How Long does an AC Unit Last in Phoenix, Arizona?


When the fierce Arizona desert sun is baking everything to a golden brown, it’s hard to imagine life without a functioning air conditioner.

Unfortunately, air conditioners don’t live as long as people, and in the brutal conditions of Phoenix, Arizona, air conditioners can have remarkably short lives without proper care and maintenance. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is anywhere from 8 to 15 years, but it’s hard to say exactly how long any given air conditioner unit will last.

The Biggest Factors in Air Conditioner Lifespans

Certain factors can influence how long your air conditioner survives, including the size of the air conditioner unit, your duct design, the amount of use and how much maintenance your unit receives. The impact of these items can be minor by themselves, but when several parts of the equation are out of whack, your air conditioner may have a very short life.

How the different factors can affect your unit:

Air Conditioner Size

The size of your air conditioner affects how efficiently it works, as well as how frequently it switches on and off. A unit that is too small will run almost constantly in very hot weather as it struggles to cool your home; an oversized unit will have short cycles that fail to remove humidity from the home, which can end up damaging the coil.

Duct Design

It’s important for proper functioning that duct work is designed with the right number of air returns and vents for the home. If your air conditioner is struggling to get enough air to recycle or can’t cool the home efficiently because of poorly designed ducts, it’s going to run too often, shortening its life. Another big problem with air ducts in Phoenix is that attics can easily reach 165+ degrees. The extreme heat can have a big impact on the life of your duct work. Over time, the ducts can kink and seals can break, leaking cold air into the attic instead of your home.

Air Conditioner Use

Like anything else with moving parts, the more you use your air conditioner, the faster it’s going to break down. No matter how good the unit, the more it runs, the sooner it will need to be replaced.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Your air conditioner does its job faithfully, without any actions on your part — in fact, it’s basically out of sight and out of mind, right? Unfortunately, it’s that kind of attitude that leads to shortened air conditioner lives. Even though they don’t need a ton of attention, twice yearly maintenance is important to keep your air conditioner running at its best. Did you know that many air conditioner warranties are void if you don’t provide regular maintenance? Our units in the valley take an especially hard beating during the Arizona summer, that’s why air conditioning tune ups are so important. They can save you a lot of money in the long run!

Extending the Life of Your Air Conditioner

Even if your air conditioner is brand new, you can extend its life by practicing good habits now. You’ll get the most out of your unit if you do just a little maintenance each year, including:

Changing your Filters Frequently

Plugged up filters make it hard for your air conditioner to work properly, much in the same way as improperly designed ducts. If your unit can’t suck in air efficiently, it can’t blow out enough cooled air to keep your home comfortable. It’s especially important to clean these filters during monsoon and haboob season when our air is more dusty than usual.

Cleaning your outdoor Unit

At least twice a year you should pull any vegetation off of your outdoor unit and spray it down with a garden hose to remove dirt and sand that has blown into its tiny fins. Vegetation and dirt make it hard for your unit to efficiently lose the heat that builds up as it works.

Bringing in Some Shade

Like removing debris, adding shade can increase your unit’s efficiency. The hotter your unit is, the harder it has to work to cool indoor air. After all, the outside unit’s main job is to release the heat from your home, outside. Adding a large shade to units that are in direct sunlight will make them work better by keeping them cooler and allowing them to more easily release heat.

Raising the Indoor Air Temperature

It’s tempting to run your air conditioner until the windows frost, but you may find that you’re just as comfortable if you turn the temperature up a little and use fans to help with cooling. Not only do fans make it feel cooler, they encourage cooled air to circulate more evenly. The impact of proper air circulation can be huge on how warm your home feels.


Schedule a Yearly AC Check-up.

Once a year, have an air conditioning professional check the coolant level, ductwork and general well-being of your air conditioning system. This way, you’ll catch problems early, when they can be easily remedied.

Precision January 25, 2018

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See What Our Customers Have to Say

    • #
      Brett Walker

      I wanted to make sure my air conditioner was ready for summer. Fernando came out and made sure my unit was tip top. He was friendly, professional and not a sales man. Thanks Fernando!

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      Jackie Barkenhagen

      Colin and Andrea were incredibly professional and knowledgeable. They did a great job representing the company. We will definitely contact them again for any HVAC needs that arise.

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      Nick Corso

      We woke up in the middle of the nite on memorial day to a hot house. I called precision at 6am and they were here before noon. Simple problem fixed, cool house. I love these guys!

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      Jeneen Piche

      Thank you Ray at Precision Air...the compressor on our AC went out last night and the house was HOT. This morning Ray was there to replace the compressor and had us feeling the cool air again in no time. Great customer service...quick response time and friendly from the first call until the repair was completed. Ray even offered to clean the filters! Thank you!!

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      Cara Perlman

      I’m so glad I called Precision for my annual AC checkup!! Austin was professional, super friendly and answered all my questions. I’ve had more bad experiences with AC companies here in the valley than good ones. Precision Air will have all my hvac business going forward!! Thanks for being a reputable and honest company!!!

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      Jeff Stanczak

      He did a great job; professional and knowledgeable! Kalin is the technician’s name and Precision Air and Plumbing should take a bow for hiring such an invaluable employee!!!

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      Kingsley Evans

      Precision Air is a company of integrity. I signed up with them August 1st, 2019 for their AC maintenance plan for 2 years... Someone from their office called me a week ago to set up their yearly maintenance visit. SO GRATEFUL.

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      Andrew Burkhart

      Precision Air and Plumbing is a wonderful company to work with! They are very experienced and professional. They have helped us in our home for many years via a/c service and air duct cleaning.

    • #
      David Topping

      It was time to replace our AC, and so our choice was Precision Air, as we've been with them for over 20 years. Teman & Julian did an excellent job on the installation today, arriving on time.

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