During a scorching-hot Canadian summer, you probably don’t think twice about the comfort your air conditioner brings to your home — until something goes wrong. And when that happens, the question becomes: can my AC be repaired, or does it need to be completely replaced? This brief guide looks at why AC units typically fail and what to look for when buying a new air conditioner so you can bring that cooling comfort back into your home.
5 Reasons Why AC Units Fail
Most AC units last for a decade or more if you keep up regular maintenance. But nothing lasts forever — and when it comes to air conditioners, here are five main reasons why they might need to be replaced.
While the average AC unit has a life expectancy of about 15 years, many factors will affect how long you can expect your air conditioner to last. They include your climate, how often you run the system and how frequently it is maintained, and the AC make and model. Over time, parts will wear out regardless of usage and must be replaced.
As warm air circulates through your AC unit, the interior coils cool the air before it re-enters your home. But if dirt and other types of debris clog the filters and ducts of the unit, or if the fans inside your AC aren’t working properly, the warm air might not be able to move freely across the coils. This causes the temperature to drop, potentially leading to frozen coils with a build-up of ice visible on their outer surface.
Overworked Capacitors and Contactors
Capacitors and contactors are the parts of your AC unit that keep the fan and blower motors running:
- Capacitors provide the initial jolt of energy to kick start the motors. A significant amount of electricity runs through them, so they tend to get overheated and will wear down over time. Prolonged usage of the AC speeds up this process.
- Contactors control the flow of electricity within the AC unit. They may get dirty and lose their connection, preventing the system from starting properly. If you notice a clicking sound when starting your AC, your contractor may be telling you that it needs replacement.
Air conditioners are electrical systems made up of various components — fans, compressors, motors — connected by wiring. The quality of the wiring in your unit can decrease over time and affect your circuit breaker. Wiring can also fail later if it isn’t set up correctly during the installation. If you’re unsure about the state of your wiring, call a licensed electrician to inspect your AC unit or to make a repair.
The thermostat monitors the temperature and tells the AC unit whether any adjustments need to be made. If the thermostat is not working properly, it may give false information to the AC unit, causing it to run when it shouldn’t or fail to switch on when it should. Even small malfunctions in your thermostat can cause multiple problems throughout your entire system.
Considerations When Replacing Your AC Unit
The average air conditioner lifespan is 17 years. How long a unit will last depends on its history of maintenance and repairs. If your AC unit is over 10 years old and needs a major repair, it may be worthwhile to replace it with a new high-efficiency unit, here are some important points to keep in mind:
If you have an air conditioning system in your house that is older than 10 years, you may be surprised to learn how energy inefficient it is compared to today’s models. Even if your older model is still functional, a replacement may be worth the investment because newer models can use up to 30–50% less energy than older models.
Air conditioner efficiency is assessed by its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which is calculated by dividing the system’s cooling output over one year by the energy it uses to achieve that output. In the past, most AC units were rated SEER 10, but now the minimum is 13 and can reach as high as 25. The higher the SEER rating, the lower your electrical consumption will be for the same cooling output. If you’re in a sweltering climate, it’s recommended that you choose the highest SEER that you can afford.
To keep your space properly climatized and comfortable, you want to be sure that you choose the right AC unit size for your home. If the unit is too large, it will not adequately remove humidity from the air. If it is too small, it will not be able to reach or maintain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days.
Regarding the size of your AC, you should think about more than just the square footage of your living space. The number of occupants, room layout, building material of your home, and your family’s personal temperature preferences should also factor in deciding the size of the AC unit you want to purchase.
If you already have a system but plan on renovating or making significant changes to your home, a different-sized system may be more suitable. 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 AC unit. A contractor can provide a proper load analysis to measure your space accurately and estimate what size air conditioner you need.
AC Replacement Cost
Air conditioners are a big investment, but rebates can 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 installation options that may include third party rebates so you can save money while taking advantage of a new and more energy-efficient unit.
Replace Your AC Unit Through Enercare
If you’re considering replacing your current AC unit or need a new air conditioner, you can rely on Enercare. Our technicians will evaluate your current system and assess whether a different one can serve you better. We’ll go over all the options available to you, including rebates so that you can decide based on your cooling requirements and your budget. We’ll also provide a range of payment and financing options without hidden charges.
Plus, our team of fully licensed and insured technicians is ready to answer all of your AC questions. We also offer air conditioner maintenance plans that will help ensure your unit runs safely and efficiently, providing cool comfort in your home for years to come.
Contact us today if you need help choosing a new air conditioning system.