13 Ways to Extend the Life of Your AC Unit

air conditioner unit with tools for repair sitting on top

Are you tired of sweltering in the heat and shelling out big bucks for air conditioner repairs or replacements? Well, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’re going to explore 13 effective ways to extend the life of your AC unit. 

From the basics, like cleaning filters and the outdoor unit, to regular maintenance and more. Say goodbye to AC headaches and hello to cool, efficient comfort all year round. Let’s discover how to extend the life of your air conditioner and make your AC unit go the extra mile.

1) Choose the Right Size

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When it comes to extending the life of your AC unit, one crucial tip to keep in mind is selecting the correct size for your home. 

Why is this so important? Well, the size of your home plays a pivotal role in determining the power requirements of your air conditioning system. If you install a unit that’s too small, it will try to cool your space effectively, running for hours on end without delivering the desired comfort. 

On the other hand, an AC unit that’s too large will spend an excessive amount of time in the energy-draining startup cycle during each heating and cooling cycle. This not only compromises your comfort but also accelerates wear and tear on your system, potentially leading to premature failure.

2) Optimal Placement

The right location can make all the difference when ensuring your AC unit’s longevity. One key tip is to avoid placing your AC unit in direct sunlight. 

Why is this important? When your AC unit is exposed to direct sunlight, it’s forced to work harder to cool your home. This additional workload not only reduces its efficiency but also increases the wear and tear on the unit’s components. Over time, this leads to a shorter lifespan and more frequent repairs.

3) Longevity Starts With Installation

When it comes to extending the life of your AC unit, one crucial factor is the quality of its installation. Proper installation can make a world of difference in the lifespan of your air conditioning system. Hiring a qualified contractor for this job is essential, even if it means a slightly higher upfront cost.

A qualified contractor ensures that all AC unit components are correctly placed and connected. This includes the condenser, evaporator coil, refrigerant lines, and electrical connections. When everything is installed correctly, your AC unit operates at peak efficiency, minimizing wear and tear on its parts.

4) Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean and Clear

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The outdoor unit is exposed, and keeping it clean and clear can make a world of difference.

  • Weather and Season: During rough weather, debris and stones can find their way into the outdoor unit, posing a risk to the fan and even causing damage or pipe leakage when the unit is in operation. After a storm, and especially before air conditioning season kicks in, inspecting the unit for any visible damage visually is a smart practice.
  • Outdoor Area: Look at the area around the condenser unit. Shrubs and weeds can grow and obstruct the outlet vents, impeding the unit’s ability to expel heated air efficiently. Regular cleaning and trimming of trees and shrubs near the outdoor unit can help avoid such problems.
  • Leaks: Check for refrigerant or water leaks from the outdoor unit. Such leaks can indicate more significant issues within the unit, and addressing them promptly can prevent further damage.

It’s easy for the outdoor unit to be out of sight, out of mind, but neglecting it can result in poor efficiency and ultimately reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner. Keeping it clean and clear will ensure your AC runs smoothly and lasts for years.

5) Thermostat Magic

Give your AC a helping hand by embracing the wonders of a programmable thermostat. By programming your home’s temperature to align with your daily routine, you can lighten your AC’s load during those hours when no one’s home. 

This smart strategy reduces your AC’s running time, extending its life expectancy. Plus, the convenience of modern smart thermostats allows you to control your AC system remotely through your phone or tablet. 

Whether you’re at work, on vacation, or simply forgetful, these thermostats have your back. Some even boast the ability to learn your habits and autonomously make energy-efficient adjustments.

6) Check Vents 

AC vents distribute cool air throughout your living spaces but can become obstructed over time. When they are blocked, the indoor temperature can rise, and your air conditioning unit must work harder than necessary to maintain the desired comfort level.

Regularly inspecting and clearing vents from buildups can not only keep your home consistently cool but also reduce the strain on your AC system. This, in turn, can help extend the lifespan of your unit and improve overall energy costs.

7) Keep an Eye on the Air Filter

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Your AC unit relies on air filters to keep your home air quality clean and comfortable. Air filters capture dust, dander, pollen, and other contaminants, ensuring the air you breathe is healthy. But here’s the thing: over time, that air filter gets dirty and clogged. When this happens, it can’t do its job correctly. 

Your AC unit has to work harder just to maintain airflow, which is like giving it an extra workout. An overworked AC unit can lead to more than just higher energy bills; it can result in costly repairs down the road.

