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When to Replace an AC Unit

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When it comes to the heat outside, the last thing you want is to be without air conditioning. You’ve had your home for what feels like forever. You’ve fixed the drafts, maybe even replaced the roof, but how is your air conditioning system? You may not even know how long ago it was installed or serviced. It’s cooling the home well now, so it should be fine, right?

Air conditioning units can run more efficiently and live much longer when they receive the proper care and repairs. Sometimes it’s beyond repair, and you just need to pull the plug and replace the unit. In those cases, it’s important to know what to look for when deciding when to replace an AC unit.

How Do I Know When My AC Unit Needs to Be Replaced?

If you have issues with your air conditioning system, you may wonder if you should repair or replace it. When you need to decide whether to replace your AC or keep repairing it, the best thing you can do is call in an HVAC technician for a professional opinion. They will be able to diagnose the problems with your air conditioner and help determine which option is best for your finances.

How Inefficient is a 20-Year-Old AC?

When determining when it is time to replace your AC unit, the age of your system is a significant factor in this decision. Just because the unit is still working does not mean it is working efficiently.

As your air conditioning goes up in age, its efficiency goes down. This impacts the cost of running the unit. Regular use and frequent breakdowns can also cause the unit to need more electricity to run, increasing your energy bills.

An inefficient air conditioner also has negative impacts on the environment. Older units run on R22 refrigerant, which is now known to cause ozone depletion. Although the R22 refrigerant was once considered standard, it has since been phased out in the United States. If the need arises, replace your unit with a newer air conditioner that runs on the improved refrigerant called R410A. Not only is the environment affected by the older unit, but so is your wallet.

Does an Old AC Consume More Electricity?

The less efficient the AC system is, the more expensive it is to run. For example, an older unit may use 6 kWh, whereas a newer and more efficient model may only use 1.76 kWh to cool the same space in your home.

As your unit ages, it may also use more kWh than initially intended, so that example number may be much higher. Not only does less efficiency equal higher energy costs, but it also means higher repair bills.

Can’t I Just Keep Repairing an AC?

It may seem easier or cheaper just to repair an AC unit, but sometimes the repairs are a sign of more to come. The less efficient the AC unit is, the more repairs it will ultimately need.

Repairs are cheaper at first until they become more frequent, which means more costs and more appointments with your HVAC repair technician. Towards the end of the unit’s life, the cost of multiple repairs and the rise in energy costs can add up to the price of just replacing the entire unit.

What is the Average Lifespan of an AC Unit?

The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is ten years, but with proper care and maintenance, this number can be as high as 15 or 20 years.

How Can I Extend the Life of My AC Unit?

The most significant factor when trying to extend the life of your AC unit is proper maintenance. Cleaning air filters and assessing the unit to see if it needs any repairs can make your unit run up to 25% more efficiently and ultimately need fewer repairs.

Taking care of your AC is generally cheaper if issues arise during a routine inspection and are repaired before the problems result in a breakdown. There are several things your cooling technician will do during your scheduled maintenance appointment.

How Much is a New AC Unit?

The cost of a new AC can range from $3200 to upwards of $7500. The price will depend on multiple factors. How much ductwork is needed, any possible repairs, as well as the size and rating of the unit can all contribute to the total price of having your air conditioning system replaced.

Is It Cheaper to Replace an AC in Winter?

With the lack of demand for AC units in the winter, it may seem like this is the best time to replace your unit to save a few bucks. However, this can mean the opposite. Since fewer people are ordering new air conditioning systems in the winter, HVAC companies may put a higher price tag on the units to compensate for that revenue loss.

Alternatively, they may be trying to clear out old stock, and you may be able to find an older model with a lower price tag. Although you might still come across a great deal, it may be wise to wait for spring to replace your unit when looking for the lowest prices.

Is it More Expensive to Replace an AC in Summer?

It is highly recommended to install your new AC unit in the late spring or early summer. This isn’t necessarily because of price; it’s easier to get an appointment, and you won’t have to endure the summer heat waiting to replace your air conditioning system.

The price may be fair, but due to demand in the summer, it may take longer to receive the new AC unit and get an installation appointment.

Is It Time to Replace Your AC? Call Banks Quarles Today!

It may be time to replace your AC unit if it’s over ten years old and the cost of repairs exceeds the cost and benefits of a new system. Please contact us with any questions or schedule an appointment to replace your air conditioning system.

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