Taking a proactive stance on residential air conditioning maintenance is the best way to get the most value from your existing system. At some point, however, even the best maintenance program will not be enough to keep outdated air conditioning components working dependably. Homeowners who are wondering whether they should begin making plans to replace an older, but still functional air conditioning system can use the following questions to help make the right decision.
1. How old are the air conditioning components?
The expected lifespan for most air conditioning systems is about a decade but can be less or more depending on climate, maintenance, and other factors. In general, homeowners should begin planning to replace their existing air conditioning system if it is ten or more years of age. Another age-related factor that should be considered is the type of freon the existing system uses. Older systems may still be using R-22 freon which has been phased out in the U.S. and is no longer available for use in maintaining the outdated components.
2. Has energy usage for cooling increased substantially?
Another factor you should consider is whether the AC energy usage is increasing with each cooling season. As air conditioning systems age, they may begin to use substantially more energy to cool the home, even when other factors like insulation levels and exterior temperatures remain similar.
Homeowners should suspect that an air conditioning system is becoming increasingly inefficient if energy bills are increasing during the peak cooling months of each of the past two or three years, even when other power uses in the home remain constant. When using data from energy bills for this purpose, homeowners should look first at the number of kilowatt-hours of usage, instead of just the total bill amount. Since cost per kilowatt-hour of energy use can vary from month to month, focusing on the kilowatt-hours of usage will help to determine if cooling components are becoming less efficient.
3. Are costs for repairs and maintenance rising?
Homeowners can also use the repair and maintenance history of their current air conditioning system to help them decide if replacing it would be wise. To do this, consider looking at records for the past three or more years of use. If repairs and maintenance costs have increased during each of those years, homeowners may find that replacing the existing system with a new, more efficient one is cost-effective.
Homeowners can get additional advice to help them decide when the time is right for replacing their current air conditioning system by discussing their cooling situation with services like Turner Services Co. in their area.Share