Most people look for window air conditioners during hot summer days, but only a few know how long do window air conditioners last. You can typically use traditional models for eight to ten years, but some modern devices can last for up to 25 years with professional maintenance once a year.
This device’s lifespan will significantly depend on your location and the AC unit’s quality, efficiency, usage, and model. Once the air from your window air conditioner becomes warm, and you have it over ten years old, it is probably time to replace it.
Air Conditioner’s Purpose and History
The air conditioner is a system that removes heat from the closed space while operating and controls the humidity level in the room at the same time. Simply put, these devices bring warm air from the room into the system and then return cold air and disperse it around the space.
The first room air conditioning concept dates back to ancient Egypt when they used various passive techniques for this process. This habit then spread to the Iberian Peninsula, North India, North Africa, and the Middle East.
The beginning of the 20th century brought progress that replaced outdated passive techniques when Willis Carrier invented the first modern air conditioning unit in 1902. That was when the development of electrical devices for air conditioning began.
Contemporary air conditioners’ sizes vary significantly depending on the model and its purpose. For instance, you can find small devices used in vehicles and massive units intended for cooling large commercial buildings and hotels.
Air Condition Types
As I have already mentioned, you can find a broad air conditioner selection on the current market. So, your needs will determine the choice of the appropriate device.
Factors like the space size, the control type you need, and the temperature in your region will affect your choice. Remember that only the appropriate device can achieve the desired room temperature with optimal power consumption.
1. Portable air conditioning unit
A portable AC is a small mobile air conditioner you can move from one place to another. Therefore, it doesn’t require permanent installation. It is easy to use and removes heat from the air thanks to a small air circulation system.
2. Window air conditioner
This air conditioner is affordable and easy to operate. It is an ideal solution when it is necessary to cool down one room. Remember that this model is a compact stand-alone unit, and all components are in one box.
The best option is to place it next to the window’s lower half to allow it to work as efficiently as possible. This device works on the principle of extracting warm air outside while blowing cold air in.
3. Central air conditioning system
This highly efficient and fast air conditioner type is suitable for cooling large spaces such as offices and gyms.
The system consists of a compressor standing outside and ducts on the floor or walls that allow cold air to circulate throughout the building. These ducts also suck in warm air and throw it out through the air conditioner outside.
4. Wall-mounted, split unit air conditioning system
This split system consists of two units, indoor and outdoor. The indoor unit is mounted on the room wall and contains an air filter and a cooling coil.
You should mount the outdoor unit on the external wall and connect it with pipes and wires. Plus, it is possible to bind several indoor units to the one placed outdoors.
The split air conditioner is an excellent choice for home conditions because it is almost silent. It consists of an expansion coil, a compressor, and a condenser.
Since the compressor and fan are in the outdoor unit, you won’t hear annoying noise. Unlike other models, this one allows you to enjoy silence while working or having a rest.
5. Packaged air conditioner
As you know, traditional models have an air conditioning system consisting of two parts, an outdoor condenser and an indoor air handler. On the other hand, all pieces are placed in one box in the packaged air conditioner unit, whether they are mounted on the building roof or the outer wall.
This system is suitable for large commercial buildings because it has a significant cooling and heating capacity. It works with one installed component and channels that connect all rooms.
How Long Do Window Air Conditioners Last?
Window air conditioning units of average quality can last from eight to ten years. On the other hand, modern versions typically last up to 25 years with regular one-year maintenance.
Several factors affect your window air conditioner lifespan, including device’s size, location, maintenance, and storage. Let’s take a look.
You need to carefully assess the space size you want to cool down before purchasing an appropriate window air-conditioning unit.
If that space is too sizable for your device capacity, it will work under load to reach the desired temperature. Doing so will shorten its lifespan and increase your electricity bills.
The location where you place the window air conditioner is crucial. If your room is exposed to direct sunlight for most of the day, it will be more difficult for the device to achieve the required cooling temperature.
On the other hand, placing the device on the north wall or in a shaded place will facilitate its work. That is the best way to extend its lifespan.
Your device will last longer if you take care of its regular maintenance. It is recommended to hire an authorized professional to clean your window air conditioning unit once a year, extending its lifespan.
There are a few issues that regular cleaning can successfully prevent. For instance, dirty filters prevent airflow, so the device has to work much harder to reach the desired temperature.
On the other hand, dust can get into the evaporator coil and reduce its heat absorption due to blocked airflow. Finally, condensation drainage pipes often accumulate dirt and limescale, complicating the device’s operation.
It is necessary to store your window air conditioner appropriately during the winter months. Bad weather, like rain and snow, can damage parts of the device and get it dirty.
To extend the device’s lifespan, you should store it in a dry place in an upright position and cover it adequately. The best way is to put it away safely to avoid hitting it in passing but avoid placing your unit on a high shelf because it could fall.
Signs It Is Time to Replace Air Conditioner
No matter how hard you try to extend your device’s life, the moment of replacement will come at some point. To avoid running out of air conditioning on the hottest day of the year, consider the signs that the moment is near.
1. The window air conditioner is old
The average window air conditioning unit lasts up to ten years, so it is time to buy a new one if yours is about that old. You should also consider purchasing a new model when the old device starts working differently and has problems in operation.
If you are not ready for that step, you can try to clean it, extending its life for another year or two. However, be prepared that an average window air conditioner can’t work for longer than its lifespan.
2. Odd noises
You shouldn’t worry when hearing a pop or whistle at the moment of turning your window air conditioner on or off. These sounds are normal, but the problem is to notice banging, squealing, scraping, or grinding.
Such loud noises indicate an issue with system essential parts. For instance, grinding noise is typically a sign of motor failure. Since the motor replacement is expensive, buying a new unit is more convenient.
A squealing noise probably indicates a problem with the belt between the motor and the blower, typically when it slips from the regular position. Since new devices come without a belt system, such a noise is typical only for older models.
3. Bad smell
A working window air conditioner doesn’t smell, so any odor you notice is a sign of a problem. It can be a result of an old device or an issue with:
- A wiring problem when you can feel smoky or burning smells
- Increased humidity and the mold or mildew build-up with a typical musty odor
- A dead rodent stuck in the system, resulting in a rotten egg smell
4. Increased humidity in the house
A well-working air conditioner absorbs warm air, removes moisture, and cools it before sending it back to the room. An old device can’t handle high humidity in summers, and it loses its cooling effect over time. Once you notice your AC unit is ineffective, be sure it is time to replace it.
5. Increased electricity bills
If you notice atypically high electric bills increasing compared to previous years, you should check the window air conditioner. An old device always uses more energy to work correctly.
You probably can’t imagine your life without a high-quality window air conditioner, especially if you live in a region with hot summers. Therefore, taking care of its condition, regular maintenance, and lifespan is vital. Only that way can you expect your device to last at least ten years.