You are probably one of the many homeowners who rely on an air conditioning system to provide cooling comfort during the summer months when temperatures become unbearable. Most units can last for a decade or more if you keep up regular maintenance. However, over time, the system will need to be replaced.
How do you know if your air conditioning unit needs to be replaced? Read on to learn common reasons that air conditioning units fail, what you can do to assess your unit, and what to look for in a new system.
6 Reasons Why AC Units Fail
A broken air conditioner in the peak heat of summer is frustrating and uncomfortable. When you call a service technician about your unit, here are some common causes of a breakdown you can expect them to talk with you about.
The average air conditioner lifespan is 17 years. If your unit is getting up there in age, it’s likely time for a replacement. Over time, the system loses energy efficiency which means that you are paying more to cool your home than you would with a newer unit. Older systems may also need more repairs when old components wear out or break down.
The coils in your unit are what cools the warm air in your home. Dirt and other types of debris can clog the filters and ducts, restricting the warm air from reaching the coils. This prevents the coils from cooling the air efficiently, and may eventually cause the coils to freeze.
Refrigerant is the chemical found within the coils that help to cool the air. Without this chemical, air conditioning is not possible. If there is a refrigerant leak, then the unit is not getting enough of this essential cooling element to keep your system working.
Overworked Capacitors and Contactors
Capacitors and contactors work to keep essential motors running in the unit, such as the fan motor and blower motor. A significant amount of electricity runs through these parts, so they tend to get overheated and overworked—especially during hot summer months.
The quality of the wiring in the unit can decrease over time and affect your circuit breaker. This is likely due to the age of the unit but it’s also possible that the wiring was not set up correctly when your unit was first installed. If you’re unsure about the state of your wiring, call a licensed electrician to check it out or make a repair.
Sometimes the unit is not working due to other parts of the HVAC system. The thermostat is what measures the temperature and tells the air conditioning unit when to turn on and off. If the thermostat is not working properly, it may give false information to the AC unit which causes it to run when it shouldn’t or not turn on when it should.
Troubleshooting AC Unit Problems
There are a few things you can do to prevent or even fix certain issues with your unit. First, make sure you get your unit cleaned and inspected every year to prevent any significant issues from popping up. Second, take a look at your circuit breaker and fuse to make sure there aren’t any electrical issues affecting your unit. Third, replace your furnace filters every one to three months to keep them clean.
The majority of issues that can affect your unit should be checked out by a professional technician. Enercare’s expert technicians are available to perform a free in-home evaluation to help you decide which repairs are needed to keep your unit working.
Considerations When Replacing Your Unit
A common question people have is when should they replace their AC unit. After a professional assessment, you may learn that your unit must be replaced entirely, or that it’s not worth the cost to repair it. Buying a new unit is a big decision since most units cost between $3,000-$10,000. Here are a few key things to consider when choosing an AC unit.
Age and Efficiency
As we mentioned, the average lifespan for an air conditioner unit is 17 years. If your unit is struggling to remain efficient and it’s close to that average age, say 12 years old or older, you might be surprised by the amount of money you could save with a new, more energy-efficient unit. In the past, the standard Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) was set at 10, but now the minimum is 13, and it can range up to 25.5. The higher the ratio, the lower your electrical consumption and energy bills for the same type of output. If you’re in a very hot climate, it’s recommended that you choose the highest SEER that you can afford.
You may think that you should just buy the same size unit that you already have, but if you’ve made any significant changes to your home, a bigger or smaller unit may be more appropriate. For example, if you built an addition to your home or added more insulation, the amount of cooling you need could be much different than when you first bought your unit. Make sure to hire a contractor to complete a proper load analysis to get an accurate measurement of your space and estimate what size air conditioner you need before making your selection.
AC Replacement Cost
Cost is likely your biggest consideration, and fortunately, rebates are a way to help offset your bill. Depending on the type of unit you install, government and utility rebates may be available to help you save money on a new installation. At Enercare, we offer quality installation options that may include rebates from our partners so you can save money while taking advantage of a new more efficient unit. Our technicians will evaluate your current unit and see how a new system can better serve you. We will go over the options available to you, including rebates so that you can make a decision based on your cooling requirements as well as your budget needs.
There is a lot to consider when replacing your air conditioning unit, and it can be overwhelming. At Enercare, our team is ready to answer all of your AC questions.
If you need help choosing a new central air conditioning system, contact us today.
Sign up for a Cooling Maintenance Plan
Air conditioner maintenance plans can help prevent your unit from breaking down by solving future problems before they occur, such as faulty materials or carbon monoxide leaks. Our certified technicians assess your current equipment and generate a personalized report of recommendations to ensure your unit runs safely and efficiently.