GuidesHow Long Do Power Supplies Last?

How Long Do Power Supplies Last? [Explained]

How long do power supplies last? In this article, we'll be answering that question and others surrounding it.

After using a PC for a long time, an easily overlooked factor that may lead to its failure can be the power supply’s lifespan. On average, high-quality power supplies can last between five to ten years, but there’s more to it than that. In this article, we’ll answer how long power supplies last, the factors that affect the lifespan of a power supply, and tips on increasing its lifespan. 

Also Read: Gaming PC Power Usage: How Much Is Required?


Key Takeaways

  • A power supply usually lasts for a long time, from five to ten years, more or less. 
  • Power supply lifespan depends on its quality, the surges in voltage it experiences, its thermals, and capacitors. 
  • Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the fans and blowing the dust out of the power supply, can extend its lifespan. 

What Is A Power Supply?

A power supply is a component inside your PC that pulls Alternating Current (AC) from a wall outlet. It then converts the AC into low-voltage Direct Current (DC), so it can be distributed to all other components inside your PC. Without the power supply, a PC wouldn’t have the power to turn on.

Power Supply
Power Supply – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
Moreover, the power supply unit also helps keep your PC safe from spikes in voltages which may harm other components of your PC. A bad power supply unit can blow up and take the different parts of your PC along with it, so you must be careful when buying one. With that said, it’s essential to know how long your power supply lasts so you can replace it before it has the chance to damage other parts of your PC. Also, make sure to read our guide on Single-Rail Vs Multi-Rail PSU.

How Long Does A Power Supply Last? 

As mentioned before, a good power supply should last a reasonable amount of time before it requires a replacement. A power supply’s lifespan mainly depends on the stress you put it through and its overall build quality. 

Usually, power supplies last longer than their warranty period when put under a light load. However, if there’s a lot of stress on the power supply, then it can stop functioning before the warranty period. 

Most well-known brands advertise a power supply warranty of up to five years or even ten years for more high-wattage ones. You’d do best to look up the power supply warranty you’re about to buy before buying. This is almost the same as the lifespan of a gaming PC, which can also last for around five to eight years if used with care. On the other hand, a motherboard can last for a decade

Typically, the better the efficiency rating of the power supply, the less power is converted into heat. So when buying a new power supply, your best bet would be to go with the highest efficiency rating that fits your budget. 

So the higher the efficiency rating and warranty of the power supply, the longer it’ll last, depending on how much stress it’s put through. Other factors are also important in figuring out how long a power supply can last.   

What Factors Affect The Lifespan Of A Power Supply?

Cleaning a power supply
Power supply in poor condition

While many factors can play a role in affecting the lifespan of your PC, the most common ones are listed below.  

Power Surges 

One of the most common reasons for power supply failure is sudden surges in power being supplied to your PC. This may mean a sudden spike in voltage or fluctuation in current. All of this can be detrimental to the life of your power supply and may even affect other parts of your PC if you’re not careful.  

To remedy this, you can use an uninterrupted power supply or a UPS, which will keep your PC on for a few minutes, which you can use to turn the PC off safely. This ensures no harm comes to your power supply or other PC components.   

Quality 

Next important factor that affects how long power supplies last is the quality of the power supply unit. When buying a power supply, always buy from a reputable brand rather than a cheap one from a shady manufacturer. For one, the power supplies of the more respected brand will have more safety measures in place in case of power surges. With high-quality power supplies, the worst-case scenario would be the death of the power supply itself, not other components in the system. Moreover, power supplies from reputable brands will usually last as long or longer than their warranty.   

Continuous Vs Peak Wattage 

Another thing to watch out for when judging the lifespan of a power supply is the rating for its continuous or peak wattage. Simply put, the constant wattage rating means the power that the power supply unit can consistently supply. For example, if the power supply is rated for a 500W continuous wattage rating, it can supply this much power consistently to the system. On the other hand, the peak wattage rating means the maximum power the power supply unit can provide. So, if the power supply is rated for a 500W peak wattage rating, the actual power being supplied would be 400W-450W.  

