A well-functioning air conditioning system is a modern comfort on which most of us have grown dependent. Unless you live in a city such as San Diego, which is famous for being 72 degrees year-around, you probably can’t survive the summer without one. So if your AC unit goes out, this expenditure becomes a necessity. But when is it necessary to replace your AC unit before it goes out? Here are 6 signs that it is time to replace your air conditioner.
Some will say 15 years, others claim 20 is the magic number. Wherever you decide to draw the line, make sure you don’t let your air conditioner outlive its life span. If you notice something a little off, and your AC is near the recommended replacement age, have a professional take a look and tell you if the time has come.
A gentle humming sound is generally normal and harmless coming from your air conditioning unit and might even lull you to sleep on those hot summer nights. But if your unit is making a grinding, rattling, banging, clanking, clicking, whining, or otherwise disconcerting noise, then you probably have loose or broken parts. Make sure to get this checked out and consider replacing the unit if these problems are due to age or too much wear and tear.
Frequent Capacitor and Fuse Failures
Capacitors work with the compressor, the blower motor, and the outside fan in your air conditioner. If your AC is humming when the fan is not running, it’s likely because of a capacitor problem. Both failing capacitors and fuses are signs that you need a new AC.
There is Acid Present in the Refrigerant
Unstable refrigerant can cause the formation of acids inside your AC unit, and severely shorten the life of the unit as a whole. A licensed contractor is needed to perform this test. However, it is a common maintenance recommendation and, should you catch it in time, acidic conditions can be cleaned up before a compressor motor burns out.
Your House Never Seems to be Cool
If you feel like you’re running your AC all the time, but your house or apartment is consistently hot, you may need to upgrade your unit. As an air conditioner ages, it becomes less and less efficient and may not be able to condition the home as well. If you feel like you just can’t trust the thermostat when it says that its 65 degrees, stop torturing yourself and have a new unit installed.
Your AC is Significantly Increasing Its Energy Consumption
If you notice that your energy bill is rising, but your electrical utility company has not raised their rates, then you should probably invest in a new unit. Paying more for your bills each month, rather than just replacing the unit is not going to give you a good return on your investment. Bonus tip: If you haven’t noticed your bills rising, but you want to be extra vigilant, EnergyStar has a free tool, called the Home Energy Yardstick at https://www.energystar.gov/, that helps you figure out if you’re are spending too much on energy.
Most of the time when there is a problem with your air conditioner, you can have it repaired. But as is often the case, you want to be sure that your investments make sense, no matter how much they cost. And when it comes to your AC unit, sometimes the money you spend repairing an old one would most likely be better spent on a new one.
If you feel you need some advice on your unit, or have questions regarding repairing vs. replacing, reach out to Shepherds Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning! We would be happy to provide honest assistance.