Before the searing summer temperatures return, now is a good time to assess the condition of your HVAC—especially your air conditioner. Like every appliance, it has its optimal lifespan, and if you’ve been experiencing some performance issues or are noticing signs the equipment is showing its age, you may be wondering if it’s time to replace it. Here are some signs it might be time to upgrade.
Age and Efficiency
How old is your existing unit? You may have to hunt for the manual, dig through ancient receipts, or remember back to what grade your kids were in school when the existing unit was installed, but if it’s more than 10 years, a lot has changed. Most ACs are designed to function optimally for about a decade or so, but even if yours is still humming along, the upgrade benefits are significant.
- Dramatically improved efficiency and ENERGY STAR status
- Reduced energy costs (up to 20% savings on average)
- Lower repair and maintenance costs (especially as older coolants are being phased out and may be hard to come by for a recharge)
Noise and Repair Costs
Is it more obvious than ever when your aging system is running? Excessive noise is common with an air conditioner in need of repair… or retirement. What about repair costs? If the AC repair tech is programmed into speed dial, it may well be time to buy a new system.
Ductwork and Excess Dust
Is the air inside a little thicker than it used to be? If dust particles are the most noticeable thing about sunshine streaming through the windows, it’s time to check a few things in the air conditioning system. First, of course, is the filter(making sure that you’re using the right type for your needs, and changing it often enough). But you may also need to check the condition of the ductwork. Ducts in need of sealing don’t necessarily mean you need a replacement HVAC system, but if excessive dust has been a problem for a long time, it may signal an aging system, and may also indicate your air conditioner has been overworked due to indoor air quality.
Insulation and Hotspots
Does your current AC keep your whole home (or business) evenly cool? Or do you deal with hotspots, or struggle to keep a consistent temperature? Inadequate insulation, windows and glass doors with sunny exposures, and inefficient or underpowered air conditioners are a combination that add up to uncomfortable inside spaces and rising energy costs. While it’s also wise to improve any insulation or sealing issues to reduce energy waste, sometimes it’s just a matter of a failing AC unit that can’t keep up.
Another factor that can cause your AC to struggle is that it’s not designed for the size of your house. If you have a capacity mismatch—either because you (or a prior owner) had to buy a unit you could afford but that wasn’t quite up to the task, or due to increased load (a home addition, garage conversion, etc.)—now is better than ever to upgrade. A unit that is both underpowered and oldis putting a huge burden on your energy bills. Replacing it with an air conditioner that is up to the task already saves you money, but the massive improvement in efficiency will add to the benefit in monthly expense. You also reduce the risk of sudden failure as the air conditioner won’t have to work so hard or so often to try to keep you comfortable.
Appliance replacements are a major purchase and require significant consideration. It’s far better to be able to evaluate your situation and plan for a replacement than to have to call in an emergency and make a snap decision. Consider the condition of your HVAC, and give us a call or contact us to discuss your options as you plan for a replacement, especially if it’s in the near future. If you’re not yet in need, it’s also a great time to get regular maintenance on your calendar to keep your system operating its best to keep you cool!