So, when buying a power supply, you should look for one with a continuous power rating, not only because they provide a stable experience but also because they usually last longer than a peak power supply as it has to do less work out of the two.  

Dust

Dusty PSU
Dusty PSU

A lot of dust buildup inside your PC can be dangerous to your power supply and the rest of the components inside the PC. As you may know, the power supply is fitted with a cooling fan that is prone to dust gathering on its fins. This can affect its functioning and may even cause it to stop functioning. If this happens, the lifespan of the power supply will be significantly reduced as it wouldn’t receive the required cooling. This is something that can also reduce the lifespan of an AIO cooler. Because of dust, your CPU’s cooler will also work harder than before to keep things cool, which can cause the thermal paste to dry out quickly

So, make sure to add your power supply cleaning into your PC’s routine cleanup. The easiest way to do this is by blowing compressed air through the power supply’s vents from the back or the bottom. You don’t need to take it apart to clean the component correctly. You also need to clean other parts of your PC, such as the fans. We have a detailed guide on how to clean PC fans.  

Capacitors  

In many machines, capacitors are one of the main components that can cause electronic faults. Most power supply units are fitted with aluminium electrolytic capacitors. After a specific period, the electrolyte starts evaporating from the surface of the capacitors. Once the electrolyte starts evaporating, the capacitor stops providing the required capacitance, which affects the power supply’s overall temperature. This can lead to other components of the power supply heating up and causing the power supply to stop functioning. While nothing concrete can be said about the lifespans of the capacitors inside power supplies, it’s best to assume that they’ll last longer than the power supply’s warranty.   

How To Tell If Power Supply Is About To Die?

If you’re wondering whether your power supply is about to die, then be on the lookout for these signs.  

  1. Noisy or dysfunctional fans.  
  2. Random shutdowns, restarts, or the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death). 
  3. Program crashes or computer freezes. 
  4. Fans are spinning, but the PC doesn’t turn on.   

If any of these match the condition of your PC, then it’s probably time for you to change your PC’s power supply. Moreover, if you see any smoke coming out of your PC case, shut it down as fast as possible and plug out all the cables connected.    

How To Increase Power Supply Lifespan? 

The main thing that affects a power supply’s life is the amount of load you put on it. You can get to your destination by jogging or sprinting, but the latter option wears you out more. The same case applies to different components inside a PC, including a power supply. 

Power Supply
Power Supply Back – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
The harder a power supply has to work to supply power to components inside your PC, the more worn out it gets. To prolong the life of a power supply, you should reduce the amount of stress you put on it. It’s recommended that you keep a minimum of 100W of extra power than your PC’s requirement when buying a power supply, so it doesn’t get stressed out too much. 

Overclocking your machine’s GPU or CPU also stresses your power supply as there’s more power to be supplied to the components. You should take this into account when looking for a power supply. This also keeps the temperatures of the power supply in check. 

Moreover, if you notice a lot of dust gathering on the power supply’s fans and insides, you should clean them with compressed air. This will also improve the temperatures of your power supply. You can also read our guide on how to clean your PC without compressed air

Final Thoughts 

In this article, we discussed how long power supplies last, the main factors that influence the life of power supplies, different signs from which you can tell the power supply’s lifespan, and the time individual components inside a power supply last. When buying a new power supply, it’s best to purchase from a reputable brand and look for peak and continuous power ratings. Also, give your power supply a cleanup from time to time when cleaning the rest of your PC.  

FAQs

How often should I replace my power supply?

Usually, you should replace a power supply if it’s past its warranty period if you put an extreme load on it. But if your PC usage is moderate, you should keep it until you notice any signs of failure.

Can a bad power supply damage other PC components?

Yes, a bad power supply can damage other PC components if it receives unstable voltage. It can also cause other issues, such as failing to power up, unexpected shutdowns, and BSOD errors.

How long do power supplies typically last?

Power supplies last between five to ten years. However, the lifespan will be shortened if you continuously put your PSU under a lot of stress.


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Abde Manaf
Abde Manaf
Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.

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