8) Cool Smarter, Not Harder

When it comes to extending the life of your trusty AC unit, a little temperature wisdom goes a long way. In the scorching heat of summer, it’s tempting to crank the thermostat down to Arctic levels. However, this can actually overwork your AC, which is far from ideal. 

According to the Energy Star program, the sweet spot for optimal cooling and energy efficiency is 78 degrees when someone is at home, 85 degrees when the house is empty, and a comfortable 82 degrees while sleeping. 

By avoiding the urge to overcool your space, you’ll reduce your AC’s workload, paving the way for its prolonged and happier lifespan.

9) Insulate to Invigorate

When it comes to ensuring your air conditioning system enjoys a long and healthy life, don’t underestimate the power of insulation. Your AC might be the star of the show, but insulation prevents conditioned cool air from slipping away. 

During routine AC maintenance, it’s crucial to inspect your insulation. Poor insulation causes your system to overwork as it struggles to maintain your desired temperature. This constant cycling places excessive strain on vital components like the motor and compressor, leading to higher maintenance costs and a shorter AC lifespan.

10) Seal the Deal

A well-sealed home is your golden ticket for a lasting and efficient AC system. Keep the scorching heat at bay by minimizing heat gain through strategic insulation and sealing. 

The first line of defense is weatherstripping; apply it generously around doors and windows to keep drafts and hot air out. If you’re feeling ambitious, consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows or window coverings, which can significantly reduce heat transfer.

11) Fan Power: Your AC’s Best Buddy

Man installing a ceiling fan
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When it comes to extending the lifespan of your AC unit, fans, whether they’re floor fans or ceiling fans, can be your secret weapon. They excel at circulating cool air throughout your home, alleviating the burden on your AC. 

Pairing a ceiling fan with your AC creates airflow that keeps your space comfortable and allows you to dial down your AC’s power settings. By reducing your AC’s workload, you’re effectively extending its lifespan while you save money on those pesky energy bills.

12) Nighttime Laundry for a Happier AC

Your laundry routine might be impacting your AC more than you think. Using your dryer during the day releases warm air into your home, and your thermostat senses this heat, prompting your AC to work harder and more frequently. 

To extend your AC’s lifespan while staying fresh and clean, consider shifting your laundry activities to the cooler nighttime hours. Doing so reduces the load on your AC, allowing it to run more efficiently.

13) Schedule Annual Tune-Ups

In the world of HVAC systems, the age-old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t ring truer. Like a well-oiled machine, your air conditioner and furnace perform at their best when they receive regular TLC. 

While HVAC units aren’t high-maintenance divas, they still benefit from yearly proper maintenance check-ups. When is the ideal time for annual maintenance? Spring! Just before the sweltering summer heat kicks in, give your unit attention and address any possible issues. This routine maintenance isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about preventing costly breakdowns down the road.

FAQ About Air Conditioners 

How do I know if my AC is still under warranty?

To ensure your warranty status, visit the manufacturer’s website and enter your unit’s serial number. The relevant information should be readily available. If it doesn’t appear, you inadvertently voided the warranty by neglecting to register your machine during installation.

How long does a window unit air conditioner last?

Most window AC units last between 8 and 10 years. The unit’s lifespan hinges on several factors, such as its quality, model type, and the level of maintenance it receives.

What is the lifespan of a heat pump?

Typically, heat pumps have an average lifespan of 15 years, although some may show signs of wear after a decade. In recent manufacturing, there are models designed to endure even longer. The key factor influencing the longevity of your heat pump is the level of maintenance it receives.

Turn to the HVAC Pros

In the quest for a lasting, efficient, and reliable AC unit, these 13 tips are your trusted companions. By implementing these strategies, you’re ensuring that your cooling system operates at its best and extending its lifespan, saving money on energy bills, and reducing your carbon footprint. 

Maintenance is key, and a little proactive care goes a long way. However, should you ever need assistance or if any issues arise, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional HVAC technician in your area. They’re the experts who can keep your AC humming smoothly so you can enjoy cool, comfortable living space for years.

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Cecilia Acevedo

Cecilia is your home expert with a knack for making spaces both comfortable and efficient. Beyond her skill in transforming homes, Cecilia has a specialized focus on HVAC systems. She knows the ins and outs of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, ensuring your home is always at the perfect temperature.