It can be tricky to figure out when the best time is to replace your air conditioner. There is the option of repair, that can grant short term rewards for a cheaper cost, and the replacement route that reaps long term rewards for a higher upfront cost. Below you’ll find a helpful guide that outlines some ways to tell if you are in need of a replacement.
According to Energy Star, the leader in energy-efficient appliances in America, you should consider upgrading your system once your unit is around 10-12 years old or based on its efficiency. Many HVAC technicians will suggest an upgrade once your unit is 15+ years old, or when the efficiency has diminished.
An easy trick to use is the 5000 rule. It helps you determine if repairing your unit will be more cost-effective or less cost-effective than simply replacing the whole thing. All you have to do is multiply the cost of the repair by the age of your unit, and if the number is over 5000, replacement would be a more worthwhile option. If the number is less than 5000, then a repair would be more cost-effective than a full unit replacement.
R-22, commonly known as Freon, has been the main refrigerant used in older HVAC units. However, it’s in the process of being phased out in exchange for R-410a. The reasoning for the phase-out is the toxic effect that R-22 has had on the environment. Production of R-22 will cease permanently in 2020, leaving homeowners in a tricky spot.
The easiest option would be to completely replace your unit in order to fit the new regulation, but it would cost a good chunk of change. If you choose to stick with R-22, the repair costs, if you have a leak, will begin to rise each time due to the increased demand and decreased supply of the refrigerant.
It all comes down to how much trust you have in your unit. If your AC is in good shape, and less than 10-15 years old, you might get by for a while longer. If your unit is already on its last leg, there is no point in trying to keep that boat afloat, and replacement would be the better option.
One way to check if your unit is the cause of your rising energy bill is to contact your energy supplier and see if they have raised their rates. If the rates were not raised, this generally means the rise in price is due to your AC and its lowering efficiency. This tip is more meant for those that have done what they can to keep their AC alive for 20 years or more. Use this tool by Energy Star to help determine the efficiency of your system. Just remember to have your recent energy bill handy to use as a reference.
If you notice your unit is continually underperforming, then you may want to consider a replacement. Yes, a brand new unit would be expensive upfront, but the repairs for your old unit will add up over time. You also have the option to purchase a more energy-efficient unit as a replacement to save even more in the long run.
If you own an old air conditioner and you are about to retire (or you already have), you should think about giving it an upgrade. Generally speaking, it is wise to make home improvements before you begin to live on a fixed income, this way you don’t have to worry about the extra costs of repairs and replacements. After all, no one wants to be stuck without AC in the California heat.
If you decide that replacement is the best choice for you, Coast Plumbing, Heating, & Air is your one-stop-shop for all of your HVAC needs. Simply fill out a contact form or give us a call at (714) 262-4009.
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