How Long Do Central Air Conditioners Last in Florida?

April 26, 2017

When homeowners ask us about the lifespan of central air conditioners in Florida, this is what we tell them: a well-maintained AC generally lasts 10 to 15 years.

Of course, the key phrase is “well-maintained.” If an Air conditioner hasn’t been taken care of, its average lifespan is usually only 5 to 8 years.

In this article, we’ll show you how you can know if your AC has been well-maintained. We’ll also cover how you can tell your unit is on its last leg, and if you should repair or replace the air conditioner all-together.


Let’s start by seeing if your A/C has been well-maintained...

Have you taken good care of your A/C?

To know if your air conditioner has been well-maintained, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1) Do you regularly replace dirty filters?

Screen Shot 2017 04 26 At 2 50 11 Pm

If your filter looks like the one on the right, it’s dirty and it should be replaced.

One of the easiest ways to maintain your A/C is also one of the most neglected by homeowners: changing air filters every 3 months (or every month, in the summer).

A dirty air filter can cause several A/C problems, from overheating to cooling inefficiency, not to mention adding pollution to the air you breathe in your home. These types of air conditioning problems shorten the lifespan of your system.

2) Do you keep your outside unit free of debris?

A C Bush2

An air conditioner surrounded by a bush harms your system’s efficiency.

Your air conditioner has an outside unit that houses important A/C components like the compressor. If you have shrubbery or debris blocking your outside unit, it reduces the performance of your air conditioner, which may shorten its lifespan.

3) Have you consistently scheduled an annual tune-up for your A/C?

Any contractor will recommend that you should have your air conditioner serviced by a professional annually (at least). That’s becauseA/Cs are made up of parts that can become clogged and dirty over time. During regular maintenance, these parts are cleaned so that your whole cooling system can run efficiently, which extends its life.

According to energy.gov, during a tune-up a technician should always…

  • Check your refrigerant levels

  • Inspect your system for refrigerant leaks (using a leak detector)

  • Check for and seal duct leakage in your central heating/cooling system

  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil (to make sure enough air is going through)

  • Verify that the electric controls and sensors are working correctly

  • Clean and tighten connections in the electric terminals

  • Add oil to motors and check belts for tightness and wear

  • Make sure your thermostat is accurate and functioning properly

All of these components add to your system’s overall efficiency and health. So if you’ve had regular tune-ups, you can know your system has been well-maintained.

If you said “yes” to all of the above questions, then your A/C has been well-maintained; if you answered “no,” then it hasn’t.

Now, you may be wondering if your A/C is on its last leg. We’ll show you how you can tell in the next section...

Is your A/C on its last leg?

Usually, when homeowners ask us how long central air conditioners last, it’s because they think their A/C is on its last leg and they’re wondering if it’s best to repair or replace it. We’ll go into that in more detail here:

4 signs your A/C is on its last leg

1) The age of your system

Air conditioners are not immortal. The older they get, the more prone they are to break down. So if your system is 15+ years old, then you can know your A/C is definitely on its last leg. If your A/C is between 10–15 years old, then it’s getting close to the end of its lifespan. In that case, you should start budgeting for a new A/C.

Curious about cost? Learn about the cost to install a new A/C unit in Florida.

2) Jump in energy costs

If you’ve noticed a spike in your energy bill cost relative to previous years, then that may be a sign your A/C isn’t working well. As parts wear down they lose efficiency, which raises energy costs. So a high energy bill is a sure-fire way to know something’s wrong with your A/C and that it’s on its last leg.

3) Your home feels increasingly humid

Your air conditioner has a part called an evaporator coil, which is responsible for extracting humidity from your home’s air. With age and normal wear and tear, this part loses some of its performance. So if your home regularly feels clammy or more humid than normal, it could point to a waning A/C.

4) Your A/C needs a lot of repairs

Have you had to call your A/C tech person for frequent repairs? That’s usually a sign your A/C is in bad shape, so it may be worth considering purchasing a new air conditioner.

Repair or replace?

Homeowners often ask us if they should repair or just replace their A/C. Of course, it depends on the severity of the damage and repair, but we generally say if your A/C is 10+ years old, it may be more cost effective in the long run to install a new unit.

Need a new air conditioner?

Contact Red Cap Air Conditioning for a free install estimate. We’ll send one of our trusted technicians to inspect your current system and give you a fair and honest install estimate.