Summer took a long time getting started this year, but now that things are heating up, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your air conditioner is up to the task of keeping you comfortable for the rest of the season? Whether yours is struggling along and you’re debating giving it the boot, or you’re keeping your fingers crossed that the last repair will hold out, we’ve got some signs that you can look for to help you decide when it’s time to say goodbye.
If you find yourself answering “yes” to any of these questions, and especially if you say yes to a combination of them, then now would be a great time to call for a free estimate to replace your system. Even if you’re not 100% ready, at least you’ll know your options when you are!
1. Is Your Air Conditioner 10 Years Old Or More?
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is 10-15 years, so even if yours is still running, it’s probably nearing the end of its life. Besides, even the best maintained system loses efficiency over time. And considering that cooling your home during summer can account for anywhere from 40-60% of your energy bills, the last thing you want to do is waste that money on inefficiency. Especially when you could be putting it toward a newer, better air conditioner!
There’s another good reason to replace an older air conditioner, and it’s not just age. It’s because older units typically use the refrigerant R22, which is no longer being produced. In fact, it will soon be illegal to purchase. In the meantime, the cost of R22 has skyrocketed, if you can get it at all.
So if your unit is older AND uses R22 then that’s an emergency waiting to happen. Gone are the days of “topping off” and old, leaky unit. And if you’ve got a problem, it’s probably not worth repairing knowing that the unit will soon be obsolete.
2. Does The Noise Mess With Your Barbecue Mojo?
Air conditioner compressors are not usually welcome guests at backyard parties, but if you can’t hold up a conversation anymore because of the constant shake, rattle and roll, then that could very well mean it’s time to replace it.
Strange noises could mean a lot of things – from something stuck in the vents, to a loose bolt, to worn motors and bearings. Lots of these can be repaired so you can keep your existing unit longer.
But if you notice a general increase in the noise level over time, coupled with other noises like grinding or rattling, it could be a sign of an aging motor and worn parts.
Ask your HVAC professional for advice, so if it is fixable, you can take care of it without aggravating the problem and damaging the unit. And if it’s not, you can line up your options for a replacement.
3. Are Your Summer Energy Bills Going Up?
Last we checked, a bill has never gone down. General cost of living increases mean bills go up, and super hot summers may mean you’re using your air conditioner more and incurring more costs as a result.
But if your bills are increasing out of proportion to what you’d expect, then that could be a sign of an aging, inefficient unit. Combine an increase in bills with the age of your unit and you’ll have a pretty good idea whether aging, failing parts are to blame.
4. Are Your Spending Too Much On Repairs?
What’s “too much?” Well, there’s too much and then there’s too much. In our estimation, if you’re looking at a repair of $250 or more, that’s too much when you’re talking about doing it on an aging (especially an R22-guzzling) air conditioner.
And if you’re looking at a repair on any unit that’s going to cost you nearly half of what it would cost to replace it, then we highly recommend going with a replacement instead. You may not think spending twice as much to replace instead of repair is an attractive idea, but your money would be far more wisely spent in the long run.
A new, energy efficient air conditioner under warranty will give you more peace of mind, save on energy bills, and be a better return on your investment than an older, patched-up model. Besides, with financing options and rebates that may be available, the investment may be easier than you think.
5. Are You Repairing Your Unit Too Often?
Another subjective question, and this one is a doozy. The problem with repeated repairs is that in a strange way they tie you psychologically to more repairs. After all, you’ve invested so much in your air conditioner that you can’t just replace it and waste all that money, can you?
The problem is that the money is already spent, and it’s not coming back, no matter how many more repairs you do or don’t do. Keep doing repairs, no matter how small, and you’re only spending more money to prop up an old, malfunctioning unit. Money that you could be spending on a brand new one. And if your unit is in the kind of shape that requires constant repairs, you’re going to have to spend on a new one sooner rather than later anyway.
So if you find yourself calling your HVAC contractor constantly – and in our opinion, more than once is too much! – then take a deep breath and consider your options. At a minimum, get a free estimate to replace the unit, and ask about financing and rebates. You might find incentives that make the decision a lot easier.
6. Are You Too Hot, Too Cold, But Never Just Right?
Inconsistent temperatures are a key sign of an ailing, aging air conditioner. If you’re constantly fidgeting with the thermostat, or grabbing a sweater only to strip down to a t-shirt an hour later, you’re not going crazy. You’re just suffering from an old cooling system that isn’t doing its job.
And if your home never seems quite cool enough, even though your bills are going up and you keep turning the temperature down, that’s a sure sign that something is wrong.
Combine a lack of cooling, or inconsistent cooling, with the age of your unit, and it’s a pretty reliable sign that it’s time to replace your air conditioner.
Sometimes you just know that your air conditioner is on its way out and you’re ready for it to go. Other times, you may struggle with the decision, especially if it seems like a relatively small repair will help and avoid the expense involved in replacing the whole thing.
Either way, if you’re not quite so comfortable in your own home anymore and you want to know what your options are, get in touch with us for a free estimate. We’ll make recommendations, provide you with available options for financing or rebates, and repair or replace your unit depending on what you need and what you decide.