5 Signs You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner

5 Signs You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner

5 Signs You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner

5 Signs You Should Replace Your Air ConditionerIf you own a home, sooner or later you’re likely to have to replace your air conditioner. Here in Charlottesville, VA,  summers can be hot and humid, so making sure you know when it’s getting to be time to replace your system can help not only plan, but avoid an emergency repair/replacement.  It always seems that a system breaks down under the stress of a heat wave, and this could leave you facing days of discomfort and paying more than you’d like if you don’t plan ahead. 

We’ve been repairing, replacing, and installing AC systems for years now, and know the signs that you are close to the end of your system’s lifespan. In this article, we’ll go over a few symptoms of a dying AC system, and some of the benefits that come along with replacing your air conditioner before it breaks down.

Here are 5 signs that should take into account when deciding when you should replace your AC system:

Signs You Need To Replace Your AC: 

  1. If You Need To Replace Your AC It Comes Along With Better Energy Efficiency, Better Cooling, And Longer LifespanFrequent Breakdowns  When an HVAC system starts needing frequent repairs, it’s likely getting to the end of its lifecycle. Parts begin to wear out due to age and use, and while small repairs  are no big deal, if you’ve had two to three repairs over the last year or so, you should start thinking about whether a replacement is a good idea.

    We hope you’re already getting your system serviced and tuned up each year. During our annual AC tuneup service, we inspect your system and parts for wear and tear, to help you replace any parts before they actually break down, and potentially cause damage to the system. No one needs a frozen compressor, clogged drain lines, or have a capacitor short out other components. By getting regular system service, we can let you know when parts are showing wear and help you plan ahead for when your system might need to be replaced.

  2. Higher energy bills:  If your monthly energy bill is going up and is more than you spent last year at the same time, your system might be working harder for less comfort.  When AC units start to fail, they often do something called short cycling- they turn on and off frequently, but they aren’t cooling your home well, and you may notice a real increase in humidity- wood furniture might seem sticky, for example. This is a sign that your AC is starting to struggle, and you need to consider when it may need to be replaced.

  3. Your system uses R-22, a.k.a. Freon. Older AC systems used a refrigerant called freon. These systems would often develop leaks and you could “recharge” the freon to keep the systems going for a while at least. However because of its environmental harms, it began to be phased out in 2010 and no equipment has been produced using freon since 2020. Newer systems use a different type of higher-efficiency refrigerant, but it is under a different pressure, requiring costly replacement of major parts of your system, making retrofitting rarely cost-effective. 

    The good news is that newer air conditioning systems are so much more efficient, you’ll notice a drop in your monthly energy bills once you replace the old system, helping it to pay for itself over time.

  4. Your system is 10+ years old.  Just like your car, your existing HVAC and air conditioning will wear out over time.  Most new systems have a 10 year warranty, so when your system gets beyond the warranty period, repairs can start to get more expensive. While many systems may last 15- 20 years, you should start planning for when your system needs replacing if it’s more than 10 years old.

  5. Your Home doesn’t get cool. If you keep adjusting the thermostat but your home isn’t getting or staying cool, you definitely need to have it looked at. Sometimes you might have certain areas of your home that never seem to get comfortable, and that could be a problem with your dampers, or there may be other fixes, like looking at a supplemental carrier ductless system for those problem areas in your home.

If your whole home isn’t getting cool, bigger issues might be at play. Problems could be as simple as clogged air filters, or more serious, with short cycling or frozen compressors, refrigerant leaks or other problems.  Sometimes it can be a simple repair, and other times it can be a larger fix.  But if this is happening regularly, it may be time to consider whether a new system is the long term answer to the problem.

Why Should You Replace Your AC Before It Breaks Down

If You Need To Replace Your AC Do It Before It Breaks DownPlanning ahead for a replacement of your AC can help save you money- and frustration. Benefits of replacing your system when it isn’t an emergency include:

  1. Choosing the system you want for your home, rather than taking what’s available: In the middle of a 90 degree plus heat wave, a lot of AC units will be working hard, stressed, and more of them will end up breaking down.  That means more people needing new systems, and sometimes, the system you want or need for your home isn’t available locally and needs to be ordered which could take days or weeks, leaving you uncomfortable and unhappy.  When demand is high, you may need to settle for a system that is available versus what you want, so planning ahead definitely gives you more options.

  2. Scheduling is easier.  When it’s hot, most HVAC guys are busy, including us here at The Otter Guys. Finding someone who can come out and repair or replace your system during a peak period means you’ll likely end up waiting longer to get on the schedule.

  3. Avoid wasting energy– One of the things that happens as an AC unit starts to fail is that it will do something called short cycling- turning on and off frequently, without cooling your home sufficiently.  This short cycling ends up wasting a lot of energy and ends up increasing your monthly energy bill substantially.

  4. Avoid frequent repair bills: When a system starts nearing the end of its life, it often starts needing frequent repairs. Repairs in the evening and on weekends cost more, as well. When repairs become more frequent, you may want to start to consider whether a replacement is a better long term investment. 

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to replace your air conditioner, give us a call here at the Otter Guys. We’re happy to have your experienced and expert team come out and evaluate your system, and help you decide whether a replacement is needed. If you decide to replace your current air conditioner, we can help you sort through the options and make sure you get the right system at the right price, and help you avoid additional costs associated with emergency repairs. Let us help you make the choice you want, rather than be forced into a choice based on an emergency.

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