The Department of Energy recommends homeowners replace their HVAC system every 10 to 15 years. Modern air conditioners are durable, but their major components will begin to deteriorate after around ten years depending on how often you use and maintain them.
AC units that are more than ten years old also likely use a refrigerant known as R-22. This type of freon is not only outdated, but it is harmful to the environment. Upgrading to a newer unit will reduce your carbon footprint while cutting down on your monthly energy bills.
2. Repair Costs More Than Half the Cost of a New AC
If you are on the fence about whether to repair or replace your current system and it is more than a decade old, purchasing a new system will be a better investment. All air conditioning systems will require a repair from time to time, but if your system is in need of a repair that is more than half the cost of a new AC, it is smarter to invest in a new one.
3. Your Energy Bills Keep Increasing
While there will be seasonal changes to your energy costs, bills on the same month of different years should be relatively similar. High energy bills are another common sign that you should replace or service your HVAC system. As heating and cooling systems age, their efficiency tends to decline. This can be especially problematic for those that do not have these systems serviced at least once or twice a year.
Regular maintenance will increase the lifespan of your air conditioning system and keep your AC unit running as efficiently as possible, but at some point, an upgrade will be necessary. Upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioner can cut down on your energy bills by as much as 20 percent.
4. You Cannot Keep Your Home at a Comfortable Temperature
An aging HVAC system will often struggle to keep your home at a consistent temperature. This could be the result of a variety of issues such as a damaged thermostat, an inaccurate thermostat, low fluid levels, clogged filters, cracked ducts, or serious damage to the motors.
Temperature inconsistencies typically mean that your air conditioning system is not powerful enough to supply air throughout your home, or that the ductwork is not properly installed. In either case, opting to keep your air conditioning system as is will result in an uncomfortable home environment and increased energy bills. Not all air conditioners are created equal and with homes varying in size, layout, location and more, every home will have unique needs when it comes to heating and cooling options.
5. You’ve Noticed More Dust Throughout Your Home
Besides delivering cooled and heated air throughout your home, your HVAC system is responsible for providing proper ventilation. When working efficiently, your system should improve the quality of the air inside of your home via removing dust (as well as dander, dirt, and other debris) and keeping humidity under control. If you have noticed an increased amount of dust in your home, it could be a sign that your air conditioning system is no longer efficient enough to remove it.
6. Unusual Smells
An unusual smell coming from your HVAC system could be nothing more than dust burning off, but it is important to turn off the device and have it inspected immediately just to be safe. In some situations, wiring melting away, or mold in the ducts can produce unusual smells.
7. Odd Sounds
Well-maintained HVAC system should operate relatively quietly. As time goes on and the individual components become older, you might notice noises such as grinding and squealing. If these devices are making any unusual sounds, then you should have the system inspected immediately.
8. You Have Poor Air Quality
During the summer, an air conditioner is most likely the single biggest factor when it comes to indoor air quality. Families that notice mold, mildew, dust, or unusual humidity levels might be dealing with a damaged air conditioner that should be replaced.
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