Nothing lasts forever, and that’s certainly true of air conditioning systems. A/C units are built to run for years, but with so many moving parts, they will wear out sooner or later. Eventually, you’ll start having more and more problems and having to call for A/C unit repair more often.
So, is it time to bite the bullet and start looking into a new air conditioning installation to replace your old unit? Here are some red flags that it’s no longer worth trying to keep your old A/C unit running.
Seven Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your A/C Rather Than Repairing It
1 – It’s older than twenty years
Twenty years is the maximum lifespan you can typically expect from even a well-installed and well-maintained air conditioning system. If your A/C sees a lot of use, that could be as low as 10-15 years. Plus, HVAC technology is always advancing and becoming more energy-efficient, so older models are also wasting electricity.
Past a point, trying to maintain an older A/C just isn’t worth it, and installing a new model will bring lower electric bills to help offset the cost.
2 – You don’t have a heat pump
To expand on that point about better efficiency, it’s worth highlighting the virtues of heat pumps. Heat pumps are now becoming the standard HVAC system in houses because these systems have vastly reduced electrical needs, while also providing both heating and cooling in a single unit. A typical heat pump can be 300% more efficient, or even more, compared to older technologies.
Even if your A/C isn’t that old, upgrading to a heat pump can vastly reduce your climate control energy costs and quickly pay for the upgrade via ongoing savings. Plus, in many cases, you can qualify for rebates or tax breaks for installing one, which further reduces the costs.
3 – Your A/C runs on freon
For decades, freon was the standard coolant for HVAC systems, but freon has been found to be very bad for the environment, with every freon leak adding to climate change problems. As such, freon use was phased out during 2010-20, and its use was legally ended in 2020, with a full ban on manufacture and importation.
So beyond environmental concerns, freon-based A/C units are going to become increasingly expensive to maintain as freon becomes rarer and more expensive. This will drive up maintenance costs on older units going forward. Soon, refilling the freon in US air conditioners will become nearly impossible.
4 – You’re spending too much on A/C unit repairs
It’s a good idea to call in an A/C maintenance specialist once a year to do a check-up on your system and fix any minor issues – but you really shouldn’t have to call for repairs more often than that. If you find yourself having to call for A/C maintenance every few months, that’s an unnecessary cost – and it’s likely to just keep becoming more costly over time.
Eventually, older HVAC systems will just become a money pit.
5 – Your indoor and outdoor units are mismatched
Often, if a homeowner is looking to save money, they might replace either their indoor or outdoor unit, but not at once. While this does work, it results in an inherently inefficient system. The older unit will always have worse performance than the newer appliance.
Also, manufacturers typically design their indoor and outdoor units to work together for the best efficiency. Mixing and matching manufacturers, which is common when only replacing one unit, will also waste energy and money.
6 – You want to upgrade to smart climate control systems
Modern “smart” thermostats are great for giving you more control over your home’s climate and give you even more options to reduce energy waste. However, they may not work well with older units. Upgrading your HVAC system, then giving it a smart thermostat to match, can have excellent results.
7 – You plan to keep living in your house for several more years
We know, people are moving around a lot. If you’re going to move in the next year or two, it might not be worth the extra cost of a new HVAC system, since even high-efficiency models will need a few years to pay for themselves. However, if you are settled and know you’ll be around for a while, it’s not worth the hassle of putting up with an old or poorly maintained HVAC. You’ll be happier if you upgrade. Melton’s Heating & Air Conditioning are your Portland, OR, specialists for HVAC systems of all types. If your current system is too old, broken, or inefficient, contact us for a free consultation on your upgrade options!