Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?
For Cincinnati homeowners, it can be tough to know when the time is right to replace your air conditioning unit with something new. While repair may seem less expensive, a new air conditioner may cost less in the long run if your current unit is inefficient or needs frequent maintenance.
A new central air conditioning system is a big investment for your home, and you don’t always get to choose a convenient time for replacement. Most air conditioning systems are designed to last for around fifteen years. After that time, even with regular maintenance, your system will reach a point where it isn’t running properly and is unable to keep your home cool during the hottest days of summer. Is it time to replace your air conditioner? Look over the following list of signs that it may be time:
Your Air Conditioner is Over 15-Years-Old
- Once it hits about 15 years, A/C units will struggle to run efficiently and effectively. Even a unit that was properly maintained throughout its lifetime will reach a point where the cost of repairs and wasted energy will be more than the cost of a new unit. It’s time to replace your older unit with a new energy efficient air conditioner when it’s overworking, needs too many repairs, or it can no longer keep your house cool.
The Cost to Repair is Too High
- You can use the 5,000 rule when trying to figure out if a repair cost is too high. This general guideline can reveal whether repairing or replacing your equipment makes the most sense. Simply multiply the repair cost by the age of the equipment. If that exceeds $5,000, then it makes more financial sense to replace the unit.
Your Air Conditioner has Become Inefficient
- Newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. It can cost a lot of money to run an A/C unit with a low SEER rating. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is under 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.
Your Air Conditioner Needs Repairs Frequently
- If your system needs frequent repairs, and is draining your wallet, it may mean it has exceeded its life expectancy. Every A/C system will give out eventually, even with responsible upkeep and periodic maintenance.
Choosing Your Air Conditioner
Selecting a new air conditioning system may be a large investment, but it’s one that should pay for itself over time by lowering utility bills through energy savings. How much time it takes for you to get a return on your investment depends on what type of air conditioning system you choose. Thomas & Galbraith will help you choose from the most energy-efficient A/C systems available.
The trained experts at Thomas & Galbraith will assess your situation and recommend the right A/C unit to keep your home comfortable all season long. There are multiple options available when it comes to new air conditioners and the right one for you will vary depending on your needs and your home.
Types of Central Air Conditioning Systems
There are two main central air conditioner system configurations: a split system and a package system.
- An outdoor metal cabinet located next to the home contains the condenser and compressor.
- An indoor cabinet located above or near the air handler unit (furnace or blower) contains the evaporator coil. Indoor components may be found in a basement, crawlspace, closet, or attic.
- To achieve efficiency rating, the outdoor and indoor units need to be properly matched.
- All mechanical parts are housed in one cabinet, which is typically located outside the home.
Unlike a central A/C system, a heat pump heats and cools a home. A heat pump works as an air conditioner in the summer and as a reverse air conditioner in the winter. It looks like a central air conditioning unit in appearance and size.
While some heat pumps are packaged systems with one outdoor unit housing the compressor, condenser, evaporator coil and fan, most are split systems that have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit.
In the summer, heat pumps extract heat from the indoor air and transfer it through refrigerant, releasing it to the outside. In the winter, heat pumps push the hot air back into your home instead of venting it to the outside,. If you are using an air‐source heat pump to heat your home, the cooling cycle is reversed. An air conditioner only runs during the summer, while the outside unit of a heat pump system runs all year.
An air handler uses a component called a blower to move air throughout your home. It operates both the cooling and heating aspects of your HVAC system and is usually located inside the home. At first glance, an air handler may resemble a furnace. They can run with an A/C unit and also contain the indoor coil, which is used to heat and cool your home depending on which system is running.
With a heat pump, the air handler usually works as the indoor component on your two-part split system to keep your indoor temperature comfortable year round. They are often located in the basement, attic, or dedicated closet. As you might have guessed from its name, the air handler “handles” the air inside your home, delivering warm or cool indoor air throughout your entire home when you want it.
A Ductless Unit
A ductless heat pump or air conditioner usually consists of an an outside compressor and a wall-mounted indoor unit. They are most often used in situations where a window A/C unit or baseboard heating would be applicable, such as in a new addition to a house. Ductless units are less vulnerable to air leakage and security problems, because they only require a small hole to be drilled into the wall. This also makes a ductless unit less visible and less audible.
Because of how they work, ductless units are also exceedingly energy-efficient. An average home may lose 25% of its energy through ductwork. When you remove the ducts, you end up with a more efficient system. Instead of shutting off entirely like a traditional HVAC compressor does, ductless models have inverter-driven compressors, which speed up and slow down based on the needs of the system in your home.