6 Signs to Watch for That Tell You It’s Time to Replace Your AC
As the summer approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your air conditioning or HVAC system. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how long it’s been since the system was first installed. If the last few seasons called for some costly repairs, it may be time to upgrade to something more efficient and better equipped. Here are 6 signs that tell you it’s time to replace your air conditioner.
- If Your AC Unit is 10 or More Years Old
If you’ve had your air conditioning system for more than 10 years, it’s time to consider replacing instead of repairing it. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 10 years. If you keep your unit well-maintained, it could last another five years with minimal issues.
Annual maintenance will keep it working to the best of its ability, eliminating most of the potential problems that come with general wear and tear. But more problems come with age, and eventually, the cost of repairs may not be worth it.
If your air conditioning unit has been around for over a decade and still going strong, that’s great news. If it isn’t posing any problems, it isn’t time to replace it yet. When those problems do occur, take the opportunity to install a newer, more efficient unit. You could end up saving up to 20% on cooling costs with an Energy Star-rated unit.
- If You’re Seeing Unusually High Energy Bills
If your utility bills are looking abnormally high, it could indicate that your AC unit is working harder than it needs to be. Annual maintenance can delay this problem for as long as possible. Eventually, it just won’t be able to run like new.
This process can be accelerated if the AC unit hasn’t been serviced over the years. Other factors that can wear it out include running it around the clock, constantly changing temperature settings, and leaving air filters unchanged. If the unit is straining to cool a space that’s bigger than it was built to cool, that can also cut its lifespan short.
Newer units are built to be more efficient and to keep energy costs down. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rating on an older unit is not going to compare to the SEER rating on a new unit.
- If Your AC Unit is Making Strange Noises
There’s a variety of strange noises your AC unit can make that indicate problems. These range from loud buzzing, grinding, banging, rattling, screeching, humming, clicking, etc. Buzzing could mean loose fan blades, leaking refrigerant, or loose parts. These sounds may also indicate broken or loose parts, generating unwanted imbalance or friction inside.
If your unit is relatively new, or is well maintained and has had minimal problems, it may be worth a simple repair. Otherwise, it may be time to replace your air conditioning system. If it constantly rattles, it may be a sign that its best days are behind it and parts are coming loose. In any case, if it’s making any of these noises it’s worth having a professional technician take a look.
- If Your Air Conditioning is Negatively Affecting Your Home Humidity Levels
Your central air conditioning system should help keep your home at a comfortable level of humidity. It removes moisture from the air as it draws warm air from your home. If your home feels unusually muggy, or if there’s excess moisture on windows, there could be a problem with your central air conditioner.
That problem could be that it isn’t the right size unit. This doesn’t mean the physical size – it refers to the load calculation of the unit and how that relates to the space it’s meant to cool. It could be too big or too small. It could also be another sign that the unit is deteriorating and is no longer able to handle the job.
- If Your Air Conditioning System is Starting to Leak
A small amount of moisture around the ac unit is perfectly ordinary since some condensation is an inevitable side effect. But a malfunctioning AC can also start to leak, and that is bad news. A clogged condensate drain line is one of the most common causes of leaking water around the indoor unit. It could also be caused by the condensate pan, the drain pump, the refrigerant level, or a clogged air filter.
Any leak needs immediate attention from an expert. Water damage isn’t only an issue for the surrounding area inside your home. It can also damage the unit. Leaking coolant presents a safety issue, as it exposes you and your family to harmful chemicals.
If this issue happens continuously, it may be time to replace the unit. Depending on the scope of the problem, it might make more sense to get it fixed. Whether you repair or replace, if it’s leaking, turn it off and call an expert to diagnose the problem as soon as possible.
- If Your HVAC System Keeps Breaking Down
This is an obvious one, but you should only pay for so many repairs before it’s time to replace your air conditioning system. Ideally, a unit will last at least 10 years with good upkeep and annual tune-ups to keep things running smoothly. There may be a few issues here and there over the years, but these should be relatively few and far between.
If your system keeps breaking down, or if it just isn’t working all that well, it may be time to retire. If it isn’t keeping your home cool and comfortable, you should replace your air conditioning system with a more efficient unit.
Replace Your Air Conditioner When the Time is Right
If your AC unit is working just fine, even if it’s been 15 years or longer, you have nothing to worry about for now. You’ve gotten more than your money’s worth out of the one you’ve got, and that’s the best-case scenario.
When these signs do appear, though, be sure to weigh the cost of repairs and maintenance against the cost of investing in a newer, more efficient unit. To get the most out of your air conditioning, always factor these concerns into the equation.
If you’re thinking of exploring new options for your air conditioning system or want to schedule your annual tune-up before the South Jersey summer arrives in full force, reach out to Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing!