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Know When Air Conditioning Replacement is Needed

Proper timing for air conditioning replacement is not just a matter of when it totally fails. There are times when preemptive replacement of air conditioning equipment can save significantly on operation costs, repairs, maintenance and even damage to your house. There are indicators you can spot for yourself that can be clues as to when this time is approaching. You should be aware of these and ready to bring in a professional to assess what to do next.

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Typical Air Conditioning Replacement Considerations

  • Age: Most AC equipment is considered to be good for only up to about ten years. Five to ten years is about all most companies will recommend for the units they make.

  • Renovations or remodeling of buildings: This is one of the most opportune times to make a change, and should be planned while proposed changes still allow for the installation of new or revamping of the heating and cooling of your house or other building. Doing so at this time will allow you to take full advantage of all the newest innovations and increases in efficiency of AC equipment.

  • A full failure: Once the equipment has experienced a catastrophic failure, replacement is a given.

Less Catastrophic Indications for Air Conditioning Replacement

There are several other reasons to consider professional air conditioning replacement, even when your existing unit is still functioning. When taken cumulatively, these signs may be what determine a yea or nay in doing so.

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  • Again, age: After the mid-1990s, energy-efficient machines were released as per the Energy Star program developed by the government directed towards improving the efficiency and standards of electrical use in the country. Not only is older equipment less likely to be nearly as efficient, but the less likely it will be that it incorporates all the newest technology and improvements. Energy Star devices can be as much as 20% more efficient.

  • Falling efficiency: You may be one of those clients service techs appreciate and rave about: the ones who insist on regular maintenance and repairs, and who even go the extra mile to increase these in heavy use times. However, even under the most optimum conditions, any installation can degrade and its efficiency can falter. While getting along on what you have may seem preferable, you have to weigh this against the mounting costs of energy. Remember, the per-unit energy costs will likely only increase as time goes by. All the trends indicate healthy changes in that direction for all the major energy sources.

  • Excessive humidity: This can not only indicate problems with malfunctions in your AC’s settings and internal controls or leaks in runoff ducting and collection pans, but may also indicate a much more important problem. An original installation too large for the space might be inefficient for the application and result in accumulation of excessive moisture in the air and also in the runoff from the condenser coils, the drain tube and the collection pan. A serious by-product of this moisture can be water damage and fungus and mold growth, affecting safety and health, as well as destruction to walls, ceilings, floors, carpeting, furniture, clothing and other items stored in the space.

  • Increasing repair costs: As in any other machine, parts naturally wear. Given enough time, the more major parts will start to fail and as in any other mechanical system, they may start failing in an ever-increasing sequence.

  • Uneven cooling throughout the building: This is yet another possible indication that the AC unit is too large for your need. It may also indicate less critical problems such as leaky ducting or poorly planned and installed insulation and ducting.

  • Unusual or unwanted noises: Worn or failing fans, motors, drive belts; improperly secured ducting; a failure of the internal cooling coils; and even an oversized system can contribute to excessive noises.

Often, with only a few exceptions, any one of these by itself may not call for drastic action. But an increase in the number of these problems may be your unit telling you that it is too tired and it’s time for air conditioning replacement. If you are noting any one or more of these indicators, the best policy is to consult with a reputable HVAC company and get your system tested.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Alley and Co. Heating/Air and a clickable link back to this page.

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