How To Tell When It Is Time To Get Rid Of Your Old Central Air Unit

Most people just keep their old, trusty air conditioner until it dies completely. But then their budget is out of sync for months while they scramble to pay for emergency services and a new unit. Often, it is a better financial choice to give up on your old air conditioner long before the fans spins for the last time. Here are the questions you should ask yourself to determine if you should buy a new air conditioner this year.

How Old Is The Unit?

The simplest part of this decision is to consider how old your current air conditioner is. You shouldn't need to replace a central air conditioner before it is at least ten years old. Most air conditioners come with a warranty that lasts between 5 and 10 years, although, some are longer, and not everything will be covered. This can be a good place to start when deciding how long your particular air conditioner should last. A less expensive unit that came with just a one year warranty probably won't last long past the ten year mark--if it even makes it that far. In contrast, there is little reason to replace a unit with a fifteen year warranty after ten. While there are other costs involved, the repair costs for an older unit is generally what causes people to purchase a new one. If you aren't paying for repairs yet, then you probably don't need to replace it.

How Much Are You Spending on Maintenance?

Now that you've figured out that your air conditioner is old enough for replacement, it is time to figure out if you would save any money by replacing it. Your HVAC tech will be a good resource when considering this situation, but you can get a reasonably good idea of the situation on your own if you don't want to pay for a consultation.

  • Your annual maintenance costs probably won't change much. You will still need to have your new unit serviced every year, just like your old one.
  • The cost of repairing your old unit is likely to go up dramatically as the old unit ages, especially if you get a refrigerant leak. The type of refrigerant used in old air conditioners is being phased out, so fewer and fewer manufacturers are selling it. While you can't anticipate every problem, you can get a rundown of likely repairs over the next few years from your HVAC tech.
  • Air conditioners lose efficiency over time. Not only will a new air conditioner be more efficient than the base rating of your old unit, but also it will be far more efficient than your current air conditioner in the old one's current state. This will vary a bit based on the type and size of your unit, but there are online calculators to help you get some rough numbers.

Are You Ready For Something New?

Maybe you are doing some renovations and want to take the opportunity to upgrade your HVAC system as a whole. Zone-based and multistage systems can make a big impact on your monthly energy bill, particularly if your home is large. However, to install these types of systems, you usually need a different type of compressor than was available a decade ago. If your air conditioner is getting a bit older anyway, you may want to go ahead and replace it so you can complete the upgrade as part of your remodeling project.

Replacing your air conditioner is a big expense, but if it is an expected expense, you will find it easier to manage. While waiting for your old unit to die might give you a few extra months of service, is it really worthwhile to pay the extra energy and maintenance costs for a unit that is no longer giving you the cool air your home needs? For more information or advice, contact a business such as Mike's Bremen Service Inc.