How do I know it’s time to replace my air conditioner?
To replace or repair, again? Replacing your old AC unit is a significant investment, and it’s understandable why you consider and reconsider the decision.
How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?
On average, an AC unit lifespan is about 10 to 15 years, but if you have an HVAC system, it could last as long as 20 years. Of course, your old AC system has to be well maintained to last that long functioning efficiently. In this blog, we will share with you the most important signs that will help you decide when to replace your air conditioner.
1. You Frequently Have to Call a Technician for Repairs
If it feels like you have had to call in a technician to make repairs to your old AC all too often, then maybe another repair will not suffice. While all home appliances require constant maintenance and upkeep, your AC system should not need repairs year after year.
These repair costs add up with time and end up costing you more than a brand-new AC system. A good rule of thumb you can follow and make a wise decision is that if you have to fork out half the costs of a new system for the repairs, then getting a new one is the best choice.
2. The AC Doesn’t Cool the House Evenly, and It Feels Humid
Have you noticed that some rooms in your home feel cooler than others? If so, this is a sign that your old AC is no longer as efficient as it used to be.
If your home feels humid, it is also a sign that your old AC needs replacing. Air conditioners work by absorbing warm air, removing its moisture, cooling it, and sending it back in the house as cool air. It could be that the airflow is obstructed, but if you recently had the system repaired, then it may be time to get a new AC system.
3. The AC Emits Odors
An AC should never emit strange or questionable smells, so if you smell a musty or moldy smell, you need to have a technician look at it. The same goes if you smell a burning odor from the system. There is a chance that the issue may be mold in the drip pan, dirty air filters, or evaporated coils, all of which can be repaired.
However, the problem could be too major to repair, and you may need to replace it. It’s always advisable to complete system maintenance at least twice a year so that such problems are detected before they damage the whole system.
4. Unusual Sounds from the Unit
Have you noticed a grinding sound from the system every time you walk by? Maybe you heard rattling, squealing, banging, or other similar noises that were never there before. One of the most significant reasons for a loud AC is a blockage from dust and debris. However, the compressor could be faulty, and the motor could simply need some lubrication.
Most of the time, these are just maintenance issues that you can resolve easily. However, if your AC lifespan has exceeded the average 15 years, the problem may be too major for a repair and a replacement could be better.
5. Your Energy Bills Are Going Higher
A major portion of your energy bill goes to cooling, but if it’s gotten to the point where you notice the bill is too high, it may be because of an inefficient AC system. One of the biggest problems of having an old AC system is inefficiency, though, after years of wear and tear, it’s no surprise its life is coming to an end.
If you want to prove that the AC is the reason for the high energy bills before replacing it, conducting a home energy audit will help you make a determination. This test will give you a verification of whether the problem is caused by inadequate insulation, air leaks, or the old AC. If the AC happens to be the problem, then get a new system with an Energy Star logo for ultimate efficiency.
6. The AC Requires the R-22 Refrigerant
AC systems require a gas known as a refrigerant that cools the air inside a house. All AC systems manufactured before January 2010 use the R-22 refrigerant, known as Freon. This refrigerant contains ozone depleted agents that are dangerous for the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency specifies that new AC models use eco-friendly refrigerants. Check the nameplate of your AC system to see whether it’s still using the R-22 and if so, it’s the best time to buy an air conditioner.