Replacing your air conditioning system is a significant investment, and the decision to do so should be made with careful consideration. While every AC unit reaches a point where it needs to be repaired, there are a few key signs that can help you determine whether or not your system has reached the end of its lifespan.
The Age of Your AC System
The lifespan of an air conditioning unit varies, with older ones typically lasting 10-12 years and newer models lasting 15-20. However, many factors other than age affect lifespan, such as proper maintenance. Yearly maintenance checks and tune-ups from Brackett Heating and Air HVAC technician can help identify small issues before they become extensive problems, and thus help extend the system’s lifespan.
Another factor that comes into play is how often you use your unit. Does your household constantly run the air conditioning at a low temperature throughout the whole summer? This type of usage can force your system to unnecessarily overwork itself, which can, in turn, cut down its lifespan.
All in all, if your system is around 12 years old, it’s best to start planning to buy a new one. Generally, it’s not worth investing in an AC unit that’s nearing the end of its lifespan. If you’re unsure of the age of your unit, reach out to Brackett Heating and Air for an estimate.
Frequent HVAC Repairs
Does your air conditioner constantly need repairs? Whether it’s an odd noise or a complete breakdown, those frequent repairs might be a sign that it is time for a replacement. This is especially true if you’re getting yearly maintenance checks.
Ask yourself, “Are these repairs accomplishing something, or are they just putting a band-aid over a bullet wound?” The more breakdowns you have, the more money you will be spending. At some point, it will be more cost-effective to invest in a new AC unit rather than keep repairing an old one.
If your AC unit constantly needs one repair after the other, we suggest that you look into replacing your old unit with a new one.
Poor Air Flow
Another sign that your air conditioning unit is coming to the end of its life is based on the quality of airflow you receive. There are a few ways you can judge whether your AC unit has poor airflow.
- Your house takes a significant amount of time to cool down.
- Your house is never completely cool.
- When you stand beside your vents you do not feel a cool rush of air coming from them.
These are all indicators that you have poor airflow. The signs above could simply represent a blockage in your air ducts or filter, or a failing compressor in your AC unit. We recommend that you first try replacing your air filter to see if that improves airflow. If not, call Brackett Heating and Air for a closer inspection.
Higher Energy Bills
Do you find your energy bill has increased significantly? Although your energy bills may fluctuate with the weather, a drastic and consistent increase can be cause for concern. Keep in mind that if you notice your energy bill gets high once or twice but then returns to normal, there should be no cause for worry.
A high energy bill could be a sign that your AC unit is becoming less efficient and is working harder than it needs to. This can lead to a spike in your energy bill as the unit uses more energy to try to cool your home.
An increased energy bill is often the result of an outdated air conditioner that has had many years of wear and tear. If you notice a substantial and consistent increase in your energy bill, it might be time to replace your AC unit.
HVAC Produces a Bad Smell
Another way to tell if your AC unit needs to be replaced is by identifying the smell it emits. A properly functioning unit will generate a neutral and unintrusive smell. If you smell a burning or smoky smell coming from your AC unit, that could indicate that its wire insulation has burned out. Turn off your system and call Brackett Heating and Air to help you identify the issue.
AC Requires R-22 Refrigerant Use
One of the main factors to consider when replacing your AC unit is based on what type of chemical it uses to cool your home. R-22 Freon is the main chemical used to cool the home in many older HVAC systems. If your air conditioner is 10+ years old, it presumably takes R-22 Freon. While this chemical has been used to cool down homes for many years in the past, as of January 1, 2020, the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) banned both the importation and production of R-22 Freon.
The updated chemical in newer AC units is called R410-A Puron. If your unit uses R-22 Freon, it’s best to start thinking about updating your AC unit to one that uses R410-A Puron in the near future.
Does your air conditioning unit show multiple signs listed above? There’s a good chance it’s time to replace it with an updated system. While you don’t need to buy a new unit today, you can start to plan for this purchase so you are prepared when the time comes.
Pay attention to the performance of your AC unit and give the professionals at Brackett Heating and Air a call when you’re ready to replace your old unit with a new one.