When Is It Time To Replace My Air Conditioner?

Couple Decide If It's Time For A New Air Conditioner

Summer is on its way and that spells H-O-T weather ahead for Brampton. Is your present air conditioner up for the challenge?  If not, now is the perfect time to have it serviced – or replaced. Here’s the information you need to ensure your home will be cool and comfortable in the coming months.

How Old Is My Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner will give you about 10 to 15 years of service, on average. So one of the first things you will want to do is determine the age of your current cooling system and whether it is near the end of its useful life. If you bought the system yourself, you shouldn’t have too hard a time figuring out its age, especially if you’re the organized type and you filed or scanned the original receipt.

However, in a case where the air conditioner was already in place before you bought your house, you’ll have to do a bit of detective work. If you are lucky, you will easily find the info you need on the metal nameplate that is attached to the A/C’s outdoor condenser unit, where the manufacture date is often written out as the month and year.

If the date is not obvious, photograph the nameplate or write down the brand name, model and serial number indicated. You can then use this information to track down when the unit was made, by either searching online or asking a knowledgeable HVAC pro.

Repair Vs. Replace Air Conditioner?

When you need to decide whether to repair or replace your air conditioning, the appliance’s age plays a crucial role. No, we’re not trying to be ageist here, but an older A/C system has at least two strikes against it:

1. It May Use R22 Refrigerant (also known as “Freon”)

The Canadian government is phasing out this dangerous ozone-depleting substance. As of January 1, 2020, Canada banned the sale of  Freon products. Eventually, it will be illegal even to use existing R22. So what does this phase-out mean for you?

If you have a refrigerant leak and need your system topped up, you won’t be able to purchase the R22 that you need. And eventually, you will not be allowed to run your R22-based A/C at all.

2. It Probably Wastes Energy

A/C energy usage is measured in terms of the ratio of BTUs of cooling energy to the watt-hour of electrical consumption (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The old SEER ratings were a minimum of 10; that has now increased to 13 or better.

A modern energy-efficient unit will reduce your carbon footprint, as well as save money on your electricity bills. If you opt for air conditioner replacement, whether you’d like a ductless A/C or central air, look for Energy Star certification.

Another factor (which is not unique to older units) is how much you’re spending on repairs. When your A/C is costing you a fortune in fixes, it could be time to install a new one. Consider a large repair bill for an older (but still serviceable) unit may be half the cost of a new replacement unit.

However, if you need to make another costly repair in a year or two (or 5) suddenly that short term cost-saving repair will end up costing you more than if you had just replaced the unit to begin with! Plus, that new unit will come with a warranty and the expectation of trouble free operation for a decade.

Last but not least, consider your home’s comfort factor. If the A/C leaves your indoor air humid and sticky-feeling, cools unevenly or is overly noisy, it’s probably time to look into a better model, such as a new Trane.

How To Keep My Air Conditioner Running Efficiently?

Whatever the age or SEER rating of your air conditioning, there are a few practical steps you should take to keep it running at peak efficiency and avoid unnecessary repairs, namely:

  • Clean or change the air filters. Do this every 30 days for standard fibreglass filters, and every 5-6 months for the priciest pleated filters.
  • Schedule regular tune-ups.  Treat your cooling system to a professional tune up annually, either before you start using it in spring or in the fall when you’re ready to shut it down for the season.
  • Call for repair promptly. Is your A/C not cooling properly – or running all the time? Don’t delay. Contact Dr HVAC for expert repair today, before a small problem turns into a bigger, more complicated one.