Like any other piece of equipment in your home, an air conditioning unity ages and is affected by use over time. It’s common advice from manufacturers to replace an air conditioner unit every 15 years, but we believe that schedule is a bit too lax.
Fifteen years is the standard timeline, but it’s also a long time, especially with advances in manufacturing and efficiency. As the technicians who work on HVAC units day in and day out, we believe that 10 years is the right time to start thinking about a replacement or upgrade, and here’s why.
5 Issues to Watch for With an Older Air Conditioner System
Efficiency decreases with age. Older central AC units have lower seasonal energy efficiency ratio (or SEER) ratings, and window units have lower energy efficiency ratio (EER) numbers. This isn’t to say that you should go out and buy the units with the highest possible SEER or EER ratios. It’s important to know that these ratios are usually the highest possible rating for the units, and the efficiency fluctuates as the unit is used. While advice to consider these levels can be controversial, its common advice to consider replacing your unit of the rating of your air conditioner is 10 or below. A new unit could decrease your energy use by a whopping 20 percent!
Reliability decreases with age. As your air conditioner gets older, it’s more likely that it could surprise you one day and stop working when you need it most. Often, as a unit gets to around 10 years, you may find it breaks down more often, that service calls are more frequent. Why put up with a unit that doesn’t run reliably?
Comfort levels begin to decline. When an air conditioner doesn’t work properly, it’s harder to achieve consistent comfort levels. You may find that older units provide less consistent cooling, or the air quality begins to decline when your air conditioner is on and working.
Refrigerant replacement is problematic for older units. Some years back, the federal government banned the creation of more cooling units that use the refrigerant called FR-22 (which is also known as Freon) as a cooling agent. It will be harder to find Freon to service your older air conditioning units, and in the next few years, you might not be able to find it at all. New air conditioners are built to use a different kind of coolant.
An older air conditioner may begin to operate improperly. From noisy operation (banging, clanging, and grinding, perhaps), to power disturbances (like a unit that turns itself off during operation), these are all issues that are more likely with an older AC unit. Some of these issues may be corrected withy maintenance, but if you find that maintenance is more frequent, you may want to consider installing a new cooling unit at your home or business.
3 Steps to Replace an Older Air Conditioning Unit
You’re seeing these issues with your air conditioner. Now what? The simple answer is to get a new system. But it’s not quite that simple if you’re replacing a central air unit that cools your whole home.
Bring in an HVAC technician to assess your home. Don’t go with just anyone, and don’t go with the company that chooses a unit based on the square footage of your home. There are several things to consider as you choose a cooling unit.
Remember that several things can affect your cooling needs. To properly size a unit, you’ll want to work with a professional who takes into account the various things that can affect your home’s cooling needs. Some of those include floor space, insulation, and even the direction your home faces. The shading of your home by exterior trees can come into play in choosing the right unit too.
Use your current system as a starting point. If you’ve been comfortable and happy with your current unit but know it’s time to replace it, look at what you’ve been using. Look up the BTU capacity and air flow, using information from the manufacturer’s model and serial number plate. With that information, you can find a unit that will provide the same sort of cooling that you’ve had in the past.
All air conditioning units can cool a room, but not every unit can do it in the same way, or with the same efficiency. Every home is different and has a variety of issues that an air conditioner, whether brand new or hitting a decade of use, will affect how they work.
Home Service Doctors is ready to help serve you with all of the necessary help to get you set up with the proper air conditioner when you’re looking to replace.
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