When Should I Replace My AC Unit?

5 Signs You Need a Replacement

Age and condition are the most common factors in the decision to replace an A/C unit. However, there are many things to consider when you’re wondering whether it’s time. If one or more of the following apply, it may be time to look for a replacement unit. 

A/C is 15 Years Old

A/C’s are designed to last 10-15 years. If your A/C is 15 years or older, it’s usually time to replace, but even past 10 is a sign that your A/C is getting close to the end of its life. A/Cs over 10 years old tend to have more frequent and costly breakdowns. In the long run, it becomes cheaper to buy a new A/C unit than to keep repairing one only to extend the lifespan by a couple years.

Repairs Are More and More Frequent

A normal rate of repair is two to three times of year for the typical A/C unit. If your A/C needs repairs every few months, there’s an issue. It’s possible that your A/C is being misdiagnosed and not given the correct repairs. However, if breakdowns are a persistent problem, it’s more likely that your A/C has reached the end of its lifespan. While most are designed to last 10-15 years, some A/Cs have shorter lives, especially when they are not maintained well. Frequent breakdowns are a sign that it’s time to start looking for a replacement.

Your System Uses Freon (R-22 Refrigerant)

All A/C units use refrigerant, the liquid coolant that absorbs heat from the environment and cools your house. Many older A/Cs use R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon. Production of R-22 was recently phased out and stopped in 2020 because of its high environmental emissions. Because R-22 is no longer being produced, it is far more costly and harder to find. Even if you manage to purchase some R-22, you will be dragging out the life of an obsolete A/C unit that will need to be replaced soon anyways. Most newer A/C systems use R-410A, a more environmentally friendly and efficient refrigerant.

Heating and Cooling Bills Are Increasing

Prices of heating and cooling bills naturally vary seasonally, with summer often seeing the highest costs. However, if you see your bills rising abnormally from month to month, your issue may be A/C-related. First, check that the seasonal weather pattern is the same as previous years and that increases from month to month are significantly higher than in the past. If these are true, your A/C system is not cooling efficiently. Oftentimes this is caused by a broken part or leak. Have a technician do a thorough check-up and diagnosis to see if repairs are needed. If repairs are not needed or are conducted and the heating/cooling bills remain high, it may be time to look for a new A/C unit.

You Are Renovating or Adding Rooms to Your House

The A/C system installed in your house was specifically chosen based on the square footage of the house in order to cool most efficiently. Adding new rooms or renovating garages, attics, and basements into usable rooms increases the square footage and space that needs conditioned air. Smaller renovations may just need an augmentation of the system but large add-ons will usually require an upgraded A/C unit. 

If one or more of these signs applies to you, it may be time to consider an A/C replacement. Every unit is different, so we recommend that you speak with a technician about the most cost-effective and reasonable choice for your home. If you need help diagnosing or repairing an A/C unit, call Express Refrigeration in Sacramento, CA today! We’re here to help.