Signs Your AC Needs Replacing, Not Repair

October 16, 2019

An air conditioning unit is perhaps one of the most durable appliances in existence. For something that’s always in use, especially in the warmer regions, an AC unit can power through for years, especially when it’s maintained regularly throughout it’s entire life.

However, like everything else, air conditioners lives come to an end. No matter how carefully and religiously maintained, an air conditioner will always need to be replaced when it gets to the end of its rope. And you better believe it, you’ll know when that time to replace your air conditioning unit has come.

Here are some of the top signs your AC unit needs to be replaced:

Your AC unit is more than 10 years old

Most, if not all, AC manufacturers design their products to last about 15 to 20 years. However, only systems that have seen proper and regular maintenance are likely to keep on running well for that long. Many AC systems don’t live to their full potential lifespan because most homeowners only call in HVAC pros when their unit is showing signs of trouble.

The 10-year mark is also when air conditioners start showing signs of wear and tear. It may continue functioning, but it will start acting up and breaking down more often, which also means it’s going to need constant repairs.

You’re spending too much on repairs

As stated above, frequent breakdowns mean frequent repairs, and frequent repairs cost a lot of money.

Constant repair work on an AC unit that has been in service for a decade or more is understandable, and is still reason enough to replace it.  Home air conditioner replacement would be an even more sensible option if your unit is less than 10 years old and you’re already spending a lot of money on seemingly interminable repairs.

The breakdowns could be because of faulty installation, or there is really something wrong with the unit. Whatever the case, frequent repairs on a relatively old AC system are a loud and clear sign that it needs replacement more than anything else. In all likelihood, a new AC unit is going to cost less than repairs for the next few years or so.

Your energy bills keep rising

It’s true that an air conditioner consumes more electricity than most appliances, but if your energy bills are constantly on an upward trajectory even when your local utility company hasn’t raised its rates, you might want to take a closer look at your unit.

It may no longer be that efficient, particularly when it’s an old one. All those years of constant use have taken its toll on your AC unit’s efficiency.

It’s also possible that your current AC unit is no longer the right size for your home. This is most especially true if you have made major additions to your home. At the time of your AC system’s installation, it’s safe to assume that the HVAC professionals who did the job would have calculated your home’s heating/cooling needs and recommended the AC unit size that will keep up with those measurements.

A home addition, however, can throw a wrench into the whole setup, because you will have added square footage that was not factored in at the time of the installation of the AC system. Chances are, the supposedly perfect AC unit for the size of your home has become too small for the place. That means it has to work extra hard to keep your home cool, which translates to higher power consumption and enormous energy bills.

Replacing your old AC unit with a newer model that is right-sized for your home will help lower your energy bills not only because the home additions have been factored in, but also because new AC units also happen to have a higher SEER or seasonal energy efficiency ratio rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient it is.

You have a refrigerant leak, and it’s Freon

An AC unit that suffers a coolant leak is bad enough, as it impacts the overall performance of your system and poses a danger to humans and animals alike. It’s even worse if your AC system is using—and now leaking—R-22 refrigerant, which is more commonly known as Freon.

You see, the HVAC industry has largely phased out Freon in the 1990s due to its contribution to the depletion of the ozone layer. The US Environmental Protection Agency is also mandated by the Clean Air Act to eliminate in specific phases the various types of R-22 refrigerant.

As part of that process, R-22 production was slashed by a considerable margin in 2014, and has been decreasing further since in subsequent years. By 2020, which is a little over two years from now, production and consumption of R-22 will be phased out completely.

R-22 may still be available today, but the decreasing production and its eventual and total “phaseout” in a couple of years mean Freon is already a very expensive refrigerant, costing as much as $175 per pound. Add to that the cost of fixing the leak, and it could easily cost you somewhere between $550 to $1,000.

What makes a Freon leak even worse is that even if you manage to get it fixed (which you most certainly will with the help of HVAC experts), the fact that a leak happened means your AC unit’s compressor will eventually break down earlier than expected. Considering that a compressor can cost up to $2,000 on top of the several pounds of R-22 refill and the labor costs, you will be better off if you just go for an air conditioner replacement instead.

It takes a certain amount of decisiveness and forward vision to replace AC systems, especially when they still appear to function even when they’re already experiencing a lot of issues. When you finally make that decision, talk to us at New AC Unit, and we will help you get an AC system that will be a perfect fit for your home for the foreseeable future.