5 signs that you need a new air conditioner
Keeping your air conditioner in working order
Air conditioners must be kept in good condition so that they can properly cool the rooms when the temperatures start to rise. Proper maintenance of your air conditioner will ensure that it lives a longer, more energy-efficient life.
That being said, sometimes air conditioners get to the point when they need to be replaced.
Determining when to replace your air conditioner is not an exact science. There are no set rules that can tell you when it’s time to replace the air conditioning unit. Having said that, here are five tell-tale signs that indicate that you need to call King for a free in-home AC installation estimate.
1. Consider the age of the air conditioner
The fact is that older air conditioners are less efficient than newer, current models. According to Energy Star, you should consider replacing your air conditioner if it is more than 10 years old, and you should seriously consider replacing the air conditioner if it’s more than 15 years old—as this is the average lifespan of most cooling devices.
What is the typical lifespan of an air conditioner in your home?
If you’re a homeowner and you have had to purchase a new AC unit, or just had AC problems in the past, you have probably asked yourself at one point or another, “What is the typical lifespan of an air conditioner?” This is a good question. After all, a new air conditioner is a major investment for any homeowner, and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
The answer to this question can be a bit complex, but the good news is that, by choosing to work with a company like King that installs systems from a reliable manufacturer like Carrier, you can rest easy knowing they have spent a lot of time testing and improving their units for lasting reliability.
Realistically, an air conditioner’s lifespan can vary widely for several different reasons. In this article, we’ll discuss all of the factors that play a role in the life expectancy of your AC unit. With adequate upkeep and proper maintenance, you can expect a new system to last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
What are the factors that influence the lifespan of an air conditioner?
Just like your car, you’ll need to perform regular tune-ups and maintenance on your HVAC system. Some people think that once the unit stops working for the first time, and it’s no longer under its warranty, that it’s time for a new one. Another person might put in money to make the repairs, even if they cost a lot, to keep the system running for a few additional years. This decision plays a significant role in determining how long an AC unit lasts.
Beyond maintenance, some of the other factors that play into the lifespan of your system include:
- Proper installation
- Amount of month-to-month wear-and-tear and personal comfort settings within your home
- Climate factors, such as extreme cold or high humidity
- Air quality factors (salty sea breeze or other corrosives in the air)
How often is your unit being used?
It might be better to ask yourself, “how long do AC units last in my area?” Obviously, a unit that is used more than average will naturally go through more wear-and-tear compared to a unit that only runs for half the year. Here in the Chicago area, we deal with hot, humid summers, so your air conditioner will have to work hard to keep your home comfortable.
Personal preference plays a huge role here, too. If you decide to keep your AC set at 70 degrees all summer, that will require it to run much more frequently than the neighbors next door who keep their thermostat set at 78 degrees. Take this example and stretch it over 15 years, with similar maintenance schedules, and you’ll be able to see the huge difference in usage of each unit.
Are you keeping up with annual maintenance?
The number one rule with any piece of machinery is that preventative maintenance matters. When was the last time you had a professional come out and tune up your air conditioner? Do you regularly change the air filters? Do you clean the outdoor unit and keep dirt, debris, and leaves from clogging it up?
As you can expect, it is essential to keep up with this maintenance if you want to extend the life of your AC unit. It’s easy for a homeowner to inspect and replace an air filter every other month, no problem. But, scheduling a seasonal tune-up will allow the service technician to find smaller problems before they become big, AC breakdown-causing problems. At King, our technicians inspect things like the compressor, evaporator, condenser coils, the fan and motor parts, and the condensate drains. They will also be able to make the necessary adjustments and minor repairs that will improve performance and keep the system operating near peak energy efficiency.
What is your unit being exposed to?
Think about it: your air conditioner sits outside all day, every day, for so many years. It is exposed to the elements. And, depending on where you reside, it could potentially be taking a beating. Here in Chicago, for example, our air conditioners are exposed to freezing temperatures during the winter.
To protect and help extend the life of your outdoor unit, you can have a professional clean the coil regularly to make sure it is free of dirt and other potentially corrosive debris. You can also go and remove any leaves, pine needles, mulch, or trash that accumulates in the unit as well. Just be careful and make sure the air conditioner’s fan is off while you do these things.
2. Apply the $5,000 rule
Some experts recommend using the $5,000 rule to consider whether you should replace the unit. Just multiply the age of the cooling device with the repair cost. If the amount is more than $5,000, you should consider replacing the unit. Otherwise, it’s better to repair the unit.
