When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?
Are you trying to decide whether it is time to replace or repair your air conditioner? If so, there are various signs you should watch out for and various factors to consider to determine if it is time, including the age of your AC unit, the performance, efficiency, and the cost of such repairs. Keeping a few things in mind will help you come up with a plan of action in the event your AC breaks down on an extremely hot day.
Signs of an Issue with Your AC
Certain signs may signal an issue with your AC including:
- Frequent breakdowns
- An increase in the levels of humidity in your home
- Water or refrigerant leaks
- Increasing or excessive vibrations or noise such as grinding or squealing
- A huge increase in your electric bills
- Issues with the thermostat
- Hot air blowing out of the AC unit
- Poor flow of air that may be caused by areas of the home cooling unevenly
- Moldy or burning odors coming from the AC unit point to problems with moisture build-up.
- Dust accumulation in your home due to poor AC ventilation
Things to Consider Prior to Replacing an AC Unit
Since a new AC is a huge investment, there are some things you can use to help you make a decision on whether you should replace or repair your AC unit. Sometimes it makes more sense to just have your AC replaced instead of having it repaired. It all depends on the issue you are having. For example, it may be something as simple as a new air filter or as complicated as a new air compressor.
Age of AC Unit
Normally, an AC unit has a life expectancy anywhere between 10 to 15 years. If you keep your unit well-maintained, it may even perform longer. If your AC unit is older than 10 years, you are experiencing consistent issues, and the warranty has expired, you may want to consider purchasing a new entire AC unit. However, if your AC is less than 10 years old, and you have kept it well-maintained, and it hasn’t experienced any big failure, you should consider having it repaired.
A new AC unit cost can be pretty steep. If you already have an AC unit that is still considerably new, it doesn’t make any sense to replace it. However, if the cost of these repairs exceeds the cost of a new unit or thousands of dollars, it definitely makes sense to replace it, no matter how new your unit is.
Most HVAC professionals use the $5,000 rule as a general guide. You can multiply the repair cost by the age of the unit. If that amount is more than $5,000, then it may be in your best interest to replace the entire unit. If the amount is less than $5,000, consider repairing it.
Refrigerant Availability and Impact on the Environment
Most AC units that are over 10 years old use R022 Freon refrigerant. It is no longer produced in the U.S. legally, as of 2020. This means that the remaining equipment can cost much more than the refrigerant that is readily available today, which is R-410a. This refrigerant is used in newer AC units. Not only will this make any refrigerant repairs more costly, it can be challenging to fix, but. The product can also be harmful to the environment.
Energy Bill Costs
No matter how well you keep your older AC unit maintained, it will never be as efficient as a newer system. AC units that are from the 1990s REQUIRE A SEER rating of at least 10 and changed to 13 in 2006, and 14 in 2015. Newer AC units require a SEER rating of more than 20. All AC units use a SEER rating to measure how efficient they are.
Additionally, if the unit is not the correct size for your home or the incorrect amount of refrigerant is used, it can affect energy efficiency.
If you are redecorating your home, you may have made the decision that an old-looking unit is too unattractive to hold on to, no matter how well it may still be working.
Final WordIf you have already contacted a local HVAC professional to take a look at your AC unit, then it is all about weighing the types of air conditioner | air conditioning with installation. If you do make the decision to purchase a brand new unit, you should remember that any alterations that are significant to the ventilation or ductwork may require a license or permit to handle the chemicals from the refrigerant. It is not recommended to install a new AC unit on your own.