a unit from a reputable, trusted manufacturer. At Stay Comfy, we recommend Carrier products. Carrier has been in business for over 100 years, is an innovative leader in the HVAC field, and is trusted worldwide.

Carrier features three series of air conditioners to fit any homeowner’s needs. The Infinity® Series units are known for their quiet efficiency (up to 21 SEER). The Performance™ Series features reliability and a compact unit for tight installations. And the Comfort™ Series offers reliable, efficient, and economical units. Best of all, Carrier is offering rebates of up to $450, so take a look now while the deals are hot — or should that be cool?

To find a Carrier dealer in your area, check out our handy dealer locator.

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Topics: Cooling