Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner
If you’re experiencing any of the following situations with your AC, it may be time to consider replacing your unit.
Consistently High Energy Bills
While energy costs naturally fluctuate with the seasons, you should have a general idea of what to expect based on past bills. If your bills are consistently higher than anticipated, it could be a sign that your central air unit is no longer efficient. As AC units age, their efficiency declines. Upgrading to a newer unit can save you money in the long run by reducing your utility costs.
Assuming you’ve been keeping up with regular HVAC maintenance, your AC should be able to cool your home effectively. However, if you notice that your AC never reaches the desired temperature set on your thermostat, it may be struggling to keep up with cooling demands. Aging air conditioners become less efficient over time. If a technician can’t identify a specific problem after inspecting your unit, it may be time to consider a replacement with better cooling capacity.
AC repairs can be expensive, especially as units age and finding replacement parts becomes more challenging. Consider the frequency and cost of repairs over time. If the total amount spent on repairs multiplied by the unit’s age exceeds the cost of a new unit, it’s more cost-effective to opt for a replacement.
Age Exceeding Life Expectancy
Repairing an AC that’s past its expected lifespan is not a wise financial decision. Just as it wouldn’t make sense to invest in repairing an old car that frequently breaks down, spending money on an aged AC unit is not a good investment. If your AC is older than 15 to 20 years, it’s advisable to replace it rather than continue repairing it.
Safety should always be a top priority for homeowners. If an HVAC technician identifies your AC unit as a potential source of carbon monoxide or a fire hazard, replacing the unit is necessary to ensure the safety of your household. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential safety risks.
Additionally, consider the environmental impact of your air conditioner. Older units often use R-22 Freon refrigerant, which is now banned due to its harmful effect on the ozone layer. Replacing an older unit can help reduce environmental hazards.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to consider replacing your air conditioner. Consult with a qualified HVAC professional to assess your specific situation and determine the best course of action.
You can expect a typical central air conditioning unit to last about 15 years. Some of the newer, high-efficiency models boast a lifespan of closer to 20 years. Still, these are averages, not guarantees, so don’t be too surprised if your unit calls it quits at year 12 or 13.
When Is It Better to Repair Your Air Conditioner?
If your air conditioner needs a fairly simple and inexpensive repair, like fixing a clogged condenser unit or replacing a worn fan belt, it’s likely best to go ahead with the repair, even if you have an older unit. But, if the repair is going to be a costly fix and your AC system is, say, 10 years or older, it may not be worth it.
The 50% Rule
If your repairs are going to cost more than half the cost of a full replacement, it’s probably best to replace your air conditioner instead of repairing it, even if your unit is super old. This rule can be used for other appliance repairs, too — you just don’t want to spend more than half the cost of the unit on repairs if you can help it.
Sometimes, It’s Better to Replace Your Air Conditioner
Consider the Long Run
Replacing an older unit in lieu of expensive repairs can save you money in the long run, especially if your unit keeps having issues. Plus, many HVAC systems stop cooling your home as efficiently as they age. So, if this is the case with your air conditioning and you’ve noticed an unexplained increase in your energy bill, consider how much money you’ll save on energy costs with a new Energy Star-certified air conditioning unit.
Your Air Conditioner Poses Safety Risks
You never want to mess around with safety as a homeowner. If an HVAC service technician tells you that your AC unit is producing carbon monoxide or is a fire hazard, replacing the unit is necessary. It is always better safe than sorry. Keep your household safe by replacing an air conditioning unit that poses any safety risk.