Is It Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?
If you’ve been having trouble getting good performance from your air conditioner — or even if you haven’t — it may be time to replace it. There are myriad reasons why you would want to consider replacing your unit, but some of the most common ones are as follows:
1. It’s more than 10 years old.
A great number of advances have been made in the last decade in HVAC, particularly in air conditioning that make new units much more efficient than older ones. And in addition to efficiency increases (which are usually noted in a new unit’s EnergyStar rating), most air conditioners sold today are far better for the environment.
2. Its efficiency rating is low.
In particular, try to find out the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of your unit. New units are required to have a SEER rating of 13 or above. Old units can be 20 percent or more expensive to operate. In fact, over time, the cost of the unit itself will be dwarfed by the differences you will spend in energy costs.
3. It uses R22 Freon.
If a unit is not providing the cooling that it once did, a common culprit is the coolant inside. If the coolant is Freon, note that this substance is being phased out by the EPA because it’s bad for the environment. Each refill is expensive, and costs are rising. Switching to a new unit will save you money on energy bills.
4. It needs expensive repairs.
Air conditioners can have a number of things go wrong that are usually expensive to fix. Evaporators can freeze, compressors can fail, coolant fluid can leak or the unit can be polluting. A service call alone for an air conditioner can run to one hundred dollars or more before repairs. Repair costs could exceed the price of a new unit.
5. It breaks down frequently.
Even if the cost of repairs is low, how often does it need to be fixed? Each servicing cost adds up, and the bills are usually not cheap. While it’s true that in some cases you may only need to replace or clean a filter, in other cases the bill can be much higher.
6. It doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to.
Even if your unit seems to be working optimally, how is the temperature in the place it’s supposed to be cooling? If the unit is not heavy duty enough to cool the area it’s supposed to, you may need a more powerful or efficient unit, or both.