Air Conditioning

Is it time to replace that old air conditioner?

A new air conditioning system can be a big investment so there is a lot to consider when making the decision. Here we will take a look at some of the aspects to consider.

Installation vs Repair

Depending on the condition of the unit it’s not always more cost effective to repair the unit. Especially if the system is old and inefficient.

You may want to ask your local HVAC expert (or call us at 217, Inc. we are happy to help of course!) to help determine how much money you’d be saving one way or the other as some times it is more cost effective to do a small repair or retrofit and avoid the cost of a new installation.

Then again, installing a new unit can mean a more reliable system that saves money on utility bills, with the new advancements in efficiency it’s possible the savings may be enough that installation is the more cost effective choice.

Does it need repairs?

Obviously if the cost of repairing the unit is significant enough it might be a better move to go with installing a new one.
If it’s one small thing wrong with the unit and it’s been well maintained then it’s probably best to repair it.

But if there are other problems or worn down parts more problems and repairs could be expected -and repairs can really add up over time.

How old is the system?

Air conditioners that undergo regular maintenance usually last around 15 years or so. However, a lot has changed with air conditioner technology and efficiency.

This is especially notable on air conditioning units that still rely on R22.

If your air conditioner uses R22 (Freon)

If your air conditioner uses R22 also referred to as Freon, then it will become necessary at some point to retrofit it or replace it in the near future as R22 is being phased out due to a law taking effect on January 1st, 2020.

As R22 is among other HCFC’s of which the EPA will be banning the production and import due to their effects on the ozone layer. As a result this means older systems that rely on R22 will become more expensive to refill due to a reduced supply up until the point the ban takes effect; at which point they will not be able to be filled if they leak. Does this mean you have to get a new air conditioner?

Not necessarily as some models can be retrofit to work with alternative refrigerants. Then again putting that cost into an older unit that may need other repairs from years of exposure to the elements and long use may not be as cost effective as buying a new unit that will most likely be far more energy efficient.

Is it efficient enough?

Sure the more efficient the better, but at some point it’s not worth the extra money if you already have a fairly efficient system. This usually isn’t the case though.

If the system is very inefficient it is going to run harder, use far more energy and cost significantly more than a newer system while not providing as much comfort either.

If you are paying more and it’s not getting your house very cool then efficiency may be a more important issue to consider. These days a minimum SEER rating of 13 is required for newly manufactured air conditioners.

Does it keep your home cool?

It has one job -is it doing it?

And is it doing it well enough?

If the unit is running all the time and the house isn’t getting very cool there is a good chance the air conditioner needs work. It’s even possible that the wrong sized system was installed and isn’t a good fit for the home it’s cooling. Issues like this usually mean higher utility bills from the extra energy use.

Is it reliable?

Repairs add up. And they could add up enough that installing a new unit would have been the better choice. Not always, if the unit isn’t that old and is in mostly good condition then the unit is probably pretty reliable. Get a professional opinion on this and don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes you are better off just repairing the unit or even retrofitting it if it is in good reliable condition.

If it is not reliable and with the R22 phase out; air conditioner demand is likely to continue to increase as many homeowners and businesses are having to replace their air conditioning systems.

As we get closer to the date the law takes effect it is especially important to make sure your air conditioner is reliable as you don’t want it to break down on a hot day and find yourself stuck waiting for a repair or new unit.