5 Ways to Tell It’s Time for an AC Upgrade

It might seem like winter was just yesterday, but in Highland Park, Illinois, summer is right around the corner. Before the really hot weather arrives, there’s no better time than now to replace that old, outdated, or inefficient cooling system. Your air conditioner is due for an upgrade if it has any of these five problems.

Expensive Repairs

From blower fans to compressors to evaporator coils, air conditioners include a long list of complex parts. Many of them inevitably require repair or replacement as the unit ages. Some issues clearly indicate that you should skip the repairs and think about replacement instead. A leak in a unit that requires R-22 refrigerant, for example, requires a series of expensive fixes, so upgrading the unit is usually a more cost-effective option – especially since this refrigerant is being phased out.

Since the cost of the work can vary widely depending on the nature of the problem, the total price tag often determines whether you are better off moving forward with repairs or replacing the unit altogether. In many cases, HVAC technicians recommend upgrading to a new air conditioner when the repairs on your old unit cost 50 percent or more of what a new one would cost. Others use a more complicated calculation, multiplying the cost of the repairs by the age of the unit in years. If the total equals more than $5,000, it’s time to replace your air conditioner.

Outdated Technology

Air conditioners typically have a lifespan of at least 10 years. If your unit has passed the 10-year mark and is starting to show signs of age or requires frequent repairs, replacing the unit might be a smart option even if it doesn’t fit into the repair calculations above.

Most new air conditioners boast shiny new parts, innovative technology, and features that simply aren’t available on older units. Those made after 2009, for instance, use a new type of refrigerant that is more environmentally friendly and less expensive to refill. Many newer units also rely on cost-effective innovations like variable-speed blowers. Though there is always a cost associated with purchasing a new air conditioner, investing in a new unit will often help you save over time.

Increasing Energy Bills

Older air conditioners are almost always less efficient than newer ones, and most units lose efficiency as they age. A decrease in efficiency often leads to higher energy bills, which can increase from month to month or over the years. In most cases, regular preventive maintenance will help your air conditioner run at peak performance for much of its life.

Opt for a new air conditioner with an Energy Star label and a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher and you can look forward to lower energy bills. These systems are designed to be more durable as well.

Persistent Humidity Issues

Your air conditioner does much more than just cool your home. It is also responsible for maintaining the favorable indoor humidity levels, which can also affect your overall comfort level. If your air conditioner contributes to lowering your indoor air quality it’s time for an upgrade.

Inconsistent Temperatures

Any air conditioner that is right for your home should cool each room equally. If you’ve noticed that certain rooms or areas in your home remain warm no matter how long you run the air conditioner, it’s time to take action.

No matter how new or efficient your air conditioner is, it won’t maintain consistent temperatures or keep your family comfortable if it isn’t sized correctly for your home. A unit that is too small, for instance, will continually struggle to cool your home. A unit that is too large will frequently shut off after cooling your home for just a few minutes. Such short cycles can’t adequately cool your entire home and will instead lead to temperature fluctuations throughout your home. If your air conditioner no longer keeps you comfortable, you are probably better off upgrading your cooling system.

From new air conditioner installation to preventive HVAC maintenance, you can rely on Carefree Comfort, Inc. Call 847-388-0115 to schedule an appointment with our experienced HVAC technicians today.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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