How long do ACs last in Colorado?

August 12, 2021

According to energy.gov, most central air conditioners last around 15-20 years, while most ductless mini-split systems can last 20 years or more. 

In Colorado, you can probably expect your AC’s lifespan to fall within that range. However, it does depend on some key factors such as:

  • Whether your AC was properly installed 
  • The size or capacity of your AC unit
  • If you have your AC professionally maintained

By and large, professional maintenance will play the most significant role in how long your AC lasts. You will see a noticeable difference in your AC’s performance long-term if you invest in seasonal tune-ups, all the more so if you’re concerned about efficiency.

To help you understand why maintenance and the other factors mentioned above play into your AC’s lifespan, we’ll explain below.


Want to schedule an AC tune-up? Contact Cooper Heating & Cooling today. In less than an hour, one of our highly trained techs will conduct a 17-point safety and performance inspection to help lower your energy bills and keep your AC running as long as possible!

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Whether your AC was properly installed 

It’s unfortunate when it happens, but if your AC isn’t installed correctly, it can significantly reduce your AC’s expected lifespan. 

Some common installation mishaps include:

  • Poor quality ductwork (central air only) – Central AC’s require air ducts to circulate air throughout your home. These need to be airtight and free of holes, cracks, gaps, and dents that could otherwise cause air to leak. When leaks happen, your AC will run longer and work harder than it has to, putting strain on your system as a whole. Over time, this can detract from your AC’s lifespan. 
  • Misaligned components (central air and ductless) – Whether it’s your AC’s outdoor compressor or the indoor wall mounted handler of a ductless system, if your AC’s hardware components aren’t sitting level, you can have issues with poor condensate drainage and abnormal wear and tear of your equipment. Not only are these parts expensive to replace, the added stress on your AC system can limit both its efficiency and expected lifespan.
  • Improper refrigerant levels (central air and ductless) – Chemical refrigerant plays a vital role in how your AC cools the air in your home. So if your AC installer doesn’t introduce the correct levels of refrigerant upon installation, you could end up with an AC that doesn’t cool your home efficiently. Over time, this could lead to an untimely replacement of your AC system.

To prevent these types of mistakes from happening, it’s best to hire an HVAC contractor who’s licensed, insured, and has 10+ years of experience. A well-qualified heating and cooling pro will ensure that your AC is installed safely and correctly, providing peace of mind for years to come.

The size or capacity of your AC unit

Before you get a new AC installed, it’s critical to ensure your HVAC technician knows how to size your AC unit so that it matches the needs of your home. If your AC isn’t sized correctly, you could end up needing to replace it long before necessary.

  • What happens when your AC is too small – When your AC is too small, it may be unable to keep up with how much cool air you need for your home, causing it to run constantly. The 24/7 runtime will put extra pressure and wear and tear on your system.
  • What happens when your AC is too big – Similarly, when your AC is too big for the needs of your home, it will constantly be turning on and off (known as “short cycling”) which also puts excess pressure and wear and tear on your system. This can also leave the home with uneven temperatures making the home more uncomfortable. 

To avoid this, it’s important that you hire a contractor who understands how to perform a proper load calculation. This way you can trust that the AC system you’re installing will not only function well, but last a good 15-20 years as well.

If you have your AC professionally maintained

AC maintenance is hugely beneficial if you’re looking to keep your AC lasting as long as possible. 

In fact, most manufacturers require professional AC maintenance in order to keep your warranty valid. Why? Because with routine safety and performance checkups, an HVAC pro can catch small issues before they require expensive repairs. A dirty air filter, for example, can wreak havoc on your AC system, when all it needs is regular changing.

Additionally, for central air conditioning systems, it’s important to have your air ducts checked, cleaned, and if needed, re-sealed, in order to keep your ductwork airtight and flowing effectively. The more efficiently your AC can circulate cool air, the longer it will serve you.

Get peace of mind with professional AC maintenance from the Cooper Green Team.

Schedule Tune-Up

To keep your AC in top-notch condition, schedule an AC tune-up today. We offer upfront pricing and a guaranteed checklist of items to be thoroughly inspected. We also offer a range of ductwork repair, installation and maintenance services, including free in-home estimates.

Looking to save even more? Join the Cooper Green Club. Members receive annual AC tune-ups, special discounts on repairs, priority scheduling, and more.

Serving Denver and the surrounding areas, the Cooper Green Team is here for honest, accurate, and friendly 5-star service— every time. Give us a call today!

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Luke Cooper
Luke Cooper

Luke Cooper is the General Manager of the Cooper Green team and son of Gary Cooper, owner and CEO of Cooper HVAC. After years in the field, Luke took his talents to management and has helped thousands of Colorado homeowners during hot summers and frigid winters. His decade of experience in the field and guiding the company makes him one of the most knowledgeable individuals in Colorado on HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other home services.

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