When Is The Right Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner?

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Buying a new air conditioner is one of the biggest investments you can make in your home. To make that investment worthwhile, it's important to know when it's time to purchase a new unit and when you're better off making repairs to your current air conditioning system. The following illustrates some of the factors that can sway your decision to replace your air conditioner so that you get the best heating and air conditioning.

Your Air Conditioner's Performance Drops Substantially

Your air conditioner should have no problem keeping up with your home's cooling demands. If you've recently noticed your air conditioning system having trouble keeping your home cool and comfortable, it may be due to a variety of problems brought on by poor maintenance, aging components or even changing conditions within your home. For instance, a new addition to your home can cause demand changes that push your current air conditioner to its limits.

Performance drops are most noticeable when you have a unit that's incorrectly sized for your home. An air conditioner that's too big or too small for your home to handle can suffer a broad range of performance issues, making a complete replacement the only viable choice for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.

Your Current AC Reaches Its Natural Lifespan

A typical air conditioner offers a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years when properly maintained. Although there are many air conditioning units out there that have surpassed that lifespan, the vast majority will experience wear-related issues once they near their projected lifespan. There are plenty of factors that can influence how long your AC system lasts, from home size and cooling capacity to overall build quality.

It's usually good practice to consider replacing your air conditioner once it reaches the 10-year mark. If you're not ready to give up your current air conditioner just yet, you'll at least have plenty of time to research your options and choose the systems that best fits your needs as well as your budget.

Your AC Becomes Obsolete

Technology marches on, making yesterday's innovative features things that are taken for granted today. Although your air conditioning system may have been top-of-the-line a few years ago, it may actually be obsolete right now. This is especially true for air conditioners that still rely on R-22 refrigerant, which is in the process of being phased out in favor of environmentally friendlier alternatives.

The latest air conditioners currently on the market offer features that you may not see in older units. For instance, today's AC systems offer variable-speed fan motors and two-stage compressors that help improve overall efficiency while increasing comfort and decreasing noise. If you want to benefit from these and other features, you're better off upgrading to a newer AC system.

Your Repair Bills Skyrocket

As long as your repair bills remain manageable and repairs themselves are infrequent, holding onto your current air conditioner may be to your advantage. But if the cost of keeping your current air conditioner going suddenly skyrockets with little relief in sight, then it may be time to throw in the towel.

A good way of knowing when it's time to upgrade to a newer AC system is by comparing your current system's repair costs with the cost of a new unit. You can do this by multiplying your unit's age by the cost of the repair. If the multiplied cost of repairing your current AC system exceeds the purchase price of a new unit, then you should go with the newer unit.  

You Want to Save Energy

It's no secret that older air conditioners tend to use more energy as they get older. You might also have an AC system that offers a lower seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating than then modern units of today. If you've noticed your energy bills increasing with each passing year, then you may want to consider switching to a newer AC system that offers a higher SEER rating and the increased energy efficiency that comes with it.