In our last post, we wrote about the importance of scheduling regular air conditioning maintenance this spring (and every spring). One of the benefits of regular maintenance is that it helps an air conditioning system last for as long as possible. However, no amount of maintenance can make an AC system last forever. It’s best to get ahead of a failing air conditioning system and notice the early warnings that it needs a replacement in the near future.
Below are five major ways to tell it’s close to the time when you should schedule an air conditioning replacement in West Chester, PA.
#1. System Age
Although the age of an air conditioning system isn’t an absolute determining factor for when it should be replaced, it’s a reliable indicator. The standard central AC can last from 10 to 15 years. If your air conditioner is already more than 15 years old, we recommend having it replaced—it’s already delivered a solid service life, and the risk of it declining is much steeper from here on. If the AC is more than 10 years old, use your judgment based on whether it’s displaying the other signs below.
#2. Noisy Operation
A single strange sound from an air conditioner may indicate it needs a repair. When the whole system starts to make more noise than it used to, that’s a warning that it’s wearing down fast. The noise should be louder than the volume of a normal indoor conversation.
#3. Too Many Repairs
As long as an air conditioner is maintained annually, it should rarely run into repair needs until the last few years of its service life. When repairs start to become a yearly hassle, that’s usually an omen that the AC won’t be around much longer. An AC shouldn’t need more than one repair a year either—at that point you’re paying much more to keep the system going with repairs than it would be to purchase a new system.
#4. Costly Repairs
Along with repair frequency, you should also pay attention to repair cost. Any single repair that is more than half the quote on a new system is too steep to pay. We also recommend using the “Rule of 5,000,” which is to multiply the projected cost of any repair by the age of the AC in years. If the result is more than 5,000, it’s better to replace the air conditioner rather than repair it.
#5. Rising Utility Bills
Maintenance will allow an AC to retain 95% of its original efficiency rating through most of its life, so you should only see a slight increase on your bills during this time. But as the AC comes closer to the end, the efficiency rating will decline faster, and you’ll notice that you’re paying more than usual on monthly electrical bills during the summer. A repair may be able to fix this, but if the AC is already past 10 years, it’s better to have a new unit installed.
If you have questions about replacing your air conditioning system, call our technicians. We’re glad to help you find the best course of action for your home cooling.