While there are a couple of weeks left before the temperatures rise and summer days officially come in, one thing that you should be thinking about this spring is your air conditioning unit. “Why,” you ask? That’s because the last thing you want is to have your cooling unit break down in the middle of sweltering weather.
You want to make sure that your AC is in top shape before summer rolls in. Proper cleaning, changing the filters, getting a tune-up, and repairs are some of the things you can do to make sure that your system is properly working – these could also help extend the life of your air conditioner. In this article, we’ll share with you some pro tips on how to make your AC unit last longer, how to run your cooling system economically, and signs telling you that it’s time to replace your unit.
How long do air conditioners usually last?
Typically modern air conditioners have a life span of 15 to 20 years, while older models last for 10 to 12 years. It is important to note, however, that the longevity of the AC unit depends on whether or not it was properly maintained during its lifetime and a few other factors, such as:
- Location – Depending on where you live, the local climate in your area can directly affect the life span of your AC unit. If you live in an area where it has a long hot season, expect that your cooling unit will have more wear and tear as your system will work harder to keep your home cool.
- Airflow – For your air conditioner to run efficiently, it has to have proper airflow. A dirty air filter or an obstruction, like a wall, near the condenser, are some causes that restrict the airflow of your AC, which can easily damage the unit.
- Size – If you’re looking to buy a new air conditioner soon, you have to make sure that it’s the correct size for your space if you want your unit to last long. An undersized cooling system will work double-time to match your cooling needs, while an oversized AC will cool faster and run shorter cycles that will speed up its wear and tear.
Read our tips if you’re planning to purchase an AC unit.
- Operation – Although it is true that it’s more economical to run your AC all day during hot temperatures. It is, however, inefficient to keep it running at full blast all the time. Running your air conditioner continuously can shorten its lifespan. Ideally, a central air conditioning system should run around 8 hours a day while a window-type AC should run around 12 hours per day.
Tips to Make Your Air Conditioner Last Long
As with the other appliances in your home, if you don’t provide proper care to your air conditioning unit, you shouldn’t expect it to have an extended life span. If you want to make sure that your AC runs efficiently for a long time and won’t give you headaches soon, here are some tips to follow:
Change the filters
One of the often forgotten AC maintenance tasks of homeowners is changing their filters (or cleaning them if they have reusable ones). Remember, you want your unit to have good airflow. Dirt, debris, and dust can clog your filters and restrict the airflow. Dirty air filters could mean that your unit is overworking, which could lead to overheating and the unit ultimately breaking down.
Clean the outdoor unit
Did you know that the condenser (that’s the AC’s outdoor unit) is considered the heart of the air conditioning unit? When the condenser fails, expect the whole cooling unit to also break down. It’s easy to forget about the condenser as it is outdoor, but you must check it once in a while if you want your AC to have an extended life. Make sure that you trim nearby shrubs and keep away any debris from the condenser unit. A good rule to follow is to ensure there are at least two feet of clear space around the condenser to promote adequate airflow. Also, remember to clean the outdoor unit by giving it a good spray of water once in a while.
Ensure proper airflow
As we mentioned earlier, restricted airflow can reduce the life span of your AC. Besides cleaning your filters, you should also check if there are appliances or furniture that are obstructing the vents.
Let your AC rest
Especially in the hot summer months, you may be running your air conditioner longer than usual. However, if you want your cooling unit to last long, you need to give it a rest. On days when the temperature is cooler and the heat is more bearable, consider turning your AC off, open the windows and let nature naturally cool the air around your home.
Another way to lessen the workload of your AC is by using a ceiling fan along with it. Ceiling fans (should be set to spin counterclockwise) help push the air down creating a cooler breeze around the house. This will allow you to set the thermostat to 80 degrees, keeping you cool and saving you money as well.
Want to learn how you can use your AC economically? Continue reading!
Consider getting a programmable thermostat
Speaking of the thermostat, another way to help your unit last for 15 years is to get a programmable thermostat. These smart devices help you give more control over the temperature of your AC, therefore saving you money in the long run. It also helps extend the life of your unit as it lessens the time that it runs needlessly.
Some models of these high-tech thermostats can take into account weather patterns (through Wi-Fi) so you can set the optimal temperature. Other models also allow you to sync your smartphone with the thermostat so you can adjust the temperature even when you’re not physically in the house.
Get a periodic maintenance
Last but not the least, one sure key to making your air conditioning unit last long is to schedule regular maintenance. With professional AC services cleaning and also inspecting your AC, they will be able to catch issues with the system and fix them before the whole unit breaks down entirely. A periodic tune-up at least once or twice a year will greatly increase the efficiency of your air conditioner.
What are money-saving tips to run an air conditioner?
As much as we all want to stay cool and comfortable in our homes on the scorching summer days, the last thing we want is to stress about our energy bill going through the roof. To help ease your worry, here are our quick money-saving tips when using your AC in summer.
- Check your windows – Did you know that 30% of the heat in your home comes from the windows? If you already have old, faulty windows, the long-term solution to make your home energy-efficient (save on cooling/heating costs) is to get a home window replacement. Another easier solution is to weatherstrip your windows, doors, and attic to seal air leaks. This will keep the cool air stay inside your home and prevent the hot air outside from coming in.
- Block the sunlight – Another solution to help your air conditioner to run more efficiently is to use blinds, shades, or heavy curtains. These will help block the heat from the windows and help you save money on your AC bills.
- Get your windows tinted – If you’re not a fan of window treatments, another easy and budget-friendly way to block your windows covering them with tint. Did you know that window tinting can reject the sun’s heat by as much as 75%? So they’re not only good for privacy, but also for keeping the interior of your house cool.
- Unplug devices – Home appliances and other electronics are already an essential part of our everyday lives. However, keeping unused devices plugged in not only unnecessarily uses electricity, but also generates heat as well. When you have a load of idle appliances plugged in, the temperature in your home will be higher than usual and therefore making your AC work harder.
- Replace your old AC unit – As previously mentioned, air conditioners only typically last from 15 to 20 years. After this period your old unit may only rack up more power, which adds to your energy bills. Not only will you spend more on electricity on an old unit, but you’ll probably face more expensive maintenance and repairs along the way.
What are the signs that it’s time to replace my air conditioner?
Yes, our tips above will help make your AC unit last long, but at some point, you will also have to replace it, especially if the unit is way past its life expectancy. Besides old age, here are some signs telling you that its’ time to replace your cooling unit.
- You’re frequently calling for repairs – Regular unit maintenance is usual, but when your cooling system demands repairs more often, then it’s probably time to consider replacing it.
- There are leaks around the outdoor unit – A small condensation around the unit is normal, but if there are already large pools of excess water leaking from the AC, it’s a clear sign to buy a new one.
- When you notice strange smells – A musty smell is a sign that there may be mold that is growing in your system. Take notice of this issue as it can cause respiratory issues and trigger allergies.
- You hear unusual noises – An AC that’s way past its prime tends to create weird noises, which tells you that it soon needs a replacement.
Do you want to make sure that your air conditioning unit could be repaired or is it’s better to buy a new one? Call an expert AC service to have your system checked.