How to Know When It’s Time for a New AC

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How to Know When It’s Time for a New AC

AC Warning Signs in Kennewick, WA

Everyone with an air conditioner knows they will eventually need a replacement. You have probably been experiencing some problems and are now wondering if it’s time to find a new unit. Here are the biggest signs that it’s time to invest in new cooling equipment.

An Ancient System

The average air conditioner has an expected service life of 10 to 15 years when properly maintained. However, lack of proper maintenance may cut the service life considerably shorter.

If your system is nearing or past the 10-year mark, it’s time to start thinking about a new one. As your equipment continues to age, it will experience degrading efficiency, and system components will continue wearing out.

If your AC was manufactured before 2010, then it is certainly time to invest in a new one. These systems used R22 refrigerant, which has since been banned, making them exceptionally expensive to repair.

Climbing Utility Bills

Utility bills naturally go up and down as the temperature outside changes. However, when you compare your utility bills to those from last year, a significant increase in energy consumption spells trouble.

Your system naturally loses some efficiency as it ages. This is due, in part, to airborne contaminants collecting inside the mechanism. These accumulate on components like your circulating fan and evaporator coil, restricting airflow in the system. It inevitably leads to longer run times to achieve your desired temperature.

Increasingly Frequent and Expensive Repairs

All the components in your system will eventually wear out with age and use. Like any mechanical system, your air conditioner will require some amount of repair over time.

However, those repairs tend to increase in frequency and severity as your system ages. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where the expense outweighs the benefit.

A very basic calculation allows you to determine whether you should continue repairing your current system. Simply multiply the cost of the repair by the age of your AC. If the product is greater than the cost of a new system, then it would make sense to replace your unit.

Loud Noises

Your system shouldn’t make much noise as it runs. However, as it ages, some sounds will naturally come up. The system creates vibration while running, which causes some components to loosen and start making noise.

There are only a few sounds that indicate a major system malfunction that might warrant a replacement. The first is a loud screaming sound, which likely indicates a substantial refrigerant leak. A screeching sound may also indicate a problem with your compressor creating too much pressure.

A banging or clanking sound from the outside condensing unit may also indicate a problem with your compressor. These are substantial repairs, and it may be worth looking at replacing the outside unit, if not the entire system.

Frozen System

Your system will experience a freeze when there is a problem regulating the pressure or circulating air. You may notice some obvious freezes, such as the condensing coil freezing. If you pay close attention, you may notice a frozen line at your condensing unit or even a frozen compressor.

However, freezes on the inside lines or the evaporator coil are much harder to find. Regardless of the location of the freeze, a common issue is low refrigerant in the system. This signifies a leak, which may mean it’s time for a new system.

Uneven Temperature Distribution

A system nearing the end of its service may create uneven temperatures throughout your home. Before jumping to the idea of a new system, be sure all your vents are open.

However, it may indicate it’s time for a new system. Older systems could have several problems that may lead to uneven distribution of cool air. These include a malfunctioning thermostat, leaky or obstructed ducts or a malfunctioning circulating fan.

Excess Moisture Around Your Unit

As the air moving over the evaporator coils cools, the moisture from that air condenses. It then falls down onto the drip pan and drains through the condensate drain.

However, excessive moisture is a problem that could indicate either a clogged drain or a leak in your evaporator coil. Like any other refrigerant leak, this is expensive to correct and may warrant a replacement.

People around Kennewick have turned to Bruce Heating & Air for new air conditioners since 2002. Our expert technicians provide reliable heating and cooling installation, maintenance and repair. We can also assist you with water heaters and fireplaces. Call today to schedule your consultation with one of our competent professionals.