As strong and durable as your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is, it is not built to last forever. This means you will need to replace it at some point, especially if it’s no longer heating or cooling your home as it should. Since swapping the old unit for a new one can be a big monetary investment for you, it’s a good thing to have the right information on when is the right time to do so. Surprisingly though, getting a replacement can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run.
Here are nine signs it may be time to install a new HVAC system. Knowing what to look for can help you to plan and prepare for the major task ahead.
1. The Air Conditioner Unit is Older Than 10 Years
When was the last time the HVAC unit was upgraded or replaced? Can’t think of a recent year? Well, it may be time for “out with the old and in with the new.” Like so many other household equipment, your heating and cooling unit has a shelf life. The average life span is 10 to 15 years, depending on the brand and model. With regular maintenance, it can last longer.
However, the older it gets, the less and less efficient it becomes. Besides noting the age of the unit, your technician might use the “5000” rule. It’s really a formula that guides you on when to replace the unit. Multiply the cost of a repair by the age of the system. For example, a $600 repair for a 10-year-old unit equals 6000. If it results in a number greater than 5000, then a replacement may be necessary.
2. Your Home is Not as Cool as It Used to Be
Inconsistent room temperatures on the same thermostat setting usually indicate a problem. Perhaps the size of the unit is not compatible with the area space that needs cooling or heating. In this case, a larger unit can provide more efficient service. Other reasons the HVAC unit is no longer keeping the room comfy are a malfunctioning thermostat, clogged filters, damaged ducts, low fluid levels, or a problem with the compressor. The bottom line is your energy bills are likely to go up and upgrading to a new unit may be the best thing to do.
3. Poor or Reduced Airflow
Something may be up if less air is coming from the unit or the air is not moving as forcefully as it used to. Sometimes, it may just be an indication that the filters are dirty or old and need to be replaced. If not the clogged filter will continue to obstruct the airflow. It could also mean it’s time to have a professional HVAC technician perform comprehensive maintenance. If these routine care services do not help, it may mean that your AC unit is on its way out.
4. Your AC Leaks Water
A leaking AC should be addressed right away by an HVAC professional, especially during the hot weather season. Puddles of water around your air conditioning unit is definitely not a good sign and, in some cases, may mean the HVAC system needs replacing. Water may accumulate if the AC system is not properly installed, the drain line is clogged, the drip pan is damaged, the AC filters need changing, or the refrigerant is leaking.
5. Poor Indoor Air Quality
Your air conditioner not only delivers cool air, but it also provides ventilation. When the AC is nearing the end of its life, it may stop ventilating properly, leading to poor air quality. Dry and dusty indoor air is a sign of an aged or damaged air conditioner that may need replacing. The room may feel unusually humid, or you may notice mold or mildew. Reduced air quality also increases the risk of pollutants in the air that can trigger allergy or affect family members with respiratory conditions.
6. Something Doesn’t Smell Right
Are funny smells permeating the air in your home when the HVAC unit is running? It’s time to investigate the odors. A musty smell is usually attributed to a buildup of mold or mildew. A burnt or smoky smell is a telltale sign that the AC is dying a slow death. On a more serious note, a burnt smell more than likely means wire insulation in the unit has burned out. To save yourself from an emergency in the sweltering heat, you can call in an experienced technician to do diagnostic tests.
7. Unusual Sounds Coming from the Unit
A familiar purr coming from the AC is normal. But if you hear abnormal sounds like squealing or rattling, then something isn’t right. Loose parts may be causing the rattling sounds while the squealing could indicate a loose fan belt. A humming, hissing, gargling, grinding, scraping, popping, or banging sound could also spell trouble. These sounds are often linked to issues with the compressor, refrigerant level, condenser coil, or blower.
8. You Notice Spikes in Your Energy Bills
You probably know it’s time to say goodbye to your outdated HVAC system when your energy bills are through the roof! The unit may just be working harder and longer to keep up with the cooling demands. Or you may find yourself putting the thermostat on a lower/cooler setting to make the home comfy. This means more electricity usage and ultimately spikes in your bills. Your new AC unit will be energy-efficient, particularly if you upgrade to one with a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). You can even get a tax credit or rebate for switching to a more energy-efficient air conditioner.
9. Frequent AC Repairs Take a Toll on Your Pocket
An AC may not be worth fixing if you need to do constant or expensive repairs. Frequent maintenance is usually necessary for very old or damaged units. An older unit is also more likely to be less energy-efficient and will eventually hurt your wallet. You could hire an energy-efficiency professional to do an energy assessment which can include checking for leaks and other types of damage that can jack up your energy bills. “If you do decide to continue using an aged-out unit, remember the money spent on repairs can go towards a brand new HVAC system,” says the Grand Canyon AC Repair Peoria AZ professionals.
Hire an HVAC professional today!
Heating and cooling account for a large percentage of a homeowner’s energy bills. The older the HVAC unit gets, the more energy it needs to function at the normal thermostat settings. While you may be tempted to opt for repairs instead of replacing the HVAC system to cut cost, you should ask yourself whether being thrifty would be economical in the long run. Feel free to give us a call if you need a professional to check the unit for signs of damage and help you decide if replacing it is the best option.