How Long Do Commercial Air Conditioning Units Last?

Whether it is a commercial or residential air conditioning unit, every system has a life expectancy. You should typically find that this lifespan ranges from 5 to 20 years. However, many factors determine an air con unit’s longevity including how well maintained it is.

Regular maintenance and certain techniques can help extend the life of your AC unit but even the best will run their course over a certain amount of time. Failure to maintain your AC unit sufficiently could see you replacing it within 5 years so it is vital you look after it.

General maintenance usually involves changing the air filter and cleaning the air ducts as well as external and internal components of the unit. Worn parts should be replaced immediately and a professional inspection should be performed at least once a year by a licensed contractor. This could point out any defaults with the system that requires repairing that you may not have known otherwise.

Lifespan of Commercial Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning Units

A 20-year life expectancy for a commercial AC unit is not always possible due to overuse as well as wear and tear. The typical useful lifespan for a commercial air conditioner that has had regular maintenance is around 15 to 20 years. Even if maintenance is skipped a few times, you shouldn’t expect it to last 20 years.

15 years is the average life expectancy of a commercial AC unit. The building owner, superintendent, or property manager should do their best to ensure the system is regularly cleaned and see that the filters are changed on time. Sometimes, air duct cleanings and inspections are scheduled once a year by your building’s management team.

The expected median age is around 10 years and this is when property managers should think about upgrading the system for improved efficiency. Central air conditioning units or systems that are outside at ground level are expected to last between 7 to 15 years. However, 7 years is the expectation for one that is barely maintained while 15 years would be the lifespan of one that is cleaned, inspected, and repaired regularly. The system is said to have paid for itself every 10 years or when it has reached its median age. Some contractors even believe you are lucky if you get 10 years out of a commercial air conditioner but this should be achieved through proper maintenance.

If a commercial air conditioner is installed and then never inspected by a maintenance professional again is expected to last around 5 years. With moderate to high-efficiency AC units, you should get energy savings for the first two seasons. A decrease in energy and cooling efficiency is usually expected after the second year. Unfortunately, this generally equates to higher costs in repairs as components wear and become damaged. A commercial unit will likely be replaced if the repair bill is 50 percent of its cost when new.

A commercial AC unit should easily see 15 years, maybe 20 with proper upkeep and repairs. Although repair costs could increase as it gets older, it is cheaper than installing a new system every 5 years or so.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.