How Long Does an AC Last?

How Long Does an AC Last?

How long does an air conditioner last? Whenever you purchase a new appliance, it’s important to consider when you might need to repurchase the unit. This is especially important with potential high-usage appliances like window air conditioners. In general, a window unit air conditioner should last eight to ten years, but that number can vary widely. There are many factors that contribute to the lifespan of an air conditioner, like how much your unit is in use, how well it is maintained, and the climate in which it is operated. This blog will teach you how to make healthy lifestyle decisions for your AC to make sure your AC lasts as long as possible.


Pick the right machine for the job

If your window units are burning out in one or two years, there’s a chance you’ve picked the wrong machine. By picking a properly sized machine, you extend how long an air conditioner lasts. By size, we don’t mean fitting one properly to the window—though of course that’s also important! What we mean is selecting a machine with the appropriate cooling capacity for the square footage of the space you’re cooling. Check the BTUs (British Thermal Units) of a machine before purchasing and make sure that number matches where you intend to use the unit.


Properly maintain your machine

How long a window air conditioner lasts is directly related to how well you maintain your unit. Like any machine, a window unit AC is a collection of interlocking systems. When one of those systems breaks down, the whole machine suffers. And as we’re fond of saying, the easiest way to fix a problem is to prevent it in the first place. We’ve covered a lot of maintenance tips in other places, so make sure to check those blogs out as well for more info.


  • Make sure your unit is properly installed and insulated. If there are gaps in the insulation, your unit will have to work harder to keep your home cool. Likewise, improperly installed units can suffer from improper drainage, which can lead to issues like mold.

  • Regularly check your filter! Most modern AC units come with a check filter light to let you know when the filter requires an immediate swap. However, it’s a good idea to check your filter more regularly. How long an air conditioner filter lasts will depend on many factors, but a good rule of thumb is to check the filter at least every month.

  • Replace your filter when necessary. The Windmill AC has a dual filtration system, with a washable mesh filter and a replaceable activated carbon filter.

  • Check the vents of your machine to make sure they stay clean. Clogged vents will make your AC work harder than necessary, which will shorten the lifespan of its internal mechanism.

  • Practice smart AC usage. When you leave home, make sure to turn the unit off so you don’t cool an empty room. On more temperate days, shut off your AC to give the machine a break. 


Remember, how long a window unit air conditioner lasts will largely depend on how well you take care of your machine. As you take care of your machine, take note of stuff like how long does an air conditioner filter last for you. Once you establish regular behavior for your machine, you’ll know when something out of character occurs. For example, if a filter normally lasts for a month, but you find yourself replacing the filter every other week, then you’ll know an issue is occurring and can begin troubleshooting.


Understand the climate you live in

Where you live, and what type of climate you live in, will have a major impact on how long your air conditioner lasts. If you live on a coast, ocean salt in the air can cause your condenser coils to corrode or otherwise wear out faster. Similarly, very humid environments foster mold growth, which will also shorten the lifespan of your window unit. When purchasing a new AC unit, you should adjust expectations for the machine’s lifespan to fit your climate.

Some climate-based problems are easy to address. If you live somewhere with snowy winters, consider purchasing a winter cover for your AC unit. For places with very heavy snowfall, it can be a good idea to uninstall your AC and store it somewhere dry for winter months. 

Furthermore, there’s a few installation tips that help your AC resist the elements. Install your air conditioner in a window that doesn’t receive a ton of sun exposure. This prevents the machine from overheating and misreporting the temperature. If you live in an area with pine trees, or other needle-bearing trees, avoid installing the AC unit below one of those trees. While most falling leaves will bounce off an AC unit, slender vegetation like pine needles can potentially slip in through the rear vents of your AC and damage the internal mechanisms. 


Determining when it’s time to replace

If you follow our advice, you’ll maximize the lifespan of your unit. Like we’ve been saying, how long an air conditioner lasts depends on how you take care of it. But for all air conditioners, there comes a time when their functionality diminishes. So the question becomes: can you fix it, or should you get a new machine?

Before replacing your machine, check the filter and insulation for issues. Make sure you’ve installed your AC unit in a supportive location. Test the power source to make sure that it’s not a power issue. 

With window units, the cost of repair can often exceed the cost of replacement. Issues with the compressor or with the level of refrigerant are usually signs that it’s time to get a new machine. A good sign that you need a new unit is if your AC is producing warm air. Once the cooling function is gone, there’s not much to do but replace the machine.

Of course, our Windmill support staff is available seven days a week to help you troubleshoot issues with your window unit. Make sure to try some fixes before replacing your air conditioner. The last thing you want to do is give up on your AC before it gives up the ghost.