The average lifespan of an air conditioner unit is ten to fifteen years. If you have an HVAC system at home, it can last up to twenty years. Of course, your air conditioning system must be properly maintained to function effectively and last a long time.
Knowing when to replace an inefficient air conditioning system is as important as choosing a new AC unit. It is essential to keep in mind that even a well-maintained AC of a certain age can run into problems.
If you recognize any of the signs below, it would be best if you get in touch with an HVAC professional right away to replace air conditioner. They will recommend if repair is an option or if you need to shop for a replacement unit.
The unit does not cool the house evenly
Are some rooms in your house cooler than others? If so, it’s a clear sign your old air conditioner is no longer working as efficiently. However, the uneven temperature does not always mean your unit is inefficient. If you have a unit that’s just a few years old, the unit is likely too small for your home. And sometimes, areas like lofts will feel warmer than the rest of your home.
If your home feels humid, that’s often a telltale sign your AC unit needs to be replaced. Air conditioners work by absorbing warm air, removing its moisture, cooling it, and sending it back into the house as cool air. When it feels humid, even if your AC is on, is it likely that the airflow is obstructed.
However, if you just had the system checked or repaired, it might be an indication you need to get a new one.
The AC emits unusual odors
Normally, your air conditioning unit should not emit questionable or strange smells. If you notice a moldy or musty smell emanating from your AC unit, have it checked by a technician right away. The same is recommended if you notice a burning smell emanating from your system.
Strange and questionable smells from your AC unit happen for various reasons. Dirty air filters, mold in the drip pan, or evaporated filters can be the culprit. In similar cases, repairing the system would suffice. However, there are also instances when the problem is too significant to repair, and replacing the unit is the only option.
Ideally, HVAC maintenance service should be carried out at least twice yearly. Regular maintenance checks can help ensure problems are detected before they damage the entire system and require costly repairs. A seasoned HVAC technician can help you determine if repairing the system or investing in a new one is the best option.
You notice a steady spike in your energy bills
A massive portion of your energy bill can be attributed to cooling. However, if the energy bill has been consistently higher than usual, you might need to check if your AC has become inefficient. An aging AC system can become inefficient after years of wear and tear.
If you want to be sure your AC unit is the reason for the spike in the energy bill, carrying out a home energy audit can help. The test is designed to determine if the problem is caused by air leaks, inadequate insulation, or an obsolete AC. If the problem is caused by your AC system, investing in a new unit with the Energy Star logo is ideal.
You hear unusual sounds from the unit
Do you hear grinding, rattling, banging, squealing, and other similar noises from your AC unit? One of the primary causes for the unusual sounds is blockage caused by debris and dust. It is also likely that the compressor is already faulty, and the motor simply needs to be lubricated.
Fortunately, these are maintenance issues that can be quickly resolved. However, if your unit has exceeded fifteen years, the best option would be replacement instead of just repair.
Your AC unit uses the R-22 refrigerant
Air conditioning systems use a gas known as a refrigerant. It helps cool the air inside the house. All AC systems that were manufactured before January 2010 use the R-22 refrigerant known as freon. Freon gas contains ozone-depleted agents that are detrimental to the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that all newer air conditioners use only eco-friendly refrigerants. Check your AC system’s nameplate to determine if it’s still using R-22 freon gas. If so, buying a new AC unit is recommended–and will be your only option if it develops a leak.
You constantly have to call a technician for repairs
If you have to call a technician more often than usual to have your AC unit checked or repaired, replacing it is likely overdue. While home appliances would last long with regular upkeep and maintenance, your AC should not require more than two maintenance checks yearly.
Repair and maintenance costs can add up over time and can end up costing more than a new one. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have to spend half the cost of a new AC unit for repairs, getting a new one is a better option.
The signs above often indicate your unit needs to be replaced. If you decide to replace it, consider it best to check with a professional, so you will know what unit will work for your home best. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market but don’t know whether you should replace your air conditioning unit before doing so, give one of our experienced realtors at Eng Garcia a call. We can help you decide what makes the most sense both in terms of money and convenience.
About the Author
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of New AC Unit. Aside from heading the company’s content marketing strategies, she writes articles about how to stay fit and energy-efficient home living.