With the temperatures outside as hot as they’ve been, your family has likely depended on your air conditioner more than any other time this season. While we’d all like to think that our AC will last forever and continue to provide us with cool comfort with each passing summer, the sad and unfortunate reality is that there’s no appliance that lasts forever. Your cooling system is no exception.
Most technicians will say that the average air conditioning system will last for around 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance. But what does “proper maintenance” entail? It usually includes a yearly inspection and cleaning of your entire cooling system, as well as changing the air filter on a regular basis to prevent unnecessary strain on the unit.
But even with the best care and attention, the day will eventually come when your family needs to replace your air conditioner. We’ve put together six warning signs that the end may be near for this vital home appliance.
Warning sign #1: Frequent repairs are needed.
It’s not uncommon for an air conditioning system to have a worn out part or two that needs to be repaired or replaced. This could include such parts as the compressor, evaporator coil, expansion valve, condenser coil and so on. If you’ve noticed that you’ve already scheduled several appointments this summer for a broken-down AC, it may be time to think about replacing the entire unit.
Let’s face it; a repair appointment for a cooling system isn’t cheap. Not only do you have to pay for the labor involved, but you’re also responsible for the cost of any new part(s) needed and you may even have to pay a trip charge or service fee to get a technician sent to your home. These costs add up, especially when you’re faced with multiple repairs for your AC.
If this sounds like your situation and your cooling system has reached 15 to 20 years of age, it may be best to speak with a cooling expert to get recommendations on the most cost-effective replacement for your cooling needs and budget.
Warning sign #2: Air blowing out of vents is warm
If your thermostat is set at the temperature that your family is generally comfortable with and yet your home still feels warm with the AC running, this could be a sign that your unit is no longer able to keep up with your cooling needs.
As air conditioners begin to age, they become less efficient at cooling your home than they once were. Your cooling system’s parts can wear out with normal use, and it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire unit with a more modern, efficient model instead of replacing or repairing each part individually.
Warning sign #3: Cool air blowing from vents doesn’t seem strong enough
You’re used to having a powerful breeze pushed from your vents when your air conditioner is running but now that breeze doesn’t seem strong anymore. It could be time for an AC replacement.
Often, weak airflow from your vents is a warning sign that your cooling system’s compressor is about to break down. If you’re familiar with air conditioning systems, then you already know that this is one of the most expensive parts in these units to replace. Prices can vary greatly for just that part, and if you tack on labor costs and disposal fees, the cost will obviously be even more. It goes without saying that the most budget-friendly and logical solution to this problem might be to replace the aging air conditioning system before yet another part breaks down.
Warning sign #4: Energy bills are climbing.
Were you shocked to see the amount owed when you received your last energy bill? The increase in cost could be due to your aging air conditioning system. An older cooling system doesn’t run as efficiently as a newer model. And as a result, your unit may randomly be cycling on and off, or running much longer than usual to keep your home cool.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem that’s going to get better on its own. And many homeowners notice that the costs rise more and more each passing month as their AC gets older and less efficient.
Warning sign #5: Water is leaking out of your compressor.
If you’ve noticed puddles of water or excessive moisture around your condenser (the outdoor part of your AC) and it hasn’t just rained, this could be an indication that your unit is leaking refrigerant. Not only is this a costly repair, but the leaking refrigerant could pose safety hazards when it comes to the environment around your home.
Additionally, this excess moisture could foster the development of dangerous mold. Mold is a fungus that doesn’t just look awful, but it may also lead to a variety of health problems for your family — especially if the mold makes its way from your condenser to inside your home.
Warning sign #6: The AC isn’t cycling on at all.
This is the most obvious warning sign that it’s time for a replacement air conditioner — and we hope that you haven’t gotten to this point already! If your family’s cooling system won’t cycle on, regardless of what temperature is set on your thermostat, and the unit is 15 to 20 years of age or older, then it is likely time for a new unit.
Contact a cooling professional for assistance. He or she will be able to help you choose the best replacement for your family’s cooling needs.