How to Determine if Your AC System Needs to be Repaired or Replaced
As the seasons begin to change, homeowners weigh the decision to either repair or replace their older central air conditioning systems. To help make your decision easier, we listed five key things to consider so your AC runs efficiently and meets your needs.
How old is your central air conditioning system? Typically, a home air conditioning system can last for up to 12 - 15 years. Regular maintenance can extend the life of your system, but inefficiencies will affect your system as it ages.
How much energy is your current system using? Newer, high-efficiency air conditioning systems use about half the electricity of an old unit. System efficiency is measured in SEER ratings (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. A 25-year-old system has a SEER rating of about 6; today's systems are built with a SEER rating of a minimum of 13, which can reduce energy usage by about 49% compared to a system with a SEER rating of 6.
Is your air conditioner running constantly? If your AC seems to be running constantly, there are a few quick tips you can follow to either fix the problem or at least find the source of your problem. Make sure your air filters and coils are clean, and check your thermostat. If your system is not clean, including your ducts, coils and air filter, you will likely encounter airflow problems and inefficient cycling. Eliminating a few of the basic problems will help you evaluate whether it is time to replace your unit.
Are you paying more than you think you should in energy bills? A well-maintained air conditioning system will run more efficiently than one that has never been serviced. When was your last AC checkup?
Was your current system installed/sized properly? Choosing an air conditioner size that is too large forces your unit to run constantly in short bursts, which can cause the unit to burn out faster. Furthermore, if your unit is running in short bursts, it allows heat and humidity to creep back into the house, which can cause damage over time.
It’s very important to get advice from an experienced technician who can evaluate your system and home layout to make proper recommendations.