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How Long Will My Central Air Conditioner Last?

Updated on December 19, 2009

 A central air conditioning system is a very complicated animal.  It uses the heat from outside when it is warm to actually cool your home.  This entire process is illustrated below.  Most people do not care how the cooling system works, just that it does work.  How long will it last?  This question is complicated.

A cooling system's life span, like any other system's life span, depends on use.  If the system is used 24/7, then system will have a relatively short life span of 8-10 years.  This is typical of Florida. 

A cooling system in Wisconsin, however, may last 20 years or more because there is really only 2 months of the year you really need it. However, if someone runs it all the time for 5-8 months out of the year, the cooling unit will not last long.

The chart above gives a general idea of how long cooling systems work for.  Please note that the systems may or may not last to the stated life of the product depending entirely how the system is used.


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      Johne651 3 years ago

      I really enjoy the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. bdkgekdcedgc

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      flooridagirl 4 years ago

      well my ac was bought new when we bought our house 3 years ago this december. Tonite the motor burned out in the airhandler. We have had nothing but trouble since we bought this. Company we are dealing with sucks. I am no rocket scientist but I would think we could make it 3 yrs without any issues.

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      Chris 6 years ago

      This is a great summary of info. The only comment I really have to make is that your start/stop or cycle rate is really more of an issue than how long it runs. The starting of the compressor is really the hardest part of the a/c's job. So a unit in Wisconsin (someone's post in this) may fail since it will tend to turn on and off a lot and not be run for very long periods allowing oil films to drain off; sooner than a unit in Florida because the unit runs for longer periods. Having a reputable contractor doing the install and/or maintenance is probably the second best enhancement a system can have.

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      Joan 6 years ago

      I live on Florida's Gulf coast (intracoastal,) and ours in this condo last around 10 yes but some have lasted longer. The salt water does a job on the roof portions. Your chart is fantastic! I was hoping for more life, but mine is 2-1/2 yrs old, so I have some time left on it!!!!

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      techgator 6 years ago

      Thanks. Very helpful info. Live in Florida and have an 8 year old unit and it keeps breaking down. Now, I can guess why.

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      Central Air Conditioners 7 years ago

      I just begin to learn the knowledge of central air conditioners, thanks very much for your sharing.

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      portableac7 7 years ago

      Nice information.....thank's a lot