If your home stays cool and comfortable, your air conditioner’s health is probably not a thought. But when the time comes, the decision to pay for a major repair or new AC installation can be challenging. It can also have many long-term repercussions. To make things easier, we’ll provide tips to help decide in favor of AC replacement.
1. Check the Age of Your AC System
Manufacturers often say well-maintained central AC equipment can last 15 to 20 years. But that depends on how much you use it and how hard it works. Various factors can increase wear and tear. If you have and 10- or 12-year-old system that’s inefficient or needs major repairs, consider AC replacement. And if your unit still uses R-22 refrigerant, it’s more cost-effective to install an R-410A system.
2. Determine When Your Last AC Repair Was
As your air conditioner ages, it’ll likely need repairs. But if your last repair was just a month or two ago or you’ve had several service visits in the past year, replacing your AC will save you in the long run. A system should not require significant repairs in its first five to 10 years. Frequent repairs are a sign the unit will cost you even more in the future.
3. Analyze the Repair Estimate
A newer AC isn’t likely to need costly repairs. Plus, it’s probably covered under the factory warranty. Air conditioners in their later years tend to need bigger and more frequent repairs. If your unit costs more to fix than replace, or a repair would cost more than 50% of the price of a new system, AC replacement will reduce long-term costs.
4. Evaluate How Your Is AC Working
Your air conditioner’s performance can tell you how it’s doing. Consult with an HVAC specialist if you notice any of the following signs:
- Reduced Airflow: If little or no air blows from the vents, your AC may be overworked. The cause can range from a dirty filter to a damaged blower, poorly sized ductwork, or a failing compressor.
- Poor Temperature/Humidity Control: A failing AC can make your home feel warm and swampy. Unless a dehumidifier or a simple fix can resolve the issue, a technician will recommend an AC replacement.
- Something Doesn’t Smell Right: A musty smell can mean mold is growing in your ducts. You’ll need a specialist to clean them out. But a burning smell can point to damaged wiring or burnt-out components in your AC system.
- Run Times Aren’t Right: An air conditioner should turn on and off at regular intervals, even in warm climates. If it runs constantly or shuts off too soon, it may have a dirty or frozen evaporator coil, clogged filter, low refrigerant, or faulty thermostat. Or, the fan, blower motor, or compressor may be going.
- The AC Is Noisy: Older ACs are normally a little louder. But if your AC is noisier than it used to be, call a technician. Rattling can mean the compressor’s motor mounts are loose. Banging indicates a piston or crankshaft is broken while buzzing can mean there’s debris in the system. A failing blower motor or fan motor can emit a loud squealing sound.
5. Check Your Energy Bills
If you haven’t increased AC usage and your electric company didn’t raise rates, your AC may be the reason for a higher utility bill. Cooling and heating account for a large portion of your energy bills to begin with. If wear and tear or broken parts are causing your AC to work harder, these costs will only increase. An older unit may not meet current efficiency standards anyway, so it’s better to replace it.
6. Do You Have Indoor Air Quality Issues?
If your old AC is affecting indoor air quality, your home may become dustier. It can contribute to increased allergy, asthma, or other respiratory symptoms. You may also notice more pet dander, lint, and smoke residue on surfaces. Mold and mildew may appear on or near vents as well. Whole-home air filtration systems can help. But if the problem is coming from your air conditioner, AC replacement may be a wise choice.
7. Are You Planning to Stay In Your Home?
Installing a new unit may be unnecessary if you’re going to move soon. Nevertheless, a new high-efficiency HVAC system can increase home value. Whether AC replacement makes sense depends on your unique circumstances. If you plan to be there awhile, you’d certainly want a new AC to stay comfortable.
Contact Grasshopper Heating & Cooling
Our EPA-certified AC installers can help decide if repairing your AC is worth it or if AC replacement would be more beneficial. We’ll properly size the system for your home and find the most energy-efficient solution. For a consultation and free estimate in your Clifton Park area home, call (518) 241-1847 today.