Air conditioners typically have a life expectancy of 10 years. As your air conditioner ages, it will start sending you signals that it is no longer optimally performing.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is the actual age of your air conditioner and the type of Freon used. Older air conditioner models use R22 Freon, also called HCFC-22. While it has been the choice of refrigerant for the last several decades, the government is working to phase out this product because when it is released into the environment (as when a leak occurs), it can damage the ozone. New and future units use a different ozone-friendly refrigerant. This unfortunately means the older models (or those still using R22) cannot be easily repaired.
Another factor when considering replacing your AC is the frequency and cost to repair your current air conditioning unit. When your unit consistently and frequently requires more attention, it is telling you that it’s no longer functioning correctly. Repairing older models can end up being very costly; in many cases, replacement with a whole new system is easier and more cost effective in the long term.
Refrigerant is something else to think about; much like the radiator in a car, you should never have to add or top off your refrigerant for your air conditioner. If you find the refrigerant levels low then it means you have a leak. Leaks will not only rob you of your comfort as levels get lower, but will shorten the life of the unit as you use precious lubricants along with the refrigerant. Leaks should be located quickly and a decision should be made to repair or upgrade based on type of refrigerant and the efficiency of the current system.
Along with refrigerant levels, pay attention to the moisture level and humidity in each room of your home. Air conditioning units should help to keep excess moisture out of a room. If your home feels more humid, this may mean your air conditioner is no longer able to supply a controlled and dry environment.
The most important step is to check your SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. SEER calculates the efficiency of your air conditioning unit by factoring your cooling output during a typical cooling season. The higher the SEER levels, the better your energy savings will be. Your unit is the most energy efficient when its SEER level is a 13 or higher. If you have a low SEER number, please contact us to discuss your options and find the best air conditioner unit to upgrade and improve your home’s total comfort.
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