Is your air conditioner acting up? Maybe it is making a loud, unusual noise or maybe it is not cooling your house as well as it once did. You might not be sure how old the system is, as it might have been in the house when you purchased it.
While regular tune-ups and maintenance can help you prolong the life of your air conditioner, there will likely come a time when the system needs more than a basic tune-up. At that point, you might find yourself having to decide if it is better to repair the unit or to replace it with a new model. If you are not sure whether it is better to repair your system or get a new one, here are a few tips to help you decide.
How to Know When to Repair Your Air Conditioning System
In some cases, all that is needed to get your air conditioner running like almost-new again is a quick repair. Repairing your AC can be cost-effective and appropriate in certain instances. For example, if the repairs needed are minor or infrequent, it often makes sense to repair, rather than replace, your system. If your system just needs one or two small, inexpensive repairs a year, it most likely makes economic sense to repair it rather than invest in an entirely new system. Once you start needing many repairs a year, that is usually an indication your system is starting to fail and that a replacement might be more appropriate and cost-effective in the long run.
The age of your air conditioner can also help you decide whether repairing it is a good option or not. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, newer air conditioners are less likely to need extensive or frequent repairs compared to older models. An older model also tends to cost more to operate than newer, more energy-efficient options. An energy-efficient air conditioner can help to reduce your cooling costs by about 20%.
How to Know When to Replace Your Air Conditioning System
Replacing your air conditioner can be the better option in certain instances. If you are starting to get the sense that a repair technician is visiting your home more often than not, that is usually a sign your system is due for a replacement. There are some other factors as well that can help you determine whether or not a replacement is a right call for you at this time:
- Your air conditioner is more than 10-years-old. A lot can happen in a decade, especially in the life of an air conditioner. Not only is an older unit more likely to have problems, but it is not going to be as efficient as newer models. Efficiency requirements for air conditioners have changed over the years. If your air conditioner came with the house, or you are not sure when you purchased it, you can often find the manufacturing date on the manufacturer’s nameplate on the unit or in the unit’s serial number.
- Your energy bills are on the rise. As things get older, they tend to need to work harder to do the same tasks, and the same is true for an older air conditioner. It often has to work harder to keep your home comfortable. One way to see if your system is under strain is to take a peek at your energy bills. Are the bills for this year considerably higher than for last year or the year before? If so, it is likely because your air conditioner is using more energy to keep your home cool. Replacing it can help to lower your energy expenses.
- Your system uses R-22 refrigerant. At the start of 2020, the production and import of R-22 (aka HCFC-22) refrigerant in the U.S. ended. While new air conditioning systems will not use R-22 and it is no longer possible to produce or import that refrigerant, you can continue to use an air conditioner that uses it. As long as your air conditioner continues to work and does not leak refrigerant, you do not need to replace it. However, if your system begins to have problems or leaks, and it uses R-22 refrigerant, it might make more sense to replace it with a new system that uses an alternative, non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. Your best option, in this case, is to schedule a consultation with a certified technician, who can evaluate your air conditioner and help you decide the best way to proceed.
Benefits of Replacing Your HVAC System
Replacing your home’s air conditioning system can benefit your household both financially and physically. Some of the benefits of a new air conditioner or HVAC system include:
- Improved indoor air quality: Often, the air inside can be lower-quality or more polluted than the air outside of the home. Many factors can contribute to poor indoor air quality, including the condition of your home’s HVAC or air conditioning system. If your system is older, the air filters are clogged or there is a lot of dust and debris in the ductwork, it is likely that the dust and debris will circulate through the home. Replacing the system and cleaning out the ductwork will help to improve the quality of the air inside. A poorly functioning HVAC or air conditioner can also contribute to elevated humidity levels inside the home. High humidity can trigger mold growth, which also affects indoor air quality. Getting a new system with more effective humidity control can help you and others in your household breathe easier.
- Increased peace-of-mind: With a new system installed, and a service agreement that includes regular tune-ups in place, you can feel confident that your air conditioner will be there to do its job, keeping your family cool and comfortable when outside temperatures are high. Upgrading your air conditioner to a newer model can give you peace of mind that it will continue to work and will be more reliable than a system that needs frequent repairs.
- Lower energy costs: Replacing an older air conditioner with an energy-efficient, a newer model will help to lower your electric bills. A new air conditioner can reduce your energy costs in a couple of ways. First, energy-efficient models need less energy to operate, meaning your bills can be lower. Second, a new model that is in good working order is not going to need to work as hard as an older model that is starting to fail or decline. Although you will need to pay to get a new air conditioner or HVAC system, financing options help to make the cost of replacement more affordable. SMO Energy offers financing with 0% down for qualified buyers and low monthly payments. Special offers and rebates can also help to make getting a new system more affordable.
Should I Replace My Furnace and Air Conditioner at the Same Time?
Whether it makes sense to replace your furnace and air conditioner together depends on a few factors. One factor is the age of each system. If both are getting up there in age, such as more than 10-years-old, it can make sense to replace them at the same time. It is also a good idea to replace the AC and furnace together if both use the same components. For example, if your air conditioner uses your furnace’s blower, then upgrading the systems together is a good option. Upgrading to a new, energy-efficient air conditioner but continuing to use a blower that is not energy-efficient will not help you save money or reduce energy use.
SMO Energy can help you decide whether replacing your cooling system on its own is the right option or whether you are better off replacing your heating and cooling systems simultaneously. You can schedule a free in-home appointment with one of our expert energy consultants to provide you with the best options for you and your home.
What Happens If You Neglect to Repair or Replace Your HVAC as Needed?
If your air conditioner is not showing visible problems, you might not think that you need to do anything about it. It could also be that your system has some seemingly small issues that do not seem like a cause for concern.
When it comes to your air conditioner, it is better to zero in on the small problems and to be proactive about repairs and maintenance than it is to ignore issues or hope that they will resolve themselves. Waiting until a problem becomes major, such as your air conditioner shutting off and refusing to operate on a hot day, can be more expensive than taking action the minute you notice something is up.
Your system is likely to give you signs that something is amiss, such as by making unusual noises, using more energy, or turning on and off more frequently. If you call a technician in to look at the system, diagnose the problem, and recommend a course of action sooner rather than later, you are likely to spend less money and have less stress and frustration.
How SMO Energy Can Help You
Is it time to replace your air conditioner, or does it need a simple repair? SMO Energy can help you decide. If you have noticed higher energy bills or a decline in your home’s comfort levels, scheduling a free energy consultation with one of our certified, trained technicians can help you get to the root of the problem. One of our technicians will visit your home, examine your current equipment, take measurements and listen to your needs and concerns before recommending a way to move forward.
If it is time to get a new system, we can help you choose the equipment that will work best for your home, based on its size and your comfort needs. We can also help you choose the best way to pay for the new air conditioner, whether through financing your purchase or paying upfront.
To learn more about how SMO Energy can help to improve your home’s total comfort, contact us today.