How Long Does an  Air Conditioner Last in Florida?

air conditioner

air conditioner

How Long Does an  Air Conditioner Last?

When working out how long your air conditioner will last,  remember that averages are just that – averages.

I have seen air conditioners still running at 27 years old and I have seem them fail at  less than 2 years.  Of course, these are the exceptions and you can generally expect an air conditioner to last anywhere from 10 – 17 years.  There are a number of factors that determine how long a unit will last and the 2 main factors are how hard it works and how well it is looked after.  If you set your thermostat at 68 degrees, your a.c. will obviously wear out sooner than if you keep your thermostat at 75 degrees.  A timer can be helpful so that the temperature is turned up to 78 while you are at work.

The most important part of looking after an air conditioner is to change the filter regularly so that the coils stay clean, helping the a.c. work at maximum efficiency. Check your filter every month and change it when it is dirty.  You should also have it serviced at least once a year.

How to Check the Air Conditioner When Buying a House in Florida

infrared thermometer

infrared thermometer

We all know that we can’t survive in south Florida without an effective air conditioner, so what should you or your home inspector look for when buying a house?


1. First off, you want to make sure that it is cooling effectively and this can be done by measuring the difference in temperature between the air going into the air conditioner (the return) and the air coming out (supply). A 15-20 degree difference is generally considered normal. An infra-red thermometer is very helpful for doing this.




air conditioner age

2009 air conditioner

2. Secondly, you want to know how old the unit is. In Florida the life expectancy of an air conditioner is generally considered to be 10-17 years (less if you live close to the beach). Of course, they can run much longer but they will be less efficient and probably cost you more in repairs. Sometimes the year of manufacture is on the data plate or you may be able to work it out from the serial number (usually in the first 2 to 4 digits).





3. So it’s cooling effectively and is less than 10 years old but how well has it been looked after? Sometimes a service history is stuck to the air handler, otherwise take a look at the air filter and coils. Hopefully the coils are relatively clean and not clogged up.


dirty a.c. coil

dirty air conditioner coil

4. Take a look at the coils.  Are they clean or are they blocked or worse – have mold growing on them?









safety float switch

safety float switch

5. Does it have a float switch installed?  This is designed to turn off the unit if the drain pipe becomes clogged – a common problem which  can lead to a small flood!






So should you buy a house with an old or poorly working air conditioner? That is a decision for the buyer to make but the good news is, new air conditioners are far more efficient than they used to be. The savings in electric bills may pay for the cost of the air conditioner within 2 or 3 years.


See also How Long Does an  Air Conditioner Last?


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