As the scorching Southern California summer starts, you may have concerns about the performance of your air conditioning system and whether it is better to have a new one installed this year. You may have noticed the AC does not work as well as you wanted last summer, or perhaps you think that the unit is old enough that continuing with repairs will be a bigger money drain.
If you are considering replacing your air conditioner, you will want to make sure that you know whether you actually need to replace it or not. There are many factors that you should consider before you replace your existing air conditioner. Keep in mind that modern air conditioners can last upwards of fifteen years. For homeowners with older air conditioners, the decision often becomes whether to repair the unit or replace it entirely.
Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner
This may sound obvious, but if your A/C is getting older, you should start preparing for the purchase of a new unit. Modern air conditioners are built to last 10-15 years, but the lifespan can vary depending on how much you take care of them and use them. Your heating and cooling systems last longer when they are properly maintained, such as by cleaning the system’s filters and air ducts routinely. Unlike furnaces, air conditioners are often outdoors and exposed to extreme temperatures throughout the year, which shortens their life expectancy.
A well-maintained air conditioner will usually reach 15 years. A system that’s older is at increased chance of a decline in efficiency, extensive repair needs, and major malfunctions like compressor burn-out that will make a replacement a necessity. We recommend giving serious consideration to replacing a central AC that’s more than 15 years old.
Your Unit Requires Frequent and Expensive Repairs
When your air conditioner was new, it probably needed next to no repairs. You can expect a few repairs to pop up in later years, but you still should not need to call for a technician to fix the AC more than once a year. All air conditioning systems require regular maintenance work throughout their lifespan to ensure that they can keep functioning normally. You will occasionally need to call a professional for repairs when there are major faults in the unit.
If you are getting yearly A/C tune-ups from qualified technicians, your air conditioner should not be experiencing breakdowns during the summer. Many common A/C issues are caused by a lack of maintenance, and getting your unit maintained will prevent them. HVAC technicians are also able to preemptively spot and correct any issues your A/C might be experiencing before the summer season begins.
If you find yourself paying for expensive repairs quite often, it is a sign that your air conditioner is not just old. It is time to replace it. The cost for expensive repairs can add up over the years, and you could end up paying half the price of a new system in repairs for your current AC.
Utility Bills Are Increasing
Unless there are any sudden changes in your home’s energy use, your energy bill should stay around the same amount every month, fluctuating a bit for furnace and A/C season. If your energy use habits have stayed the same but your monthly bill has noticeably increased, it might be time for a new air conditioner. As age catches up with an air conditioner and time leaves its mark, the system will draw on more power to run.
This irreversible climb in the cost to run the air conditioner usually means that your air conditioner is either malfunctioning or losing efficiency. Energy bills often start rising as an air conditioner gets older, so the two issues can be related.
Also keep in mind that older AC units are less energy efficient than the current AC units. Replacing your ac unit can save you a lot of money and increase the energy efficiency of your AC.
Hot Spots Around the House
One of the biggest warnings that you have an air conditioner that is coming to the end of its life cycle is when it no longer can provide sufficient cool air to condition all the rooms. When you notice that rooms that are the farthest away from the AC are warmer than usual, it is time to call for a technician to see if you should repair or replace the system.
Your AC Uses R-22 Freon
Starting on January 1, 2020, Freon is no longer being produced in the U.S. This may not sound like a big deal, but it could affect your home more than you think! If you own an air conditioner that is over ten years old, it likely uses a refrigerant known as R-22 Freon. R-22 has been found to have negative effects on the environment, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is phasing it out of use.
If your A/C uses Freon, you can still keep and use your A/C. However, you should start preparing for a replacement. If your air conditioner suffers a breakdown now since the new regulations and needs a Freon refill for the repair, you will have to replace your A/C with a unit that does not use the R-22 refrigerant.
What to Do When Your Air Conditioning Stops Working
When your home does not seem to be cooling like it did in its prime, there are a few steps you can take on your own:
- Check Your Circuit Breaker
Check both the outdoor unit circuit breaker and the one in your house at the panel box. Make sure they are in the ON position.
- Check Your Indoor Coil to See If It Is Frozen
You will be able to see ice on your indoor coil if it is frozen. Not sure where your coil is? Look at your indoor air handler or at your furnace to find it! If the coil is frozen, it is likely because you are low on refrigerant, the blower is not pushing at peak efficiency or your coil is dirty
The last thing you want on a hot, sticky, humid summer day is to flip that switch to “on” and nothing happens. When your air conditioner sits idle for at least half the year, maintenance or a tune up is a necessity.
You can always count on the Aire-Tech to keep your home cool. Perhaps you need repairs, new thermostat installation, or preventative maintenance—whatever the HVAC issue is, Aire-Tech is ready to help. If your system needs repair or inspection before summer, call us on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.