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When Should I Replace My AC Unit?

Posted on Jun 22, 2017

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Your air conditioning system is the unsung hero of summer. Face it, how often do you think about your AC unity? Now how often does it run? The answer to the first questions is likely, “Rarely” while the answer to the second is probably, “Every day.” In the often stifling North Carolina heat, we run our AC units quite a bit during the warmer spring and summer months without a break. It’s an appliance that runs thanklessly for nearly half the year and often goes unnoticed. Your AC unit is constantly trying to meet the demands you and your family placed on it, which can be a struggle if you’re a household that frequently changes the settings or sets it to work in overdrive. If you’re not taking care of the unit according to its required maintenance standards, it’s likely to give out on your sooner rather than later, leaving you and your home in sweltering heat until you can get a new one running to cool the place down again.

A good way to avoid being in that situation is to keep an eye out for when it’s time to replace your AC unit all together. Waiting until it gives out for good is fine if you want to be without cool air for a while until you arrange for a new unit to be purchased and installed, but if you’d rather avoid that inconvenience, look for the signs of a failing unit and make arrangements before the burn out sets in. How do you know when it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit? Here are a few things we at Air Works Heating & Air recommend looking for.

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1. It’s requiring big repairs.

As with your car, if you’re spending a large amount of money to replace your unit, it may be a better idea to just replace it and start fresh, especially if this isn’t the first repair that’s been needed. A good rule of thumb to judge whether purchasing a new one is more advantageous than continuing paying for repairs is to use the 5,000 rule. Following this method, if the cost of the necessary repair multiplied by the age of the unit equals more than $5,000, then it’s time to just get a new one. Otherwise, you’re likely continuing to invest in a failing money pit. Aside from the costs involved, if your unit is needing repairs frequently, that means it’s not doing its job to keep your home reliably cool, so why would you want to hang on to it anyway?

2. It still uses R 22 freon.

Freon is being phased out in the industry due to government concerns about conserving valuable energy. That means freon costs are rising considerably. If your unit still uses this substance, you’ll eventually have to switch over to R410A, so it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and make the switch instead of investing in a method that’s becoming obsolete.

3. Your house isn’t getting cool enough.

This is a no-brainer. If your home is never reaching the desired temperature or always feels stuffy even though you hear the AC working, it’s likely the unit is cutting out when it shouldn’t or is failing to work efficiently enough to meet your needs appropriately. It’s a matter of time before this unit gives out, so go ahead and make arrangements to make the switch.

4. Your air conditioner is over ten years old.

An air conditioning system that is well-maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will likely last about 15 years, though definitely expect less if you haven’t been performing these maintenance requirements regularly. Considering a new unit at around the ten-year mark is a good idea for most households. Air conditioning units have seen major advancements in the last few years that can save you electricity and money, so going modern is a win-win. Your old unit won’t have to struggle to keep up, and you get a new unit you can have the peace of mind of knowing you can rely on for many years while saving money in the long run.

Got an air conditioning question? Send them our way and look for an answer in future Air Works blog posts!

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