What To Consider Before Replacing Your Air Conditioning Unit
Choosing between air conditioner replacement and another costly repair job can be a really tough call. Of course, you don’t want to replace the whole unit if you don’t have to, but no one wants to keep paying for repairs over and over again. Most importantly, because of the expense and the impact that this choice will have on your home’s comfort and livability, you can’t really afford to make the wrong call.
After all, it is as easy to be frustrated into replacing an air conditioner because of costly repairs as it is to keep repairing it due to the sticker shock caused by the price of a new unit.
As you go about making this daunting and important decision, there are several key factors that you will want to consider. Learning about air conditioning replacement will help you make an educated decision instead of just having a knee-jerk reaction when you find your home as hot as hell’s front porch in the middle of summer.
Let’s take a look at whether you need to replace your system or you can use a simple repair and some regular servicing to get through another season or two.
How Long Does An Air Conditioner Last?
According to the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, you can expect your AC to last somewhere between 15 and 20 years. This is based on the idea that most companies will continue to service machines and supply parts for machines for at least this long after the manufacturing date. However, it is important to understand that there is no exact life expectancy for an air conditioner.
How long your particular air conditioner will last is based very much on how you care for it and how much it is used during an average year. Without proper care, you can shorten the life of your air conditioner by many years. If you live in a region where you need the air conditioner sparsely, it will certainly last longer than it will if you live in a region where you need air conditioning year-round.
How Much Would It Cost Replacing Your Air Conditioning Unit?
The price of replacing an air conditioner varies dramatically from one home to the next and one person’s needs to the next. A central air conditioning replacement will cost far more than replacing a portable unit and so on.
When making a decision about air conditioning replacement, it is important to think about both how much you paid for the system that you have now as well as how much it would cost to replace that system. Most air conditioner replacements or installations cost in the thousands of dollars. If your repair bill is only going to be a couple of hundred dollars, even though that sounds steep, you are still better off repairing the system.
When Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner?
Unless the repair costs amount to thousands of dollars, it is usually not financially advisable to replace a relatively new AC unit. HVAC professionals often employ the “5,000 rule” as a rough guideline. This rule involves multiplying the unit’s age by the repair cost, and if the result exceeds $5,000, it may be more beneficial to opt for a replacement. If the calculated amount is lower, it is recommended to proceed with repairs.
Additionally, because of the changes to the Code of Federal Regulations, in technology, and the dramatic energy and money-saving features of new systems, it is generally recommended to replace a system that is more than five to ten years old.
Air Conditioning Replacement Over Maintenance
Air conditioner repairs are not the same as air conditioner maintenance. Maintenance is performed at scheduled intervals to ensure the system keeps working properly, while repairs are made when the system stops working (or stops working correctly).
Replacement can be expensive, so do everything you can to get as much out of your unit as possible. Here are some suggestions for routine maintenance you can likely handle on your own:
- Keep the condenser clean and clear of shrubbery, leaves, etc.
- Keep your outside AC unit cool, so it doesn’t have to work as hard by planting shrubs between it and the sun,(maintain several feet clearance around the unit)
- Change the filters every two months
- Do not cover the cool air vents with furniture. Allow the air to flow normally throughout your home
- Get regular annual maintenance checks and cleaning from a professional
- Use ceiling fans for improved circulation
- Use blinds and drapes to block intense sunlight
- Use a programmable thermostat to turn down the AC when you are away or at night when it is cooler. This saves a load on your unit and money on your energy bill
Energy Efficiency of Air Conditioning Units
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) serves as a measure of an air conditioning system’s efficiency, with higher ratings indicating better performance. A higher SEER rating implies that the air conditioner can operate with reduced energy consumption compared to other models.
Starting in 2015, air conditioners in the United States have been required to possess a minimum SEER of 14. Since then, advancements have led to the development of units with SEER ratings as high as 25. However, it’s important to note that ductless systems adhere to a different SEER range.
An outdated air conditioning system typically has a SEER rating that is insufficient in terms of cost-effectiveness. Over time, air conditioners tend to experience a decrease in SEER due to age and usage. It is beneficial to invest in an aircon system with an adequate SEER rating, as it enables you to optimize energy usage and enjoy cost savings. Moreover, both your budget and the environment stand to gain advantages from a higher SEER rating.
Phased Out Refrigerants and Availability (Freon / R22 / HCFC-22 / R-410a)
Since the beginning of 2020, the use of Freon, also known as R22 or HCFC-22, has been gradually phased out. Many older air conditioners relied on Freon as their refrigerant. If your air conditioner still uses Freon, it’s important to note that its production has been discontinued in the United States. Therefore, it is advisable to transition to a system that operates without Freon if you haven’t done so already.
Modern air conditioners now utilize alternatives such as Puron or R410A as refrigerants. These alternatives are not only more environmentally friendly but also comply with current regulations. By switching to a refrigerant like Puron or R410A, you contribute to a greener and more sustainable cooling solution.
