When facing issues with an older air conditioner, it can be difficult to decide whether to have the current unit fixed or install a new one.
Purchasing and installing a new AC is an expensive undertaking. It’s only natural to want to squeeze more service out of your existing unit. On the other hand, there’s the need to replace your cooling system before it stops working completely.
So how can you tell when it’s time for AC replacement in Houston, Texas? Below are the telltale signs that your old cooling unit won’t do anymore. If you’re experiencing the following issues, it’s time to purchase and install a new air conditioner.
Look out for these eight signs that it’s time to replace Your air conditioning unit in Houston, TX.
- Your AC is More Than 10 Years Old
- Your Energy Bills Have Been on a Steady Rise
- You’re Having to Repair Your AC Frequently
- The $5,000 Rule Applies
- Your AC Isn’t Cooling Your Home Adequately
- Your Air Conditioner Constantly Cycles On and Off
- Your Air Conditioner is Producing Loud Noises and/or Strange Odors
- Your AC Still Uses R-22 Refrigerant
1. Your AC is More Than 10 Years Old
The average life expectancy of a residential air conditioner in Houston is 10 to 15 years. It can even last up to 20 years if you have it maintained and tuned up regularly by Houston AC repair specialists.
When your unit has reached the end of its lifespan, it will keep breaking down and major components might fail beyond repair. Your money is better spent on replacement rather than on repairs.
Even Energy Star recommends starting to plan a replacement once your AC hits the 10 – 15 year mark.
2. Your Energy Bills Have Been on a Steady Rise
Did you know that air conditioning accounts for more than half of your energy bills during the summer? And as your air conditioner ages, it loses its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) points.
See also: Air Conditioning Maintenance Resources to Know.
In its worn-down state, your air conditioning system has to work harder to keep your home cool, and it draws more power than it used to in the beginning.
If you’ve noticed that your energy bills are remarkably high during the cooling season and have been rising year after year, this is a clear sign that your AC unit has lost its efficiency.
You can bring down your utility bills by 20% to 40% by investing in a modern cooling system for your home. An air conditioner with a 15+ Seer rating can even cut your energy bill by half.
3. You’re Having to Repair Your AC Frequently
Have you noticed that you’re constantly on the phone calling your AC repair contractor to come fix your air conditioner? When age takes its toll, you AC unit will start to break down often and require frequent repairs.
Whether your AC is facing numerous issues or some problems just keep recurring, this indicates that your AC is faulty and approaching the end of its life.
Not only are you having to brave the uncomfortable heat as you wait for repairs but you’re also spending a lot of money to pay for repairs during the summer. In this case, it’s better to replace the old air conditioner. If the repair costs in a year exceed 50% of the price of a new AC, it’s clear that a replacement is overdue.
4. If the $5,000 Rule Applies
Another way to determine whether it’s time for a new AC is to use the $5000 rule. This requires that you multiple the cost of repairs you’re facing with the age of your unit. If the result is more than $5000, it’s more cost effective to replace the air conditioner. Otherwise, you can just repair it.
Let’s say it will cost you $800 to repair the AC unit you’ve had for 8 years. $800 multiplied by 8 is $6400, which indicates that you might be better off getting a new cooling system installed than paying for repairs.
5. Your AC Isn’t Cooling Your Home Adequately
If your AC is old and appears to be functioning properly but just isn’t cooling your home effectively, a replacement may be the best solution. It might fail to reach the desired temperature or fail to cool all rooms evenly.
Your home will also feel clammy because the AC won’t be able to extract humidity effectively. You might even experience musty odors due to mold and mildew growth.
If you confirm that the thermostat and motor are working fine and nothing is clogged, it might just be time to upgrade your cooling system.
6. Your Air Conditioner Constantly Cycles On and Off
There’s one unfortunate situation where you might find yourself having to replace your air conditioner when it’s still relatively new: if you bought the wrong size of AC for your house.
If your air conditioner is struggling to cool your home or cycling on and off constantly, it’s likely that your AC is too small or too large for your home.
The only way to solve this problem is to get a new air conditioner with the appropriate enough BTUs (British Thermal Units) for your home’s square footage and ceiling height.
7. Your Air Conditioner is Producing Loud Noises and/or Strange Odors
Has your air conditioner started to draw attention to itself by emitting loud noises and weird odors? These are potential warning signs that the cooling unit is failing and needs replacement.
Loud banging, clanking, clicking, rattling, squeaking, squealing, grinding, whistling, and buzzing sounds signal problems with major AC components such as the compressor and motor. The most cost effective way to solve these kinds of issues is to get a new AC.
Additionally, a healthy AC should emit clean and neutral smelling air. Musty, moldy, or burning smells coming out of your unit are also signs that your unit could be having serious problems and up for replacement.
8. Your AC Still Uses R-22 Refrigerant
Do you still have an old air conditioner that uses R-22/Freon as the refrigerant? Replacing it will benefit both you and the environment.
R-22 has components that contribute to depleting the ozone layer and promoting global warming. Furthermore, its not an energy efficient refrigerant. In fact, it’s production was phased out in 2020.
By doing away with an R-22 reliant AC, you will also reduce your cooling costs. Modern air conditioner use eco-friendly and energy efficient refrigerants.
A simple way to figure out what kind of refrigerant your AC uses is to check the nameplate.
If your AC unit is older than ten years, isn’t cooling your home effectively, and keeps breaking down and requiring costly repairs, having a new AC installed by qualified AC repair technicians is the best option.
Investing in a new air conditioner isn’t cheap but it’s well worth the cost. Not only will you enjoy peace of mind when you have a properly functioning air conditioner but you will also recoup your cost in the form of lower energy bills and potential tax incentives.
Ultimately, timely replacement of your air conditioner will save you money in the long run. To make the most of your investment, be sure to get the right size of AC for your home and stay on top of its care and maintenance.