Should I replace my Air conditioner? Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner with Inspired Green

An air conditioner is one of those household appliances many can’t quite live without. They make blazing hot days more bearable and help filter your indoor air to keep it clean and healthy.

Like every household appliance, the air conditioner can develop problems over time and, in the worst-case scenario, break down. Although it may not be very obvious that your air conditioner needs to be replaced, most warning signs that an air conditioner gives off are very subtle.

Your air conditioner needing frequent, expensive repairs is a telltale sign the unit should be replaced. You should also replace your unit instead of repairing it if the warranty has elapsed and it’s older than fifteen years old.

However, there are plenty of smaller indications your air conditioning unit might be ready for replacement. This is the reason we have compiled the 13 most common tell-tale signs indicating that you should consider replacing your HVAC unit.

Read on to learn which signs to look for & the benefits of replacing your old air conditioner.

13 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioning units don’t last forever; over time, they start becoming inefficient. Often, how long your HVAC unit lasts depends on such factors as how frequently it’s used and the climate in which you live. Regularly serviced units usually last longer than poorly maintained ones. While this is the case, even the well-maintained air conditioning systems run into problems after some time. Wondering if your air conditioning unit needs replacing? Here are 13 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner:

1. Air temperature isn’t correct for settings

An older air conditioning unit may be producing regular air levels alright, but the air may not be hot or cold as per the settings. It may even stop heating or cooling altogether. When this happens, it’s time to call in a professional for inspection because there could be a serious problem.

For instance, when your unit produces warm air when you’ve set it for cooling, it could be having a damaged compressor. Inconsistent temperatures; like when some rooms are hot and others cold, can also be a red flag. While it could be a problem with the valves or filters, the entire unit may be heading out.

2. Diminished or no air flow from unit

Your HVAC unit may soon need replacing if when in operation, there’s very little or completely no cold air being produced. This may be a sign of a failing compressor or some other major component. While you can inspect it yourself, like checking the filters, call in a professional to rule out significant problems.

3. AC unit produces excess moisture or is leaking

Some types of air conditioners drip some water or condensation outside the house, which is normal. However, most air conditioning units should normally stay dry whether they are in use or not. So if your air conditioning unit is leaking water or producing a lot of condensation in the house, then be ready; you might need a replacement.

Water and electrical components combination can be hazardous, so for safety reasons, an inspection by a professional will be necessary. The air conditioning technician will also find out the cause of the problem and advice you whether it needs a repair or you’ll have to install a new unit.

4. Air conditioner is short cycling

To maintain set temperatures throughout the house, an air conditioner may cycle on and off. This is quite normal. However, if you are having trouble getting your unit started or frequently switching itself on and off, it could be a significant problem. Constant cycling can lead to complete system failure.

5. Strange noises coming from your AC

Properly functioning HVAC systems operate almost silently. Minor sound changes could mean your unit needs some repairs. For instance, some part in the unit has loosened, or the fan is not working correctly. However, more strange noises like grinding, rattling, or buzzing could mean a major fault that will call for a replacement. Unusual odors could also indicate problems. Maybe the insulation has been damaged, the ductwork is moldy, or the filter needs replacement. If such minor problems are addressed and the foul smell doesn’t go away, you might want to replace the entire unit. Properly functioning HVAC systems operate almost silently. Minor sound changes could mean your unit needs some repairs. For instance, some part in the unit has loosened, or the fan is not working correctly. However, more strange noises like grinding, screeching, rattling, or buzzing could mean a major fault that will call for a replacement.

6. Unusual smells from your AC unit

Unusual odors could also indicate problems. Maybe the insulation has been damaged, or the ductwork is moldy, or the filter needs replacement. If such minor problems are addressed and the foul smell doesn’t go away, you might want to replace the entire unit.

7. Air conditioner requires frequent repairs

If your air conditioner has become more of an expense requiring frequent repairs, then you really should consider replacing it. Typically, an air conditioner should be serviced once or twice a year to keep it in top shape.

But if yours needs constant repairing and mending several times a year, a major component could be defective, and replacement may be the more efficient and economical option. While you can do a major repair or replace a major part, often, such serious repairs result in future issues. When your unit needs a complex repair after its warranty has expired, you’d better get a new unit.

8. Unexplained increase in electricity bills

Your unit may seem to be working quite normally, but if you notice that your energy bills have suddenly hiked, and after some “energy audit” you single out your air conditioner as the culprit, then find out why it has become so less inefficient.

It could be overworking due to some major underlying problem. Try cleaning the vents, check for knots and lumps in its condensing oil, and replace the filters. An air conditioning technician will help you determine whether its working life has come to an end.

