We have some bad news–air conditioners don’t last forever!
Okay, you probably already knew that. But do you know how long your air conditioner is meant to last? It does depend on a few factors: the system’s manufacturer, the model of air conditioner, and of course how well you care for it. The latter means that you have your system professionally maintained once a year (or twice a year if you have a heat pump) and that you use it as efficiently as possible.
The average lifespan for a well-maintained cooling system is about 10-15 years. Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t last longer than this. But you’ll be doing your home comfort and your utility bills a disservice if you ignore the signs that your aging AC is actually failing and is just about ready to be replaced. But what if you don’t know the signs? That’s what we’re here for.
Is Your AC Costing More to Operate Each Month?
As your cooling system ages, it gradually starts to lose efficiency as the components within it give in to natural wear and tear. You won’t immediately notice this drop off in efficiency. However, eventually, it will end up getting so bad that your air conditioner will run longer and longer to try to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat.
The longer operating time will drive up your monthly utility bills. If you compare your bills to what you were paying this same time last year, or what your neighbors are paying now for similar use, then it’s definitely a sign that something is causing your system to work less efficiently. If old age is to blame, it’s time to look into a replacement.
How Often Does Your AC Need Repairs?
Needing AC repairs every now and then is totally normal. In fact, you can expect cooling system repairs every couple of years as parts wear out. But if you find yourself calling for two to three repairs a year or so, this is a sign that something is going on beyond what a simple repair will fix.
Where do you draw the line? A general rule of thumb here is that if your next repair is going to cost half of what the entire system is worth, it’s more economically beneficial to just replace the system. Of course, this applies more to aging systems than newer systems. If you have a system that’s under a decade old and you’re constantly calling for repairs, let us know! We’ll take a look at your system and help you determine if whatever is going wrong is covered by your manufacturer’s warranty, and what you can do about it.
Is Your System Just Plain Old?
Is your air conditioner 15 years old or older? Perhaps you’ve cared for it very well over the years, and have never experienced big emergencies or repair needs. That’s great! But it really is impossible for an air conditioner that old to have the same efficiency it did when it was new.
In fact, even just int he last 5 years air conditioners have been designed with higher efficiency ratings, and newer refrigerant (your system’s refrigerant may have been phased out this year!) Sometimes, age is the only sign you need that it’s time to start considering an upgrade.