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How much does the age of my air conditioner really matter?

The age of your air conditioner is an important factor when thinking about A/C repairs or deciding to purchase a new HVAC system, but it’s NOT the only factor. You might hear folks say that a 10+ year old system is a goner no matter what. We don’t believe in that rule! If your system is old or you’ve purchased a home with an older system, there are a few things to be aware of to help you make smart decisions.

How long do residential HVAC systems last?

In the San Antonio area, if a residential HVAC system is installed and cared for properly, the average life span before a major repair is usually between 12-18 years. With a little luck, proper installation and regular maintenance, we sometimes see systems that last 20+ years.

Older parts are more expensive

As equipment gets older, it can be harder to find the right parts for your system, which in turn makes those parts and service calls more expensive.

In older systems, you’re more likely to see multiple part failures in a row

Once something starts going wrong, it’s not uncommon to see a cascade of other failures. One underperforming part can put additional stress on another because the whole system is connected. For example, if a fan motor goes out, the compressor might overheat, which might be the final blow to an already struggling compressor.

Newer houses might have better luck

In a home where everything is new and you know an AC system been regularly maintained, if a major component is going bad around Year 8, you may be able to replace a major components without replacing an entire system and extend your life for some time. At 12, 15 or 20 years, the same may not be true. If you moved into a home where you don’t know the maintenance history, it’s also hard to be as confident.

The Wrap Up

Don’t let someone tell you your ten year old air conditioner is doomed, but do know the upsides (they don’t always make ‘em like they used to!) and downsides of an older system. If you start having trouble, consider our advice HVAC Buy vs Fix: Should I repair my AC unit or is it time to buy a new one?

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