9. Air conditioner is over 15 years old

The most obvious indication that your air conditioner needs to be replaced is when it reaches the end of its useful life. The typical lifespan of an air conditioner is around 15 years, at which time it must be changed. Some air conditioners may work well beyond their designed lifespan, but they become less efficient with time. While regular maintenance can help your air conditioner stay in good working order for a long time, there are only so many repairs and adjustments you can perform on it. It’s usually best to replace an air conditioner before it breaks down if it has exceeded its anticipated lifespan.

10. Vibrations coming from outdoor unit

If the condenser unit begins to vibrate when the air conditioner is in use, it may be an indication of a problem. The vibrations may go unnoticed at first, but if no measures are taken, they could get worse over time. The outdoor unit, also known as the condenser, is the component of air conditioners that is installed outside your house. The unit’s goal is to draw in fresh air from the outside and pass it through the air conditioning system.

11. Excessive dust in the house

If you’ve started to notice your home accumulating more dust than usual, it may be a sign your air conditioner’s air filters have gotten clogged. Failing to clean the air filter regularly may cause the filter to wear out, and eventually, the air conditioner may start to fail. Air conditioners don’t just keep your home’s climate cool and comfy – they also help improve indoor air quality. Dust accumulating around the house even after cleaning the air filters could mean that the air conditioner has already started to fail, prompting you to replace it.

12. Acid formation or corrosion in the AC unit

Acid formation in your air conditioning system is never a good sign, and if it’s not repaired right away, it may necessitate the services expert. The continued acid buildup within an air conditioning unit may damage the unit, reduce the length of its life, or cause it to stop working at all. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Extreme heat exposure (common in locations with high temperatures or frequent heat waves)
  • An effect of incorrect repairs or poor and inconsistent upkeep.
  • The refrigerant was contaminated (impurities from the environment and debris)
  • An old air conditioner (one that has been in operation for longer than expected)
  • Leakage through the condensate pump (possibly from frozen evaporator coils, overflows or cracks in drip pans, among other causes)
  • Acid accumulation is a relatively common problem whose damaging effects could be mitigated or prevented through swift intervention, especially before the compressor motor is corroded by acid. However, if the air con unit is already damaged by corrosion, it may be time for a replacement.

13. Room takes a long time to cool down

If you notice that your air conditioning unit has consistently been taking a long time to cool the room it is in, and has been unable to regulate the desired temperature consistently over long periods, then it is most likely an indication that it needs to be checked. Of course, this is applicable only if you’re sure that the power of the air conditioner is appropriate for the room it is in. An air conditioner that is too small and weak when placed in a room that is too big for it will exhibit similar problems. Check and verify that the filters are free from any gunk or debris and that both the thermostat and the motor are operating as intended. After inspecting the components, if everything has been seen to be in proper working order, but the air conditioner still struggles to cool the room quick enough, then it is most likely an indicator that the unit is reaching the end of its lifespan and should be replaced. If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s critical that you get your HVAC system checked by a professional to see whether it needs repair or replacement. Taking action right away may help save you money on a new unit. If you do need to replace your air conditioner, an expert can advise you on the best air con upgrade for your needs.

Benefits of Air Conditioner Replacement

Completely replacing your air conditioner is sometimes the best option, especially if your air conditioner is constantly needing repairs and isn’t providing comfortable, cool air. The main benefits of an air conditioner replacement are:

  1. New Technology Costs Less to Run

    As technology advances, more energy efficient systems are created. The older your system, the less energy efficient your system is because the technology was worse when you had it installed. With a more efficient unit, you will be saving money while your system will be achieving better results.

    For instance, a case study by Daikin showed that upgrading to a new split system air conditioner from an older model may lead to as much as 46% savings in energy costs for cooling and heating. This can save you up to $1523.40 over 5 years compared to repairing an old air con unit.

    2. Better Sized AC for Your Current Needs

    Both over and under-sized units may run constantly, leading to poor humidity control and premature failure. An undersized unit will be ineffective at properly heating or cooling all of your spaces to your desired temperature, particularly those furthest from the unit.

    When thinking about doing home renovations, be sure to keep in mind the potential necessity of a new ducted unit to maintain your home’s temperature. You may even benefit from a different type of air conditioning to cool your home more cost-effectively.

    3. More Cost-Effective to Replace than Repair

    Installing a new system can be a higher upfront cost but allows for running cost savings due to the increased energy efficiency. Further, the cost to repair your current AC unit over the next few years may actually outweigh the expense of upgrading your air conditioner.

    Depending on the age of your unit, the parts that may need fixing may be obsolete or expensive if they’re hard to find, so upgrading to a new system helps to ensure you aren’t wasting money on an old unit.

    4. Improved Ventilation and Air Quality

    Regardless of the specific type of air conditioner you are using, continuing to use an old AC unit is less hygienic than replacing it. This is consistent even after you replace the air filters since the ageing unit will inevitably circulate the bacteria, rust, or mold in the air that it can no longer filter out.