For instance, if your air conditioner is 8 years old and the repair cost comes to around $400, that equals $3,200. You should have King repair the air conditioner. However, if the repair costs $700 for the same air conditioner, it equals $5,600 and so you should consider having King replace the air conditioner with a new one.
What is the right time for air conditioning replacement?
Sometimes its difficult to let things go. We like to hold on to things as long as possible to make sure that we get every bit of use out of it. This even applies to Air Conditioning units. When it comes time for replacement, it’s often difficult to determine what time is the right time to let go of the old and make way for the new. So how do you determine whether of not it’s the right time to consider replacing your old air conditioning unit- that is before it stops working completely, that one is kind of a given. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to wrap your head around whether it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit or if you can hold on to your current ac for a few more years.
Ask yourself these questions to help gain some insight on whether of not it is time to replace your air conditioning unit. By answering these questions, you will be able to make a more informed and educated decision when it comes to investing in a new ac unit.
How old is your current a/c unit?
The age of your current A/C unit is one of the biggest determining factors when considering replacement. The average unit has a lifespan of 12-15 years. If you get 15 years of cooling power out of your air conditioning unit, consider that a successful life! If your a/c is reaching it’s elderly years and just doesn’t have the same pizzaz that it used to, it might be time to consider a replacement.
However, if it is getting up there in age but still works just fine, you might be able to get more time out of it before a replacement is needed. Before you decide to replace your a/c or hold onto it for a few more years, consider it’s age and determine how many more good years it might have left.
Has your AC needed a lot of repair work?
Looking back at your air conditioner’s history will give you a better picture of it’s future. Does it seem like your a/c has needed to under-go repair work year after year? Has it had a lot of unforeseen problems that have popped up? If your a/c unit has had a difficult life, it’s not likely to suddenly get easier as time goes on. The amount of repair work done on an air conditioning unit will help you to get a glimpse into it’s future and see what the road ahead might look like. If that road looks like it’s full of repairs, expenses, and an a/c that keeps breaking down, an air conditioning replacement might be the way to go.
How is your AC currently working?
Take an inventory of your air conditioning unit’s status. Here are some ways to recognize if your air conditioner is working properly.
- The temperature in your home remains at the optimum temperature without a lot of fluctuation.
- The rooms throughout your home are being evenly cooled.
- Your unit isn’t making loud or strange sounds when it turns on.
- Your energy bills are consistent and not showing elevated energy use caused from the cooling system.
Life moves quickly and without you even noticing, your air conditioner could be struggling. It’s important to take some time and do some research to find out if your a/c is working just as well as it always has, or if there are some problems that need to be addressed. If you find that your air conditioner is not in top-notch condition, have an HVAC professional come and do an inspection of your unit. They will be able to tell you if there are simple repairs that can be made to fix the problem, or if there are bigger problems to start thinkin
How energy efficient is your air conditioning system?
As a homeowner, you likely hear about “energy efficiency” all of the time. There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency in your home, and your HVAC system is a big item on that list! Approximately 50% of a homes energy bill is attributed to it’s heating and cooling costs. If the system in your home is becoming even slightly less efficient you are sure to see this reflected in your monthly energy bill. Older units are less energy efficient that newer models. This means less repairs, lower energy bills, and a longer a/c lifespan. So while investing in a new unit might seem expensive, it will ultimately save you money in the long run.
Has your air conditioning unit been well cared for?
It might seem silly to think of having to pamper your a/c unit and give it special treatment, but if you have, your unit is likely to last much longer with fewer problems than an air conditioning unit that has been neglected. If you have had annual air conditioning tune-ups, replaced the filters frequently, kept your unit clean and well protected from the elements outside, you are likely to get many more years out of your unit than if you haven’t looked at it since it was installed. Compare it to your vehicle, what would happen if you went years without taking your car in for a tune-up or an oil change. Would you expect it to last very long? Probably not. Same goes for your air conditioning unit. Giving it a little extra TLC increases it’s life-span and improves its quality.
3. Think about the frequency of repairs
Consider whether the air conditioner requires frequent repairs. If the answer is “yes,” you should consider replacing the air conditioner. Otherwise, it’s best to repair the equipment.
