Although this may seem a bit obvious, your air conditioner’s level of performance says a lot. If your AC is not working as well as it used to, it may be time to consider replacing it.
In general, you can expect a well-maintained AC to last about 15 years. However, if you’re in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it will often make more sense to replace it. The fact is: the older the unit the less reliable it is. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency over the past decade.
Newer air conditioners are more efficient. Check your AC’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. According to the United States Department of Energy, the absolute minimum for a SEER rating should be 13. Replacing your old air conditioning unit with one that has a SEER rating of 16 can save you over $300 per year.
Sometimes, additions to your home will trump your AC’s size, making it undersized. Likewise, if the number of people living in your home decreases, your AC unit could then be oversized. If it is not correctly sized, you should purchase a new one that is a better fit.
Unfortunately, there are many contractors that don't understand how to properly install AC systems. A poorly installed unit may not be worth repairing, even if it’s fairly new. If the sealed system was contaminated or the compressor was damaged during the install, it’s probably in your best interest to replace your AC with one that’s installed properly.
The A-coil is the indoor component of the AC that’s right above your furnace inside the ductwork. Unfortunately, sometimes it is undersized, meaning its opening is too small and airflow is restricted. This can cause it to ice up and start to perform poorly. Replacing the A-coil with one with more airflow is a good solution; however, if you have an older system with older refrigerant, you should consider replacing the entire system.
R22 is an ozone-depleting refrigerant. It’s less energy-efficient than R410a, not to mention harmful to the environment. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your AC, risking leaking R22 into the atmosphere may not be worth it. An upgrade could be better for you long-term.
After taking these 7 key areas into account, you’ll better understand when it’s a good time to spring for an AC replacement. Staying cool is a no-brainer, really!
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