If you live in Florida, air conditioning is vital for home comfort. During the summer, the AC runs more than any other equipment in your home, and it continues to run well into the autumn and winter months.
Do you know what signs signal it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit? Many homeowners hold onto their ACs for as long as possible to avoid investing in a new system. However, with a timely replacement, you’ll end up saving in the long run.
If you notice any of the signs outlined below, give Air Rescue a call to look into replacing your air conditioner.
The AC Unit is Getting Old
The average air conditioner lasts 10 to 15 years. At this point, even well-maintained systems tend to experience less reliable performance and decreased efficiency. Years of dust and dirt buildup can also lead to poor indoor air quality.
Once your AC unit reaches 10 years old, it’s wise to start browsing for replacement options. Research brands, learn about efficiency ratings and keep an eye out for specials that can save you money on your investment. Then, the next time your air conditioner acts up, you’ll be ready to upgrade it as a routine home improvement project, not a stressful emergency replacement.
The Air Conditioner Breaks Down Frequently
It’s normal for an air conditioner to need minor repairs every few years, but if breakdowns have been occurring so frequently that you’ve added an HVAC repair company to your speed dial, it’s time to reassess your options. After all, you need reliable cooling to ensure your Florida home stays comfortable on even the hottest summer afternoon, and unfortunately, breakdowns are most likely to occur when you need your air conditioner the most.
Don’t go another week with unpredictable AC performance – consider replacing your air conditioning unit today.
Repair Costs are Going Up
AC breakdowns aren’t just inconvenient – they’re also expensive. The money you’re pouring into repair costs could go toward a brand new system. But where do you draw the line?
Consider the 5,000 rule: multiply the age of your air conditioner by the estimated cost of an upcoming repair. If the number comes to more than 5,000, it’s probably more economical to replace the unit.
For instance, if you have an 8-year-old AC unit and an estimated $500 repair, multiplying the two numbers gives you 4,000, meaning it’s probably best to repair the unit. However, if you have a 12-year-old air conditioner and you’re facing the same $500 repair, the multiplied numbers come to 6,000, which means it might be more cost-effective to replace the aging unit.
The Air Conditioner Runs on R-22 Refrigerant
In response to the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, and replacing it with cleaner R-410A, or Puron. Because Freon is no longer in production, the cost of existing supplies has risen substantially in recent years. This could make the rate to recharge your R-22 air conditioner cost-prohibitive.
In fact, starting in 2020, R-22 will be considered illegal. You can continue operating an AC unit with R-22, but if it develops a leak, technicians will be unable to recharge it, and you’ll have no choice but to replace the air conditioner.
Consider doing your part for the environment and replace your R-22 AC unit sooner rather than later. The cost to recharge the Freon may spur you to make this decision for financial reasons as well.
Energy Bills are on the Rise
Older ACs are less efficient to begin with, but they lose even more of their performance capacity as they age. This may occur gradually or suddenly from one month to the next. Always keep an eye on your utility bills, and if you face two months in a row of excessively high electricity costs, schedule an AC repair and consider making a replacement based on the 5,000 rule discussed above.
Remember, your 10- to 15-year-old air conditioner is probably rated 10 SEER or less and most likely performs below this original efficiency rating because of its age. Thanks to technological advancements in recent years, new air conditioners are rated 13 SEER or higher, and high-efficiency ACs reach SEER ratings in the mid to upper 20s. If you upgrade from a 10 SEER unit to a 20 SEER unit, you can expect your cooling bills to drop by more than half!
The AC No Longer Keeps Your Home Comfortable
Aging air conditioners tend to struggle with maintaining adequate air circulation. This causes some rooms to feel too warm while others are over-cooled. Remember, effective home cooling relies on having sufficient insulation and a tight building envelope, so check these characteristics of your home before you assume something is wrong with the air conditioner.
In addition to keeping your home cool, air conditioners also regulate the humidity. Homes with older AC units tend to feel muggy, which is especially problematic in Florida’s humid climate. If you find yourself continually adjusting the thermostat because you feel cool but clammy, this could be a sign your AC is on its last leg, especially if any other factors outlined here also apply.
Prolong the Life of Your New Air Conditioner
If you decide to replace your AC unit, expect reliable performance, lower energy bills and optimal home comfort. Other benefits include quieter operation, renewed warranty coverage and improved indoor air quality.
Once you make the upgrade, you want your investment to last as long as possible. Get the most out of your air conditioner with these tips:
- Change the air filter regularly – Check it once a month and replace it after no more than three months, or as recommended by the manufacturer. A clean filter helps ensure adequate airflow, which prevents your HVAC equipment from working any harder than necessary.
- Schedule routine maintenance – It’s advised that you service your air conditioner once a year. Just like getting an oil change for your car, preventative AC maintenance helps the system run smoothly and efficiently. When performing a tune-up, the technician also has a chance to catch problems early and make minor adjustments before an expensive repair becomes necessary.
- Sign up for an Air Rescue AC Club Membership – When you become a club member, you get two maintenance visits per year (one in the spring for your air conditioner and one in the fall for your furnace), 24-hour priority service, a 20 percent discount on repairs, and more! You’ll never miss a preventative tune-up, and you’ll save money on other services between routine visits.
The experts at Air Rescue can help you select the best brand, size and efficiency rating for your new air conditioner. Our goal is to help you keep costs down while maintaining a comfortable home, even in Florida’s hot, humid climate. For more HVAC tips, or to schedule AC repair, installation or maintenance in Tampa or Largo, FL, please contact Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982.
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