    This means using a new air conditioning unit will save you the discomfort of breathing accumulated debris, spores or bacteria inside an old air conditioning unit. In fact, some modern air conditioners have advanced filtering and self-cleaning systems that help ensure the cleanliness of the air.

    5. Improved Air Conditioning Performance

    Replacing your air conditioner means you’ll be benefitting from the peak of modern air conditioning advancements. Since air conditioners are usually replaced every 15 years, your new air conditioner will have decades’ worth of power and new features.

    It goes without saying that a newer air conditioner will bring about a stronger airflow. However, what most people don’t realize is that this comes with the plethora of modern climate solutions that generally come with newer models. This could mean the difference between ‘missed spots’, weak airflow, and noisy ambient operation sounds to a fuller, stronger, and quieter climate solution in the comfort of your home.

    6. Modern Functions & Features

    Replacing your air conditioning unit with a newer model lets you experience the quality of life features brought about by modern technology. This includes the inclusion of WiFi connectivity or technology that detects the presence of a person in the room, turning off automatically when empty.

    Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

    The main factors that determine whether you should replace or repair your air conditioner are the age and size of the unit and how often it’s requiring repairs. If you have a unit that’s constantly needing expensive repairs, it’s a good sign the system should be replaced. When considering if you should repair or replace your air conditioner, the main factors to think about are the:

    1. Extent of Problems – If the air conditioner only requires minor repairs such as loose ductwork, electrical problems, clogged drain line, blocked coils, or annual maintenance or servicing, then having it repaired may be the better option.

    However, if the unit has problems with the fan and blower motor, the compressor, or its condenser coils, then it will be much better to have it replaced since the major components can be difficult and costly to repair or replace.

    2. Cost of Repairs – If any or the total repair costs for the air conditioner are not more than 50% of the price of a brand new unit, and your unit still has plenty of life in it, then repairing it can be cost-effective. This is also true for units that are still under manufacturer warranty.

    However, if any or all of the repair costs are equal to at least 50% of the price of a brand new unit, then it would be wiser to have it replaced instead. While a new air conditioner will still be more expensive than an expensive repair, the efficiency of new air conditioning units will recoup the costs you have incurred over time.

    3. Frequency of Repairs – How often your air conditioner requires repair is a crucial factor. If it only had less than two repairs in the past 10 years, then the best way forward is to have it repaired. However, if the unit has had more than two repairs in the last 10 years, then it is time to really consider having it replaced.

    4. Efficiency of the Unit – As with most electrical appliances, efficiency is a major determinant of whether something is still worth keeping or not. If your air conditioner has a high Energy Star rating, then it is better to have it repaired, as modern air conditioning units are generally the ones with high-efficiency ratings.

    However, if the unit is energy inefficient (e.g. outdated efficiency star rating, no inverter technology, and low energy star rating), then it is high time to replace the unit. Efficiency aside, keep in mind that old air conditioners use old refrigerants that are costly and cause harm to the environment.

    5. Size of the Unit – Lastly, the size of the air conditioner should also be taken into consideration. Air conditioning units have sizes for very specific room sizes or interiors. Smaller units are meant for smaller rooms, and bigger units are meant for larger rooms.

    Having said that, an air conditioner that was professionally installed, selected specifically, and tailored to your house (through a heat gain calculation), then you can expect the unit to last quite a while, therefore repairing it can be worthwhile. However, if your air conditioning unit is already too large or small for the room it is in, then it will cause poor humidity control and uneven temperatures that may eventually lead to premature failure. In such circumstances, replacing the unit will be much wiser.

    In many cases, a ducted air conditioning unit can be replaced without needing to replace all ducting. However, if the whole system is in bad shape, you may also require HVAC ductwork replacement. Remember that deciding whether to repair or replace your air conditioning unit has a large impact on your energy costs. A Daikin air con replacement case study found that over a 5-year period, choosing to replace your air conditioner rather than repair it can save you thousands of dollars.

    Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

    The key questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about replacing your air conditioner are:

    1. Is your unit 12+ years old?
    2. Have you conducted fewer than two repairs in the last ten years or three major ones?
    3. Do you have high energy costs?
    4. Is your unit producing strange noises?
    5. Do you need constant service visits?
    6. Have your recent repairs been minor or extensive?
    7. Is the cost of these repairs over 50% of the cost of a new unit?
    8. Is your unit short cycling (turning itself off randomly)?
    9. Does your system have rust damage issues?
    10. Do you have the right system size for your home?

    Air conditioner replacement is inevitable once your unit reaches the end of its useful life, and when it’s time to get a new air conditioner, you’ll want a professional to install it for you. Contact us now to get your free Air Conditioner installed !

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