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Signs It’s Time to Replace Your AC Unit

Summer temperatures in Weatherford, TX, regularly reach the mid-90s. Without a reliable air conditioner, the interior of your home could become unsafe. Health issues like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and severe dehydration are major risks when residents have to rely on ceiling fans and standing fans only. To help you avoid cooling emergencies, read the ten ways to know when your AC unit is ready for replacement.

1. Your Air Conditioner Has Reached the End of Its Expected Lifespan

Your air conditioner should last between 15 and 25 years. Although they might continue functioning past this time, they may contain obsolete and potentially unsafe coolants or technologies. Many AC units have lost as much as half of their efficiency at the mid-point of their service lives. They’ve also sustained significant, accumulated wear. Replacing an aging air conditioner, even if it’s still “working,” will ensure that significant problems don’t crop up when you need your cooling system.

2. Your Home Cooling Costs Have Skyrocketed Recently

Among the best ways to control your summertime energy bills is to have your air conditioner tuned up. Pre-season tune-up services optimize airflow, eliminate electrical problems, and clear condensate drains. While measures like these reverse some age-related wear, they can’t eliminate all of it. Rising energy bills indicate that your air conditioner’s efficiency has dropped. It also means that you can probably expect additional increases in your energy costs going forward. Compare your summertime energy bills over the past few years to gauge your air conditioner’s efficiency changes. You can request copies of your old bills from your utility service provider, check your online billing records, or compare past and current energy consumption via your smart thermostat if you have one.

3. Your Air Conditioner Has Regular Mid-Season Breakdowns

Air conditioners are most likely to break down during the high-demand cooling season. While problems like icing, overheating, and short cycling may be possible to troubleshoot by simply changing your AC air filter or cleaning your air vents, things like broken fan belts or fan blades, failed capacitors, and compressor issues tend to be more time-consuming and costly. Moreover, your living space could become uninhabitable while waiting for an AC repair service.

Take Stock of Your Cumulative Repair Costs

Add up all of your AC repair charges for the last five years. You can expect your air conditioner to develop most of its problems within the final two years of its lifespan. When accounting for the costs of prior and future issues, you may find that swapping your old equipment out is the most prudent decision.

4. Your Indoor Air Quality Is Poor

Not all allergens and contaminants circulate throughout your HVAC system are dry and dusty. Over time, some incoming debris creates slightly sticky residues on interior AC parts. Dust, pollen, dander, hair, and other particulates can adhere to these. Even with diligent cleaning, a 20-year-old air conditioner always has slight build-ups. During operation, this debris can break free and re-enter your indoor air. Loose connections, aging parts, and other problems can also increase the contaminants that air conditioners take in. Replacing your air conditioner’s indoor air handling unit and outdoor condenser will eliminate all trapped detritus from prior pest infestations, windblown debris, and tacky build-ups. If people in your home regularly sniffle and sneeze when your air conditioner is on, now is the perfect time to boost your indoor air quality (IAQ) with new cooling equipment.

5. Your Home Is Behind the Current Market Standard

Throughout the nation, efficiency drives the purchasing decisions of general consumers and home shoppers. If your cooling equipment is over two decades old, it won’t make the best impression on would-be buyers if you ever list your home. Modern AC systems come with numerous smart capabilities and features, including zoned cooling and cutting-edge, eco-friendly refrigerants, among other things. If you intend to sell your home soon, this improvement will increase its value and marketability.

6. Your Air Conditioner Uses an Obsolete Refrigerant

If your air conditioner is 20 years old or older, it likely uses an obsolete refrigerant. Most air conditioners manufactured before 2010 used Freon or R-22. R-22 was discontinued and phased out due to the ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) it contains. Freon is in increasingly short supply in the United States and is no longer imported and produced domestically. Thus, you’ll pay a fortune when you need Freon recharge service. You might also have a hard time finding HVAC companies that are qualified and licensed to handle it. In 2020, Puron officially replaced Freon as the industry standard for residential AC refrigerants. Although Puron or R-401a doesn’t contain HCFCs, it does contain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are also detrimental to the environment. The latest generation of residential AC refrigerants, Opteon refrigerants, contain neither. A modern, Opteon-reliant AC installed will update your home, minimize environmental impact, and make recharge services more affordable and accessible.

7. Your AC Unit Works but Doesn’t Reliably Cool Your Home

If your AC is correctly installed and well-maintained, the air flowing out of your HVAC vents should always be cold. Older air conditioners often distribute lukewarm or merely cool air due to internal build-ups, declining performance, and other age-related factors.

8. You Have Frequent Humidity Problems Humidity regulation is an essential function of central air conditioners. AC humidity regulation creates and maintains ideal operating conditions for home cooling equipment. It also makes building interiors feel cooler and less prone to problems with mildew and mold. If your indoor air constantly feels muggy and oppressive during summer, advanced AC aging could be why.

9. Your Air Conditioner Emits Foul Smells and Makes Loud Noises

For air conditioners, part of growing older is getting noisier. When first installed, your AC might have been audible only when cycling on and off. Over time, a busy AC’s gentle hum and quiet rumbles could become downright disruptive. A new unit will offer nearly whisper-quiet operation. With no built-up debris in its interior, it will also smell better.

10. Your AC Compressor Has Failed

All new air conditioners come with manufacturer warranties. Your air conditioner might have a two—to five-year limited parts warranty and a 10—to 15-year compressor warranty. Easily the most expensive component in your cooling system, your AC compressor is housed in the outdoor condenser unit. If your AC compressor fails after its warranty has expired or due to non-warranted factors, it’s usually cheaper and better overall to simply replace the entire air conditioner. We’ve proudly served homeowners in Weatherford, TX, and the surrounding cities since 1983. You can count on us for the best heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services. We also provide advanced indoor air quality improvements, ductless mini-split systems, and home water quality testing. If you need a new air conditioner, contact us at Lightfoot Mechanical today by phone or by filling out our online service request form.

Meet the Author
Gary Lightfoot

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Gary Lightfoot took over his family business and continues to run it with the values and standards set 35 years ago

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