You should particularly consider replacing the system if the repair costs are more than 50 percent of the price of a new air conditioner. Consult with the air conditioning technicians at King to find out how much repairs will cost, as well as the cost of the a system. From there, you can make an appropriate decision.
When to consider AC repair
- If your system still has life ahead of it: If your air conditioner is less than ten years old, it may not be time to throw in the towel just yet. Most cared-for AC systems can last past 15 years, so getting rid of your current system may not be as appealing if it hasn’t reached the peak of its lifespan.
- If the repair is a one-off affair: If this repair is a one-time thing that isn’t likely to become a recurring issue, it might be worth fixing the system. When you have a professional from King Heating and Cooling look over your system, be sure to ask them what they think. If they indicate that there’s other damage that could cause further breakdowns, that should probably come into your decision-making process.
- If you can get professional help for a great price: Before you start adding up the price of repairs on the calculator, consider that King Heating and Cooling offers regular specials and coupons for our services that may make a repair far more feasible.
- If you like your air conditioner: This is more important than most people think. If you really like the cooling power of your air conditioner and your current electricity bills, it makes sense to put the money into the system to keep it running. Of course, the opposite may be true. Again, every cooling situation is different. If you’re struggling to weigh the positives and negatives, ask the professionals.
When to consider AC replacement
- If the price is right: It’s true for repairs, and it’s true for new air conditioning systems, as well. King Heating and Cooling regularly offers special deals on new AC installations, and we can match you to the right system for your cooling needs. If the cost of your repair even begins to approach the cost of a new system, don’t hesitate to opt for the new air conditioner. You may even make up the cost gap in energy savings!
- If you need something more efficient: Nevermind the system breaking. Even before your old air conditioner stopped working, it was leading to some eye-popping electricity bills. For an older system, there’s only so much that regular maintenance can do. Eventually, a new system may make sense on the grounds of energy efficiency alone.
- You want to boost your home’s resale value: Even if you’re not planning on selling your home right now, a new air conditioner can increase your home’s value if you do have to move. It could even be the difference between making a sale or just missing out.
4. Replace an air conditioner that requires R-22
Older air conditioners generally require R-22 refrigerant, which is known to cause great damage to the environment. If your air conditioner uses this refrigerant, you should consider replacing it with a new one.
Another reason for replacing the air conditioner with a one that doesn’t use R-22 is that the price of this refrigerant has increased considerably. In addition, the production of the refrigerant has ended. You may still have access to the refrigerant if you have an older model that needs repairs but all new units come with the latest R410-A refrigerant.
5. Consider the energy efficiency of the air conditioner (and the energy savings of a new air conditioner)
A new air conditioner is highly energy efficient, resulting in lower energy bills. Also, many states offer tax credits to the homeowners that purchase highly energy-efficient systems. So, you should consider replacing the unit if it will save you money in the form of lower bills and tax incentives.
Save energy this summer by switching your old AC to a new model
This summer season, do yourself and your family a favor by considering switching your old AC to a new model. Make the change from your current, worn-out AC unit to an energy-efficient Carrier system. It’s easy to enjoy the many benefits such a change can offer.
King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to keep you and everyone else in your home as comfortable as possible no matter the time of year. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of upgrading to a new air conditioner this summer.
Boost your home’s energy-efficiency
While installing your new unit, you might find out that there are several reasons your home isn’t as energy efficient or kept as comfortable as you’d like for it to be. For instance, it might be that you need a new unit and that your home’s insulation isn’t as great as it should be.
There might also be energy leaks in your home as well as leaks around your windows and doors that need to be addressed. There’s little need to get a new air conditioner and leave it at that if more work needs to be done to your property.
Invest money rather than waste it
When you spend money on repairs to an older HVAC unit that’s really starting to show its age, what you’re doing is wasting money rather than making a good investment. This is because your money is better spent on a newer unit that will last longer, rather than on a unit that’s likely going to completely fail soon.
Get the right-sized unit for your home
You can also save energy by getting the correctly-sized air conditioner for your property. Units that are either too big or too small drive up energy costs. Also, a unit that’s too large for your home is likely to fail faster than an accurately-sized unit.
This is why it’s vital that you choose a reputable and experienced company (like King!) for switching your old AC to a new model.
Call King for a free in-home quote on a new air conditioner
If you want to gauge the condition of your existing air conditioner, schedule an inspection with our professional technicians today! We also offer free in-home estimates if you’re shopping for a new air conditioner.