There’s never a convenient time for your air conditioner to break — especially when it’s the summertime and temperatures are rising. And no matter how well you take care of your unit, it will need to be replaced eventually.

So, how long does an air conditioner last? In general, your AC system can last between 12 to 17 years. But that lifespan is dependent on a variety of variables.

This is what you should know about your AC unit, from how to take care of it to signs that it might be time to get a replacement.

How Long Does an Air Conditioner Last? It Depends

Several variables can affect the lifespan of an air conditioner. One of the most important ones is usage. The more you use your air conditioner, the more wear and tear the unit goes through.

This means that people living in warmer states might need to replace their AC sooner. Someone living in the Southwest during the summer, for example, will understandably be cranking their air conditioner more than a person in the Northeast.

The installation can also affect the lifespan of your AC unit, which is why it’s essential to hire experts who will make sure the process goes smoothly.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

To get the most out of your air conditioner, remember to conduct regular maintenance and call in well-qualified technicians when needed. Sometimes a problem can be fixed with a repair rather than requiring a brand new system.

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning your system’s air ducts and filters, can help extend the life of your unit and keep you from coughing up the AC replacement cost earlier than expected.

How to Know When to Replace an Air Conditioner

When your AC unit starts to get on in age, there are several things to keep an eye out for that might signal that you’ll need to replace your unit soon.

The most obvious, of course, is a lack of cold air. If your home isn’t cooling down, that’s a clear sign that something is wrong.

Other warning signs include moisture around the unit — which can hint at a bigger problem — and loud sounds that you’re not used to hearing from the unit. Those banging and squealing noises could indicate a bigger issue like broken motor bearings.

Bad smells and a high power bill are two other things you should take note of. Both can indicate you’re in need of a replacement unit.

What Will a New AC Unit Cost?

While you’ll hopefully only need to replace your air conditioner every dozen or so years, when the time comes, it’s still a big expense: A new air conditioner can cost between $3,000 and $8,000 dollars depending on house size and system needed.

If your AC breaking down is a surprise — and a surprise expense — there are usually financing options that you can explore.

You’re Ready to Keep Cool

Now that you have a handle on the key things to know about air conditioners, you can answer the question: How long does an air conditioner last?

Have additional questions about your AC unit or need to schedule a repair? Contact us today for more help.