When should a central air conditioner be replaced?

A well-maintained central air conditioning system is essential when it comes to ensuring a comfortable environment inside a house. However, even the most well-maintained central air conditioning unit can be subjected to wear and tear. It could also reach its maximum life expectancy and would eventually need to be replaced.

When should the central air conditioning system be replaced?

So how can a homeowner tell if his central air conditioning needs to be replaced? Ask any experienced HVAC Contractor, and he will say that the age of the Central Air Conditioning Unit is one of the best indicators that would point to a need for a Central Air Conditioning replacement.

Length of Use

The average expected lifespan for a central air conditioning system is at least 12 years. Once the air conditioner reaches this number of years of operation, then it may be best to consider upgrading to a new Central Air conditioning System. While the current central air conditioning unit may still cool the whole house comfortably, it may not be as efficient as it should be.

As the years’ pass, newer central air conditioning models become more efficient, demanding less energy to operate. Moreover, older versions of central air conditioning systems also use refrigerants that are about to be phased out in the market. The R-22 or the refrigerant that allows older central air conditioning units are getting scarce in the market as it has been ordered for phase out because of its harmful effect on the environment. Newer central air conditioning models make use of an eco-friendlier refrigerant that is cheaper, easier to procure, and more eco-friendly. R-22, on the other hand, can be more expensive as it is not as available nowadays compared to before.

Buying a new central air conditioning unit even before the current one reached the end of life, can be a good investment. Experts say the investment will pay off through lower utility bills, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Frequent Need for Repairs

If the central air conditioning unit is in constant need for repairs, then it may be high time to consider replacing it. Homeowners should at least have a record of how much they have spent for repairs and part replacement, and have a professional assess whether it is more practical to have the unit replaced or repaired.

When the unit is already beyond its warranty period, it could be possible that repeated need for repairs may no longer be practical. Moreover, the inconvenience brought about by frequent central air conditioning break downs can already be counter-productive.

Need for a Major Repair following a Breakdown

A Major Repair that is beyond the warranty of the Central Air Conditioning system should at least be considered as an indicator that the unit may need to be replaced soon. HVAC Contractors have a formula in assessing the practicality of repairing a central air conditioning unit. If the cost of the repair, multiplied by the age of the air conditioning unit will amount to more than $5,000, then repairing the major issue can be considered as an impractical move. However, if the end amount is less than $5,000 then, it is still best to have the unit repaired.

A sudden upsurge in utility bills

A sudden surge in utility bills even though there are no significant changes in power consumption, can point out to an inefficient air conditioning system. Heating and cooling systems account for over 40 percent of a home’s utility consumption, and when there is an unwarranted upsurge, the homeowner should act immediately.
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers

When there is an increase in electric bills, it is best to have an HVAC Contractor examine the Central Air Conditioner. At least, the contractor can undertake a maintenance inspection and find out if there is a malfunction somewhere that has been causing unintended increases in electric bills. The contractor can also evaluate whether the air conditioner needs to be replaced, or needs to undergo a simple system tune-up procedures.

Here’s a review of modern HVAC systems homeowners wanting to upgrade, can choose from.