How Long do AC Units Last in Florida?

November 02, 2020

On average, well-maintained AC systems can last 10-15 years in Florida.

That being said, there are a few things that can impact how long your AC system actually lasts, including:

  • Whether or not you’ve properly maintained your AC
  • Whether or not your AC was correctly sized
  • Your AC’s exposure to outside elements
  • Whether or not your thermostat is/was set correctly

In this blog, we’ll walk through each of these factors and explain how they can affect the longevity of your system. We’ll also share a few signs that indicate it’s time to replace your system.

Need to replace your AC system now? We’re here to help. We’ve been helping Florida homeowners with their AC systems for years, so we know a thing or two about when an AC needs to be replaced and how to do it properly. Learn more about our AC replacement services or schedule service!

Factor #1: Whether or not you’ve properly maintained your AC

The factor that has the biggest impact on how long your AC lasts is whether or not your AC has been properly taken care of and maintained.

To keep your AC healthy for as long as possible, you should invest in annual maintenance with a professional. This is the best way to ensure that all parts of your AC are working properly, that no parts are damaged and that your AC is not being overworked.

During an annual maintenance visit, an HVAC tech will check all the components of your AC, and recommend any repairs or replacements needed, so that your system doesn't end up breaking down before its time.

Additional ways to keep your AC healthy include...

  • Replacing your air filter regularly- During the summer, you should replace your filter every 1-3 months. Dirty air filters block your AC from pulling in enough air, which can harm the internal parts of your AC system and prevent your AC from cooling your home properly.
  • Keeping your outdoor unit free of debris- Your AC system actually cools your home by removing heat from the air inside your home and dumping that heat outside. But, if your outdoor unit is covered in dust and debris, your AC won’t be able to dump as much heat as it needs to, causing your AC system to be overworked. The best thing you can do to prevent this is to keep any trees, bushes or obstructions at least 2 feet away from your AC system and to keep your outdoor unit clean throughout the summer.

Factor #2: Whether your AC was correctly sized

If your AC is too small or too large for your home, it likely won’t last 10-15 years. Why?

An AC that is too small for your home will never be able to meet demand. If your AC is too small for your home, it will run constantly but will never be able to cool your home properly. Running constantly can cause the internal components of your AC system to break down sooner than they should.

An AC that is too large for your home will cool your home quickly and then shut off quickly. This rapid ‘on-again-off-again’ cycling can cause the internal components of the AC system to wear out sooner than they should, shortening the lifespan of the system.

So how do you know what size AC system you need for your home?

Before your AC system was installed, an HVAC technician should have conducted a load calculation. Every home has a variety of factors that determine what size AC is needed, and a load calculation is an assessment that will ensure that the AC you get is precisely matched to the cooling needs of your unique home.

The takeaway here is that you should always ensure that the pro installing your AC has performed a load calculation. Some professionals take shortcuts and only measure an AC based on the square footage of your home (sometimes over the phone) but a proper load calculation takes longer and looks at a handful of other factors that determine proper AC sizing.

Factor #3: Your AC’s exposure to the elements

Because Florida is a humid coastal state, the humidity and salt water in the air can impact the longevity of your AC system.

Two ways to protect your AC system from the elements, are to:

1. Install a dehumidifier

The core job of your AC system is to cool your home. But, a secondary job of your AC system is to dehumidify your home.

In Florida, where it’s especially humid, the responsibility of fully dehumidifying your home summer after summer can take a serious toll on the health of your system. A whole-home dehumidifier can also make the AC more efficient (which means lower monthly utility bills).

2. Take steps to prevent salt damage

You’ll probably only notice salt damage if you live directly on the coast, but you can experience mild salt damage up to 5 miles off the cost. You can prevent salt corrosion by:

    • Regularly spraying down your outdoor unit
    • Having a tech apply an anti-corrosion coat to your outdoor unit
    • Installing an AC system that is built to withstand salt and other natural elements
    • Installing your AC in protected area, away from any direct sea breeze

Factor #4: Whether or not your thermostat is set correctly

How you set your thermostat can make a big impact on how long your AC lasts.

Your AC works hard throughout the summer to cool your home, and if you have your AC running on full blast all the time, your AC will wear out sooner rather than later.

To keep your AC living as long as possible, our recommendation would be to turn your AC up 8-10 degrees for about eight hours each day. Homeowners typically do this while they’re away from their home. For example, if you go to the office for 8 hours a day, you could turn your thermostat up while you’re at work). This gives your AC a break from working so hard throughout the summer, and can help some of the internal parts last longer.

If you have a heat pump, and use the same system in the winter, the same, and your AC will likely last longer than it would if you kept it running on full blast 24/7.

Ready to install a new AC system? Call Florida’s Best: Red Cap!


If this blog has made you realize that it’s time to replace your AC (or it will be time in the near future), we’d be happy to help you. As we noted above, there are a lot of aspects that go into preserving your AC for as long as possible, and the company or contractor you hire to install your AC is one of them. Florida homeowners have trusted us to expertly install their AC systems, and we’d love the chance to earn your trust, too.