4 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your AC
Owning a home comes with several difficult decisions, often daily. Everyone has heard that investing in a home by making repairs or replacements will increase its value, but figuring out how to do that is often a difficult choice. For example, should the kitchen be updated? Should the basement be finished? The answer is not always clear and straightforward.
For an HVAC system, the decision-making process is even more challenging. Unless a person is a trained and experienced HVAC technician, it can be difficult to know if a malfunctioning air conditioning unit requires new batteries in the thermostat or a more in-depth repair. If the unit is older, the decision may be if the unit should be repaired or completely replaced.
Making the decision to replace an old air conditioner is an important one. After all, new air conditioning installation is not cheap. While modern units can last up to 15 years, they will all require repairs and replacement at some point. When trying to choose a new unit, it is important to find one that works with the house or property.
Like older vehicles, a central air unit shows signs of failure before they stop working altogether. Knowing the signs of an issue is the best way to get ready to invest in a new one if it comes to that. Some of the top signs that an AC unit is getting close to the end of its life can be found here.
1. The System is Over 10 Years Old
While this may seem obvious, if a unit is getting older, they should get ready to purchase a new one. Unlike a furnace, air conditioners are usually installed outside and exposed to the elements, including extreme temperatures, all year long. This will significantly shorten the system’s life expectancy. Modern units may last for 15 to 20 years while older units only last about 10 to 12 years.
The efficiency and health of an AC are dependent on several factors, including if the unit is maintained properly. If a homeowner skipped regular tune-ups, the lifespan may be much shorter than it was meant to be. The lifespan of the unit may also be impacted by how often the unit is used, how humid and hot it gets in the area, and if the unit is the right size for the home. If the unit was maintained and kept in good repair during its life, a replacement will likely be needed every 10 to 15 years. Remember, as a unit gets older, the parts may no longer be available. If someone is unable to replace something that is broken, HVAC replacement will be the only option.
2. The Unit Breaks Down Often
If a person is investing in annual AC tune-ups from a qualified technician, their AC should not experience serious breakdowns during the summer months. Some of the most common AC problems result from no maintenance. Having the unit maintained will help prevent these issues. An HVAC technician will also be able to preemptively find and fix any problems with the unit before the hotter weather arrives.
If an AC begins to experience several issues, one after another, then replacement may be the best option. As time passes, the cost of the repairs will wind up costing more than a new unit. This is especially true if the warranty for the unit has expired.
3. Higher Than Normal Energy Bills
Unless there are sudden and noticeable changes in a person’s home energy use, their energy bill should remain the same month after month, fluctuating a bit during the change of the season. If a person’s energy habits are basically the same, but their energy costs are climbing, it could be time to invest in a new air conditioner.
Higher energy costs may indicate the AC is either malfunctioning or that it is not as efficient as it once was. Energy bills can begin to go up as the unit gets older, which means these two things may be related. Receiving a higher energy bill one or two times a year is no huge cause of concern. However, if costs continue to go up with no signs of going down, it may be time to start thinking about replacing it.
4. The Unit Still Uses R-22 Freon
As of January 1, 2020, Freon was no longer produced in the United States. This may not sound like too big of a deal; however, it may affect a person’s home more than they think it could. If the home still has a unit that is more than a decade old installed, there is a good chance it uses R-22 Freon. Unfortunately, this substance can have negative impacts on the environment, which is why the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is phasing out its use.
If the air conditioner a person has still used Freon, there is no need to panic just yet. They can continue using their unit, even now. However, they should get ready to invest in a replacement. If the AC breaks down after the date mentioned above and Freon is needed to repair it, there will not be any available for use. This is when a homeowner will have no other option but to replace their air conditioner. It is also why it is such a good idea to start planning for this replacement now.
Call for a Replacement Before a Total AC Breakdown Occurs
Unfortunately, every homeowner must deal with a broken-down system at some point. When this issue occurs, the best thing they can do is call for repairs or replacements right away. If the problem persists, it will only cause more issues and create the possibility that the homeowner and everyone living in the house, will be uncomfortable because the AC is not functioning properly.
Being informed and knowing the signs of a problem with the AC unit is the best way to ensure the desired results are achieved. Keep this in mind to avoid serious issues down the road.