What is the average life expectancy of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The average lifespan of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump is 5 to 8 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. 

    According to the Social Security Administration, the typical 65-year old American can expect to live to the age of 83. Some will depart this world sooner, and about 10% will live to 95. Old window unitair conditioners are much like that. It’s easy to find out the average lifespan, but pinpointing the month when it just won’t cool anymore is not possible.

    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. 

    Also, see our blog posts 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? 

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  To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I find out the age of my air conditioner or furnace?

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning?

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I find out the age of my air conditioner or furnace? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?  

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

    Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING and LIFE EXPECTANCY pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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