Summer is around the corner, and you know it’s going to hot this year. As a homeowner, you also know that it’s time to clean up the central air conditioning system before the temperature starts to rise. Most homeowners do annual maintenance of their heating and cooling systems to ensure optimum functioning, but breakdowns are common. As with all electrical appliances, central AC systems last for about a decade before they start to deteriorate. Over time, they will need to be replaced either totally or in part. So how do you determine whether your air conditioner needs replacement? Are there any warning signs?
Let’s find out.
Age: Electrical appliances have a limited lifespan. Most cooling or heating devices last anywhere from 10-17 years if they are replaced and repaired regularly. However, even with regular repair, most appliances lose their energy efficiency. You end up paying more to keep your home cool, and it’s far better to invest in a new device. The older the system, the more the repairs that are required, and the more you spend on repairs and loss of energy efficiency.
Coil condition: An AC unit cools due to its coils. Over time, these coils get dirty and clogged, and their cooling efficiency decreases. Eventually, the coils freeze and need replacement. You should know though that replacing coils is expensive. Your HVAC technician will advise on whether to replace the coils or just invest in a new system.
Gas leaks: Refrigerant present in the AC is responsible for the cooling effect. However, leaks are common when the system is old or shut down for the winter. In this case, when you turn on your cooling system, the machine will work, but you will notice that the cooling is absent or subpar. AC technicians will replace the refrigerant after detecting and sealing the leak. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the entire tank due to irreversible damage.
Overworked spare parts: Breakdowns due to deterioration are common in every appliance. Usually, capacitors and contractors are replaced regularly to ensure that the AC works well. If you have regular service and maintenance contracts for your central AC, your technician will check and replace these parts every year or as required.
Power: Electrical wiring deteriorates over time and can affect the circuit breaker. This normally occurs due to aging, or it can be due to poor installation procedures. We recommend checking the wiring every year before turning your home AC unit on.
Thermostat issues: This is probably the most common problem seen with home heating and cooling systems. A defective thermostat can put a tremendous load on the system resulting in increased energy bills and poor cooling/heating in the house. It will also confuse the heating and cooling system resulting in local units turning on/off when not required.
Detecting the issue
As you can see, there can be several reasons why your central AC or heating unit is not running properly. Before turning on the unit or system, we recommend you hire a professional who will check it every year. Get the unit cleaned and inspected as well. Make sure that the circuit breaker is up and working and there are no electrical issues with the system. Make sure that you can change the furnace filters once in three months to keep them clean. If you have a little technical knowledge, you can do this yourself. But we prefer calling a technician who has the time and knowledge to deal with the system. Having a professional on the job also means that the maintenance is covered with a warranty and you can call them in again if you have issues with the system. A trained technician will also advise you on whether to continue repairing and maintaining the system or whether it is time to invest in a new unit.
But should you replace the system?
This is a legitimate question. Home heating and cooling systems are expensive, and you may have to shell out anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 to install a new unit. However, there are reasons why your technician will advise you to do so, and we’ve listed a few reasons here.
• Efficiency: As the heating and cooling system ages, energy efficiency decreases. This means you are paying more to repair the system, and you are paying higher energy bills as well. The average lifespan for an AC unit is about 10-17 years. Modern units are much more energy-efficient, and they come with multiple features that make them even more affordable. For example, older units had SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 10. Modern units now have ratings set at 13 or higher, resulting in lower energy bills. As a rule of thumb, choose units that have the highest SEER rating possible.
• Interior changes: If you have changed the interior of your home, its time to invest in a new system. For example, adding a new wing, a new room, additional insulation, a new roof, etc. will all require an evaluation or upgradation of your existing home heating/cooling system. Make sure you hire a contractor who will check your home and recommend the right system for your requirements.
• Cost: Units and systems are expensive. But think of them as one-off investments that will pay off in the form of lower energy bills. We recommend hiring a contractor or getting in touch with multiple contractors to get competitive quotes. Don’t forget to compare features and offers before you finalize the deal.
As you can see, having a good heating or cooling system can be one of the most important aspects of a comfortable home. However, it can be confusing and time-consuming to find the right system for your home needs. For additional help, you can get in touch with us at Enercare. We offer a range of quality installation options, professional help, competitive quotes, and trained technicians. Please do get in touch with us through our website or our email id and our team will reach out to you as quickly as possible.