Mismatched Air Conditioning System
When homeowners purchase a previously owned home, it’s common for them to inherit an existing AC system that was installed by the previous owners. However, in some cases, homeowners may choose to replace only a single component of the system, either the outdoor or indoor unit, instead of replacing the entire system. It’s important to note that this partial replacement can result in a mismatch within the overall AC system.
Operating an air conditioner in a mismatched system can lead to various issues, including reduced energy efficiency and increased difficulty in repairs. The components of an AC system are designed to work together harmoniously, and a mismatch can disrupt this balance, causing performance problems. Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware that such partial replacements can void the warranty of the AC system.
If you find yourself facing problems due to a mismatched AC system resulting from a partial replacement, our recommendation is to consider a complete replacement. This ensures that all components of the system are properly matched and optimized for efficient operation. By opting for a full replacement, you can address the issues caused by the mismatched system and enjoy improved performance and reliability.
Get Federal Tax Credits and Incentives For Replacing
If you are considering a full replacement, it’s worth exploring the options provided by various HVAC companies that offer incentives and promotions for purchasing energy-efficient units. Taking advantage of these incentives can potentially lead to substantial cost savings when investing in a new air conditioner.
It is advisable to check for any ongoing incentives or promotions, particularly in your region, as they can significantly reduce the financial burden of purchasing a new unit. By staying informed about available offers, you can make a more informed decision and potentially save a significant amount of money on your new air conditioning system.
You may also be eligible to receive tax credits for homeowners for making energy-efficient home improvements. If you opt for an air conditioning replacement, don’t leave money on the table!
Home Aesthetics and Design
When undertaking a home redecoration project, it’s common to come across an old, rusty-looking air conditioning unit that no longer aligns with the desired aesthetics, regardless of its operational efficiency. In such cases, replacing the unit becomes a logical choice. Fortunately, there is a wide range of air conditioners available, providing you with options to select the one that best complements your new decor upgrade.
Considering the aesthetics of your redecorated space, you can explore different types of air conditioners that seamlessly blend with the overall design scheme. For instance, if you prefer a sleek and minimalist look, a ductless mini-split system could be an excellent choice, as it offers discrete indoor units and flexible installation options. On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional appearance, a central air conditioning system with concealed ductwork might be more suitable.
By taking into account the desired aesthetics of your redecorated home, you can choose an air conditioner that not only meets your cooling needs but also enhances the overall visual appeal of the space. With a wide variety of options available, you can select an air conditioner that harmonizes with your decor upgrade, striking the perfect balance between functionality and style.
AC Replacement Increased Home Value
Installing a new HVAC system in your home can have a positive impact on its overall value in the same way that adding a whole-house generator would. Research suggests that a new AC unit alone can increase a home’s value by up to 10%. This increase is particularly significant for properties that currently have outdated HVAC systems that are nearing obsolescence, as well as homes located in warm and humid regions.
When potential buyers visit your home, they may not immediately notice the presence of a shiny new AC unit. However, they are likely to take note of its absence or be deterred by the sight of an older unit that will require repairs or replacement in the near future. Therefore, investing in a new AC unit can greatly enhance the appeal and value of your property.
The extent to which the value increases will vary depending on several factors, such as the specific location of your home. Properties situated in warmer, more humid climates tend to experience a higher boost in value due to the increased importance of efficient cooling systems in such regions.
Regardless of the exact percentage increase in your home’s value, installing a new AC unit will undoubtedly contribute positively to its overall worth. By ensuring that your property features a reliable and up-to-date cooling system, you can avoid diminishing its value with a faulty, broken, or outdated unit. Instead, you create an inviting and desirable environment that adds value to your home.
Better Comfort Levels At Home
When contemplating air conditioning replacement, your comfort level should be a key consideration. Take a moment to evaluate whether your existing unit is delivering the cool air you require within a reasonable timeframe. Are you experiencing the desired level of comfort, or does it feel like it takes an eternity to cool your home by just a few degrees? These observations can help assess the efficiency of your older unit and identify potential issues.
Over time, older AC units may lose their cooling efficiency, leading to longer cooling cycles and inadequate comfort. Additionally, if your home is equipped with an undersized AC unit, it may struggle to meet the cooling demands, resulting in excessive strain and prolonged operation to keep up. Both scenarios can negatively impact your comfort and energy consumption.
By carefully considering your comfort level and the performance of your existing AC unit, you can make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace it. If your current unit is no longer providing the level of cooling efficiency you desire or if it’s struggling to keep up with the demands of your home, it might be time to consider investing in a new, appropriately sized AC unit. Prioritizing your comfort ensures a more enjoyable living environment and efficient cooling for years to come.
The Latest In Advanced Air Conditioning Technology
Take a moment to assess whether it might be time for an HVAC update, provided you have the means to do so. Over the past decade, HVAC technology has evolved significantly, introducing a range of new features and capabilities. These advancements include variable speed systems, communicating systems, two-stage technology, smart thermostats, and interactive control.
