Tips & Resources
Air conditioning has become a necessity more than a luxury. It keeps you comfortable in extreme temperatures and also keeps you healthy by maintaining your indoor air quality. If you are finding that your air conditioner no longer cools as well or as consistently as it used to, however, it may be time for an inspection to determine if repairs are needed or the unit is ready to be replaced.
Here are 5 common problems that occur with an older air conditioning system.
The first sign you may notice that your old air conditioner is feeling its age will likely be that it just doesn’t cool your home as quickly as it once did. As with all mechanical systems, over time wear and tear take a toll on your air conditioner’s performance. Even with regular maintenance, eventually it will break down beyond what is economically feasible to repair. When you first experience this, you may not need to replace your system right away, but you should begin looking into a replacement so you have time to consider your options, and budget for a new one.
Older air conditioners can begin to show damage to components that directly impact performance and efficiency such as the coil, the compressor and even the fan. This damage results in the air conditioner having to work harder to keep you comfortable and use much more energy to do so. Even without the deterioration of major components, however, an older air conditioning system (15 years old or more) will not work as efficiently as it once did, or as efficiently as a new, recently designed model. Advances in technology have greatly improved efficiency over the past decade.
As a result of poor efficiency, another sign you may begin to notice is a rise in the amount you pay for your energy bills each month. As your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, you will have to pay more to get the same performance (or perhaps even worse performance).
The need to add refrigerant is a signal that there might be a coolant leak. Replacing refrigerant and repairing the leak can be costly, but the larger concern is that this indicates the compressor will soon fail.
The closer your air conditioner gets to the end of its useful life (typically 10-15 years), the more likely it is that breakdowns will occur more frequently and that they will occur when you really need your AC to function properly. If this has already happened, and the cost of repairs is adding up, you may find that it is more cost-effective to simply replace the entire unit instead of continuing to repair it. Because a newer model will be significantly more efficient, you will most likely be able to offset the cost of a new air conditioner with rebates from the manufacturer and/or your municipality, as well as from lower energy bills and no longer paying for all those repairs.