Among the household systems we take for granted, air conditioning comes high on the list of essential appliances. Your air conditioning unit keeps you cool in summer and mild in winter and cleans the air in your home constantly. However, air conditioning units do have a limited lifespan. As with any appliance that works 24 hours a day it will also need maintenance and – as we shall see – may eventually need replacing. In the following article we look at tell-tale signs that your air conditioning needs attention, so let’s get down to business.
How to Tell Your AC Unit Needs Attention
There are four main signs that you should look for that tell you your air conditioning is in need of maintenance. We describe each below so you can check your system and get the ac installation contractor in if required. An air conditioning unit is a specialist appliance so you should always engage the services of a qualified and experienced A/C engineer.
1: Rising Energy Bills
If you notice that your energy bills are suddenly increasing you need to check out why. If it is not due to rising costs from your supplier and is down to increased usage, then it could be that your air conditioning unit efficiency has been compromised. The way to check this is to take your bills from the current quarter and check them against the same from last year. Consider the unit cost, and any noticeable increases should be obvious.
You also need to factor in whether you are using more power necessarily than you were before – perhaps you have more appliances to run – but if not, the A/C unit is a primary target. Air conditioning systems reduce in efficiency as the components in them get older. They also become less efficient if ducts are clogged with debris, which can build up over the years as dust and debris gathers in the pipes.
Call your engineer to have a look and they will be able to pinpoint the problem and either clean the system thoroughly or repair the parts that are malfunctioning. Should you need a new A/C unit they will also advise you on this.
2: R-22 Freon
There is a proven relationship between clean air and our health and this also relates to A/C units that may not be operating efficiently. There are also environmental concerns associated with certain aspects of air conditioning.
All such units use a refrigerant in the form of a gas. Many US air conditioning units will use a gas known as R-22 Freon. This has been found to be damaging to the environment and, as a result, production no longer takes place in the USA.
Freon is not banned as such but eventually will be. Any air conditioning unit more than a decade old will most likely use Freon. A/C units need to be re-gassed once in a while, but if your unit uses Freon there will be none available. As you cannot simply change the gas you use, you will need a new A/C unit.
If you have air conditioning that is working well and uses Freon you can carry on using it for now, but we advise you start looking at budgeting for a new unit as soon as you can.
3: Frequent Breakdowns
Should you begin to notice that your air conditioning unit is subject to frequent breakdowns it could be that it is on its last legs. We mentioned earlier that there is a limited lifespan for these machines as they work hard to deliver their purpose, and frequent breakdowns are a sign that internal components may be beyond their best.
However, this does not always mean you need a new unit. An engineer will be able to assess the problem and check out the various components within. If the A/C is in good overall condition it may simply need a service, or certain components may need to be replaced.
The problem really begins when you have had your unit serviced or repaired and it continues to break down. This is a sign that the appliance may be reaching the end of its useful life. Regular breakdowns mean repeated repairs, and this can become costly. As your engineer for advice as it is likely to be more cost effective to replace your unit than constantly having to repair it.
4: 10 Years Old or More
An air conditioning unit that is more than 10 years old is certainly approaching its final useful years. Older units have a lifespan of a maximum of 15 years, while more modern appliances can last as long as 20 years. If you know that you’re A/C is older than 10 years you should be considering a replacement and budgeting for such.
This is especially important if you have a unit that is perhaps no longer manufactured. These may involve parts that are unavailable, hence you have a device that cannot be repaired when needed in certain circumstances. It is strongly advised you start your budgeting at 10 years and look to replace by 12, as modern air conditioning units are far more energy efficient and long lasting than older models.
Your air conditioning unit needs regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently and it is recommended that you have it serviced at least once a year. This will ensure the engineer can see in advance that certain parts are going to need replacing and can pre-empt problems by keeping things up to date.
Each of the above four signs is a certain indication that your air conditioning is in need of repairs and perhaps replacement, but before you buy a new unit make sure your engineer gives you a good assessment of the life left in the one you have.
A great deal of development has gone into air conditioning systems in the last few years so you can rest assured that if you do need a new unit it will last a lot longer than your existing one.