• Joe Doss

When Should I Replace My Airconditioner?

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

As a homeowner, one of the hardest things you’ll have to decided is when to replace and upgrade your air conditioner. Replacing your air conditioner is a big investment, and it’s not usually one you’re happy about. After all, you can’t play good music with it, or watch your favorite shows. In fact, you normally don’t even think about it all! Packed away out of site in a closet, attic, or basement. Most of the time it requires very little attention, until it quits keeping you comfortable. Now it’s time to give it that attention and it’s not a good time. Now you’re taking a day off work, waiting in a hot humid house for a repair technician to arrive and correct the malfunction in your air conditioning system.

As stated previously, a new air conditioner can be a big investment, But there is an often overlooked part of this scenario. So can the costs of continuing to repair and operate an old, inefficient unit. So how do you know if this is the moment you should consider replacing the air conditioner, or simply repair it? You’ll find below a list and description of some tell-tale signs it maybe time to replace.


6 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

A simple guide to help you understand the age -VS- Cost of repair -VS- Replacement.


1. If your Air conditioner is more than 10 years old.

The typical life of an air conditioner if it’s well maintained is around 15 years. If the air conditioner is 10 years old or over and you’re faced with an expensive repair it might be worth considering replacing the system. Like most companies, manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment update their products rendering their previous designs obsolete. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency we’ve seen with air conditioners in the past decade alone. A good way to make a quick judgement on rather or not it’s time to replace is to multiply the repair cost of the air conditioner by the Air Conditioners age. If that number is greater than the replacement cost it would be a good idea to consider the replacement.


2. Inefficient Air Conditioner Operation.

If your air conditioner is older than 10 years old it has likely lost up to 20 percent of it’s efficiency due to mechanical ware and tare. Combine that with other issues such as plugged air passages, dirty coils, leaks, and refrigerant contamination, and you could be operating at less than half of its ability when it was new. This often times goes unnoticed because the change occurs gradually over several years. So you as the homeowner don't perceive it as a problem. Then one day you're suddenly uncomfortable even though the air conditioner is running. But it just seems like it’s taking forever to get the job done. Than you begin to notice other things such as higher than usual electric bills, Musty odors, maybe the air in the home just feels sticky, and stale. These are good signs that despite the best efforts from your air conditioner, it’s just not up to the challenge any more. This is a VERY good indication that it’s time to replace the air conditioner. The operation of such inefficient equipment alone should send you running to your nearest Shield Comfort Heating and Cooling Location.

When you add up the cost of repair to get it working better, plus the utility over payments between this repair and the next one, it really is an obvious decision. At this point the question of replacement isn’t “why should I replace it?” It’s really more a question of “When is it going to force me to replace it?” In the long run, you’ll be happier, more comfortable, and spend less.


3. You’re facing expensive repairs.

Air Conditioners can be pricey to repair, and if you’re faced with a big repair it is a good idea to weigh that cost of repair in contrast to investing in a new system. Will the cost of the repair cover a good portion of the investment of replacing? Then that is a good indicator that it’s time to replace.


4. Frequent Airconditioner breakdowns.

This one should be an easy one. If your air conditioner is breaking down, or needs service other than preventative maintenance once a year or more, it’s probably a good idea to look at replacing it. If it’s not that old, then there is a problem with the installation, sizing, or set up of the equipment. Whatever the problem, it should be identified and corrected. In the event your system is sized improperly, little can be done other than replacing the system. Big air conditioners can’t get small, and small air conditioners can’t get bigger.


5. Air conditioner uses R 22 Freon.

R-22 Refrigerant is is being phased out by the federal government, due to it's harmful effects on the environment. The Chlorine used in the make up of R22 breaks down and contributes to ozone depletion and greenhouse gases. Also the refrigerant, compared to newer, safer refrigerants being produced is less efficient. This means that compared to the newer refrigerants, you get less cooling effect for the amount of power being consumed by your unit. Which in turn translates to more cost to you as a homeowner.

R22 refrigerant will be obsoleted in 2020 and no longer available. This alone is good cause to replace, even if the repair needed is simple. At this point you simply are investing in something that you will have no choice but to soon replace.


6. My home isn’t comfortable.

So you're setting your thermostat only at 70 because your afraid of the high bills setting it lower will create. This is a very common scenario with people who try to stick it out rather than call a qualified repair and service contractor. You set the thermostat at what you think should be comfortable, yet you're still uncomfortable. Well first, we'll tell you that 70 really should be comfortable if not perfect to the majority of people IF the other half of the equation is present. That missing half, humidity, or in this case, the over abundance of it. The comfort zone of humans as indicated by experiments is around 70 degrees and 50% humidity. When the humidity is higher, most people have a hard time shedding the extra heat produced by their bodies. When the humidity is below that, especially with colder temperatures (Think winter here) the body will actually expel heat at a rate faster than can be generated. This makes a person perceive their surroundings as hotter, or colder than they like.


So back to that handy psychrometer we talked about earlier. If you're having trouble maintaining or even reaching that magic number then you really should call a Shield Comfort Heating & Cooling Professional to have a look at your system and determine why it isn't running up to par.


If you have any questions rather your unit should be replaced, or simply serviced, call Shield Comfort Heating & Cooling. Our replacement estimates are always free. And YES financing is available.


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