How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What is the average life expectancy of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump?
Saturday, June 1, 2019
How long does a window air conditioner or heat pump last?
The average lifespan of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump is 5 to 8 years, with an average of 7 years. Air conditioning contractors like to call them “window shakers.” They are noisy and inefficient compared to permanently installed systems, but being inexpensive to buy and easy to install makes window units popular—especially in parts of the country that only briefly need air conditioning each year.
Many people refer to both an air conditioner ("straight cool” or “cooling”) and a heat pump as simply an “air conditioner,” but most window air conditioners require an electric resistance heat coil for heating. Only a few models are heat pumps that can reverse the flow of refrigerant to heat the home.
Here’s our comparison chart with the average life expectancies of different types of air conditioners, along with other appliances that provide heating and ventialation for a home.
Also, see our blog posts How energy efficient are window air conditioners compared to a split system whole-house air conditioner? and What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners? and Can I run a window air conditioner on a portable generator?
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post ”How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?”
To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMade, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.
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