How to Extend the Life of Your AC Unit

How to Extend the Life of Your AC Unit

Air conditioning units are essential for keeping our homes cool and comfortable during hot weather. However, these units can be quite an investment, and replacing them frequently can be costly. By taking good care of your AC unit, you can extend its lifespan, saving money and ensuring it runs efficiently. In this guide, we’ll cover simple steps you can take to help your air conditioner last longer.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your AC unit. Just like any other appliance, your air conditioner needs routine check-ups to function at its best. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your unit in top shape.

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Schedule Annual Professional Inspections

It’s important to have a professional inspect your AC unit at least once a year. A technician can identify potential issues before they become major problems. During an inspection, they will:

  • Check and clean the coils
  • Inspect the refrigerant levels
  • Ensure the thermostat is working correctly
  • Examine electrical components and connections

Replace or Clean Air Filters Regularly

Air filters play a significant role in the efficiency of your AC unit. Dirty filters can restrict airflow, making your unit work harder and reducing its lifespan. To avoid this, you should:

  • Replace or clean the air filters every one to three months, depending on usage and the type of filter.
  • Check the filter more frequently if you have pets or if someone in your household has allergies.

Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean

The outdoor unit, also known as the condenser, needs to be clean and free of debris to function correctly. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can clog the condenser, making your AC unit less efficient. Here’s how to keep it clean.

Clear Debris Regularly

  • Check the area around the condenser unit regularly.
  • Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris that may have accumulated.
  • Trim any plants or bushes near the unit to ensure proper airflow.

Clean the Condenser Coils

  • Turn off the power to the unit.
  • Use a garden hose to gently spray the condenser coils, removing dirt and debris.
  • Avoid using a pressure washer, as it can damage the coils.

Optimize Indoor Airflow

Proper airflow inside your home is crucial for the efficiency and longevity of your AC unit. Here are some tips to optimize airflow.

Keep Vents and Registers Open

  • Ensure that all vents and registers are open and unobstructed.
  • Avoid placing furniture or other objects in front of vents.
  • Regularly check and clean the vents to prevent dust buildup.

Use Ceiling Fans

  • Ceiling fans can help circulate cool air throughout your home.
  • Using fans allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher without sacrificing comfort, reducing the workload on your AC unit.

Manage Your Thermostat Wisely

Your thermostat settings can significantly impact your AC unit’s lifespan. Here’s how to manage your thermostat to extend the life of your unit.

Set a Reasonable Temperature

  • Set your thermostat to a comfortable yet efficient temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 78°F (25°C) when you are home and higher when you are away.
  • Avoid setting the temperature too low, as it forces the unit to work harder, reducing its lifespan.

Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

  • A programmable or smart thermostat can help you manage your home’s temperature more efficiently.
  • Set the thermostat to adjust the temperature based on your schedule, reducing the workload on your AC unit when you are not home.

Ensure Proper Insulation

Proper insulation helps maintain a consistent temperature in your home, reducing the strain on your AC unit. Here are some ways to improve insulation.

Seal Windows and Doors

  • Check for gaps and cracks around windows and doors.
  • Use weather stripping or caulk to seal any gaps, preventing cool air from escaping.

Insulate Your Attic

  • An adequately insulated attic can significantly reduce your cooling costs.
  • Consider adding more insulation to your attic to improve energy efficiency.

Address Issues Promptly

Ignoring small issues with your AC unit can lead to more significant problems and costly repairs. Here’s how to address issues promptly.

Listen for Unusual Noises

  • Pay attention to any strange noises coming from your AC unit, such as grinding, banging, or squealing.
  • Unusual noises can indicate a problem that needs professional attention.

Check for Leaks

  • Inspect the area around your AC unit for any signs of leaks or moisture.
  • Leaks can indicate a refrigerant issue or a problem with the condensate drain.

Monitor Energy Bills

  • Keep an eye on your energy bills for any unexpected increases.
  • A sudden spike in energy costs can indicate that your AC unit is not running efficiently and may need servicing.

Use Energy-Saving Practices

Implementing energy-saving practices can reduce the workload on your AC unit, helping it last longer. Here are some simple practices to consider.

Close Curtains and Blinds

  • Close curtains and blinds during the hottest parts of the day to block out heat from the sun.
  • This can help keep your home cooler, reducing the strain on your AC unit.

Use Appliances Wisely

  • Avoid using heat-generating appliances, such as ovens and dryers, during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Using these appliances during cooler times can help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without overworking your AC unit.

Maintain Humidity Levels

  • High humidity can make your home feel warmer, causing your AC unit to work harder.
  • Use a dehumidifier to maintain a comfortable humidity level, reducing the workload on your AC unit.


Extending the life of your AC unit is all about regular maintenance and smart usage. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your air conditioner runs efficiently for many years. Schedule professional inspections, clean and replace filters, keep the outdoor unit clean, optimize indoor airflow, manage your thermostat wisely, ensure proper insulation, address issues promptly, and use energy-saving practices. With these tips, you can enjoy a cool and comfortable home while saving money on costly repairs and replacements.

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