While these features may initially seem unnecessary, it’s important to recognize that modern air conditioners are designed to be more than just cooling devices. They offer enhanced cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, and user-friendly functionalities. By upgrading to a new system, you can avail yourself of these benefits and elevate your overall HVAC experience.
If you desire the advantages of these advanced features, considering a replacement for your outdated HVAC system is a wise choice. Embracing the latest technology will not only enhance your cooling experience but also promote cost savings, eco-friendliness, and ease of use. Investing in a modern air conditioning system allows you to enjoy the full range of benefits that today’s HVAC technology has to offer.
AC Maintenance Cost
For an air conditioner to run its best and last its longest, the system will need proper care. This means that you will need to have annual maintenance performed on the unit. You will also need to do your part by changing filters regularly and making sure the area around your outside unit is kept clear of debris.
Additionally, if your AC needs repairs you need to have them taken care of in a timely fashion. Waiting on repairs can mean the AC will run with less efficiency which drives up your energy costs. Running a system with broken parts can also cause even more extensive damage that will make repairs more costly, if not completely impossible.
It is also important to remember that the older a system is, the harder it is to find parts and technicians that know how to fix it. The price of maintenance and repairs always goes up as an AC system ages.
Expired or Invalid Warranty
In an ideal world, your air conditioner would operate flawlessly throughout its entire lifespan without any issues. However, in reality, components can break or wear out over time. To safeguard your finances from unexpected early expenses, it’s advisable to consider obtaining a warranty for your AC unit. This warranty serves as a written assurance from the manufacturer that they will repair or replace any faulty parts within the specified warranty period.
Most air conditioning units come with a limited warranty, which can be accessed by simply registering your product with the manufacturer. It’s important to note that limited warranties have specific limitations regarding their duration and coverage. In many cases, you have the option to purchase an extended warranty for your AC unit. An extended warranty typically extends the warranty period and broadens the scope of coverage provided.
To ensure the validity of your warranty, it is essential to adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. If your AC unit is experiencing issues and your warranty has expired or become invalid, it may be worth considering a replacement, depending on the severity of the problem.
Remember, warranties provide valuable protection, but they require compliance with the contractual obligations. By understanding the terms of your warranty and properly maintaining your AC unit, you can make the most of your warranty coverage and make informed decisions regarding repairs or replacements when necessary.
When faced with the choice of repairing or replacing your air conditioner, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed due to the multitude of factors involved. It’s a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration to ensure your investment is wisely spent. Ultimately, the choice rests in your hands. However, we aim to assist you in navigating the options, enabling you to make a decision that aligns with your best interests.
Weighing the pros and cons, analyzing costs, and assessing the condition of your current system are all vital aspects to consider. By providing insights and information, we hope to empower you with the knowledge necessary to make a well-informed decision.
Remember, your comfort, budget, and long-term benefits are key considerations in this process. As you evaluate the various factors at play, we are here to support you, offering guidance and helping you find the path that suits you best. Making the right choice ensures that your investment not only meets your immediate needs but also serves you well in the years to come.
- Air conditioners generally last between 15 and 20 years, but their lifespan depends on maintenance and usage.
- The cost of replacing an air conditioning unit varies depending on the type of unit and installation.
- It is usually not financially advisable to replace a relatively new AC unit unless the repair costs exceed the “5,000 rule” (age of the unit multiplied by the repair cost).
- Systems that are more than five to ten years old are generally recommended for replacement due to advancements in technology and energy efficiency.
- Regular maintenance is essential to prolonging the life of an air conditioner, including keeping the condenser clean, changing filters, and getting annual professional maintenance checks.
- The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures an air conditioning system’s efficiency, with higher ratings indicating better performance.
- The use of Freon (R22) has been phased out, and it is advisable to transition to systems that use alternatives like Puron (R410A).
- Partially replacing components of an AC system can lead to mismatches and reduced performance, so a complete replacement may be necessary in such cases.
- Exploring federal tax credits and incentives can help reduce the financial burden of purchasing a new energy-efficient air conditioner.
- Consider the aesthetics and design of your home when replacing an AC unit to ensure it complements your overall decor.
- Installing a new HVAC system can increase a home’s value by up to 10% and is particularly beneficial for outdated systems and properties in warm regions.
- Replacing an air conditioner can improve comfort levels at home by ensuring efficient cooling and addressing issues with the old unit.
- Upgrading to the latest air conditioning technology offers advanced features, cost savings, and user-friendly functionalities.
- Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity of an air conditioner, and delaying repairs can lead to higher energy costs and more extensive damage.
- Having an expired or invalid warranty may warrant considering a replacement, depending on the severity of the issue.
If you need the right expert guidance and assistance in making the right decision for your air conditioner replacement, Jennings Heating and Cooling is here for you. Reach out to discuss your options and find the perfect solution for your cooling needs. Trust Jennings to provide you with exceptional service and support throughout the entire process. Call us now at 330-946-5050 to get service.