So many things can signal an air conditioning system that’s having trouble. Offensive odors can be a sign of a dead animal in the ducts or mold and mildew. You may find your home is more humid than it used to be. You might find some rooms are cooler than others.
All of these indicate that something’s wrong, and you should look into hiring a professional AC technician to inspect your system. What about the more obvious signs that your system has reached its end-of-life stages? Here are four key signs that it’s time to price a new air conditioning system.
Your System Is More Than 20 Years Old
Energy.gov reports that the average central air conditioning system lasts for 15 to 20 years. You may get extra life from it if you’ve had it professionally inspected and maintained regularly throughout its lifespan, but if you’re not the original owner, you may have no idea how well they maintained their AC system.
If your system is older than that, it’s a good time to replace it. It may still be working as well as it can, but an older unit is using far more energy than newer systems. Today’s air conditioning systems have SEER ratings of up to 26, which can lead to drastic savings on your energy bills. How much will you save? A newer system can deliver savings of 20% to 40%.
The savings you experience are a great reason to replace an older system, but there’s another thing to consider. An older system isn’t going to tell you exactly when it’s going to stop working. Temperatures across the U.S. are soaring, and the last thing you want is to have your AC stop working on one of the hottest days of the year. If you take proactive steps to replace an older system before it fails, you won’t be hot and miserable waiting for the arrival and installation of your new system.
Your Home Isn’t Cooling Like It Used To
When your home isn’t getting cool enough, even with the air conditioner running all day and night, it is very likely that its efficiency is declining. Before you call a technician, just make sure that all windows in the warmer rooms are securely closed and latched. Even the smallest opening will allow heat to pour in. Feel for drafts and use weatherstripping to block drafts on windows and doors to boost efficiency.
There may be other issues causing this, so it’s important to have a professional assessment. You might be able to get extra life from your central AC system but having the ducts restored or cleaned. You might need to have it repaired. If you don’t take action, your bills will continue to increase, and eventually, your system will fail.
If your system is reaching its end of life, you have to consider replacing it. Sure, you might be able to get it repaired, but how long will it take before the next component breaks? Before you consider paying for the repairs, make sure it’s a cost-effective move. Homeguide estimates the cost of an AC condenser replacement to be between $1,200 to $4,200 in 2022. Costs do fluctuate depending on your location, but if that’s how much you’re looking at for the repair, you have to consider whether it’s worthwhile when compared to a brand new AC system that would be under warranty.
It’s Making Very Unusual Noises
When your air conditioning system starts making unusual noises, it’s a key sign that something is wrong. You might be hearing bangs, clanks, buzzes, hisses, and shrieks. Banging and clunking noises are often linked to loose parts somewhere in the air conditioning system. If they’re within the compressor, you’d be looking at a full compressor replacement.
Buzzing is usually linked to something electrical. It could be a bad condenser fan or compressor. It can be a problem with ice building up inside the central air conditioning system. Squeals are often related to fans. The bearings may be shot or need lubrication. If you have a very old system that still has an AC condenser belt, it’s time to replace your unit with a modern, energy-efficient model. Another concerning noise is hissing. This is often linked to refrigerant leaks. If you ignore it, you’re straining your system.
It’s important with any noise to have it professionally assessed. It could be an easy fix, but if your system is already older, noises are often the first signs that an air conditioning system is starting to fail. Repairs are often a waste of money, but the only way to know for sure is by scheduling an AC expert for a free assessment.
Your Energy Bills Are Skyrocketing
Energy bills increase in general. That’s all part of an increased cost of living. But, what if your bills are increasing past the rate increases the electricity or gas company published? This could be a problem with your central AC system.
Several problems with air conditioners can cause your energy bills to increase. If the ducts are clogged, the system works harder to move air around. If there are leaks in your ducts, hot air escapes back into the walls, your basement, or your attic, so your system has to work twice as hard to try to get rooms cooled to the temperature you’ve set. The harder your fans or condenser have to work, the higher your bills climb. Too much or too little refrigerant also makes your system less efficient.
If an air conditioning expert inspects your system and rules those issues out, you’re left with the system working harder because it’s aging. The older a system is, the more the SEER rating decreases due to loss of efficiency. For example, one study took a four-ton unit with an estimated capacity of 45,000 BTU and tracked it over 20 years. By the end of 20 years, the unit’s estimated BTU was down to 10,000. It has to work harder to cool effectively, and that increases energy bills.
We agree that a new air conditioning system is a big investment, but it’s an important one. That’s why All Year Cooling offers free estimates, including a full assessment of your system’s health and an estimate of what it would cost to repair your system for now. If a new system is advised, we work with you.
When shopping for a new system, we’ll help you understand the benefits of more modern technology. Not only are air conditioning systems quieter than you might imagine, but they also have special features like filter check lights, variable speeds, UV lighting to kill bacteria and germs, steel cabinets to prevent damage to the coils, and automatic-delay fan switches.
Partner with All Year Cooling and you get to work with our air conditioning finance partners. If you don’t get approved by one of them, we also offer internal financing plans. It’s our goal to make sure you stay cool all summer long, with a system that’s designed specifically for your home to ensure both efficiency and effectiveness. Fill out our online form or call us for a free estimate.