Knowing when you need to replace your air conditioner can be challenging even if you have some technical knowledge. This guide covers the warning signs to look out for.
How to Know if You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner
Whether you should replace your air conditioner depends on how old the unit is and how many problems have happened in the past few years. Some AC issues require simple solutions and indicate you should have your system repaired — others are a bit more serious. Below are warning signs that you might need to get your air conditioner replaced with a new unit:
1. Excessive Humidity
If your home has higher humidity than normal, your AC unit could be to blame. Excessive moisture may be a sign of a leak, so make sure you check the unit for droplets. If your home feels humid even with your AC running, it might not be operating efficiently.
2. Loud or Strange Noises
All AC systems will make a humming noise when they’re running, but if your unit is particularly loud, have a technician look at it. Generally, frequent grinding and squealing noises are abnormal, especially when they are accompanied by rattling vibrations.
3. Changes in Your Energy Bill
Your energy bill is always a slightly different amount each month. If you notice that your bill significantly increases when you use your air conditioning system, you might have an issue with the unit’s efficiency. Try to compare your bill with last year’s from the same month for a better look.
4. Blowing Hot or Weak Air
It is abnormal for an air conditioning unit to blow hot air. You might also notice that the airflow is weaker than usual, which will leave parts of your house or apartment hot.
An air conditioning unit that suddenly stops working needs to be serviced immediately. Rule out power outages, then try to avoid using it until you find out from the technician why it’s failing.
6. Refrigerant or Water Leaks
A refrigerant leak will eventually render your unit inoperable. The refrigerant is the substance inside the air conditioning that cools the air blowing out. Your AC can blow hot air and experience other issues when the refrigerant is too low.
7. Thermostat Issues
If you set the thermostat and the AC is unable to catch up or adjust, your air pressure could be weak. Check to see if the air is also blowing hot. If the thermostat refuses to change or the screen shows broken numbers or an error message, it’s time to get the unit serviced and possibly replaced.
8. A Failing Switch
A unit that is unable to switch off or on will function poorly and use energy inefficiently. A failing switch indicates an issue with the unit’s electrical. This type of problem should be looked at by a professional.
9. A Burning or Foul Odor
A burning smell indicates an electrical or wiring problem. For example, if an animal chews through a wire’s outer coating, you might smell something like hot metal. If you detect a moldy or rotten odor, an animal might have gotten inside the unit. Excess moisture can also grow mold inside the air conditioning system, which will then circulate throughout your home if it is left untreated.
If you notice a lot of dust circulating in your home, it might be because the AC has poor airflow or a filter issue. Dust will settle when the air pressure is weak, producing clumps that fill the AC unit’s vents and get everywhere.
Factors That Influence AC Replacement
Along with the signs above, here are factors you can use to determine whether you need to replace your AC:
The Unit’s Age
Most air conditioning units last between 10 to 15 years. A well-maintained, high-quality unit can perform longer. If your AC system was installed long ago and the warranty is expired, you will probably want to consider a replacement if the unit functions poorly. You can only make so many repairs to an older AC unit before a newer unit becomes the most economical choice.
The Cost of Making Repairs
For a newer AC unit, repairs are usually reasonable in cost. If your repair costs are higher because of system failures, or your system needs repeat repairs in a short timeframe, you should probably get the unit replaced.
The Cost of Your Energy Bills
You can check your air conditioning unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) to measure how efficient it is. The typical older AC unit is less efficient than a new unit with modern features. AC units manufactured in the 1990s have a SEER around 10, but the standards for SEER ratings went up significantly as the decades passed.
Your energy bills might also be higher if the unit is the wrong size for your living space or if it contains a level of refrigerant that is either too high or too low. Many issues can make your unit less efficient, so investing in a new unit can be a worthwhile purchase if repairs do little to lower your utility payments.
How Long You Want to Live With Your Old AC
If you’re planning to move soon, it might be for the best to let the new homeowners fix the AC unit. If your unit has experienced a catastrophic failure and probably needs to be replaced, you can disclose this information to your real estate agent so the buyers are aware of the issues. The prospective buyer can request a slightly lower sale price on your home if the AC has been poorly maintained, but it’s a worthwhile risk to take when replacing the system would cost you more.
If you aren’t thinking about moving soon and the unit is old, it could be the right time to replace your air conditioner.
The Type of Refrigerant
If you have environmental concerns about your AC unit, the older ones do use the scarce R-22 Freon. In the United States, this type of refrigerant is currently illegal to produce. R-22 Freon also costs more than the modern version used today, R-410a refrigerant. If your unit can only function with R-22, it’s time to replace it with the environmentally friendly option.
Should I Replace My Air Conditioner or Request Repairs?
When deciding whether you should replace your AC, the age of the unit is usually the determining factor. You might think you can save money if you repair your unit, but sometimes, the costs amount up.
You should repair your unit if the AC system is newer and can be serviced easily. If your system is 10 years old or less, then it’s possible for the AC to be repaired if it is functioning poorly.
You should replace your unit if your AC system is older than a decade and you have experienced numerous problems with it. You might have had it repaired for one issue only for another to come up within a few years. If your unit is older than 15 years, you should replace the unit as soon as possible.
Install a New AC Unit With Drake’s Construction & Restoration
Are you ready for a new air conditioning unit that functions properly? We have all your air conditioner replacement needs in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and the Mid-Ohio Valley area covered. Get in touch with Drake’s Construction & Restoration for your air conditioning installation. We also perform repairs and maintenance on air conditioning systems.