Whether you’ve lived in your home for 30 years or recently purchased a home, it’s important to keep track of your major appliances to ensure the best course of action to prevent and fix problems. Rather than spending a few hundred dollars on a repair and prolonging the life of an air conditioning system, many owners opt to replace and upgrade their system for a new warranty, more efficient equipment, and confidence that their condenser or coils won’t give out during the hottest time of the year.

Here a few questions to ask yourself when considering an air conditioning system replacement:

How old is my air conditioner?

Simply knowing the age of your system’s components could save you the stress and trouble of a condenser, blower, or cooling coil giving out unexpectedly. As a rule of thumb, average air conditioners last 15 years while newer systems should last longer.

Remove the element of surprise by keeping track of important dates in the lifetime of the air conditioner, such as dates of installation and any major service and repairs. Even if the system was installed before you owned the home, manufacture dates and installation forms are often attached to components directly.

Is my warranty expired?

Warranties can differ greatly depending on the manufacturer of each part as well as the installer of each part. Additionally, warranties can cover entire systems or piecemeal on a part-by-part basis.

It’s a good idea to keep purchase documents, such as warranty guidelines and product replacement hotline phone numbers, handy in case anything goes wrong in the life of the air conditioning system. Warranty information also explains what voids the warranty, such as attempting to fix problems without the help of an authorized technician.

What is the current condition of my unit?

If your air conditioning system seems noisy, doesn’t tend to cool your home evenly, or doesn’t improve the overall comfort of your home, you might consider replacing your system. Older units are noticeably louder than newer models and are less efficient when cooling a home. Other common signs of a worn-out system include humidity problems or excessive dust buildup inside your home.

What is the SEER rating on my current unit?

The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating defines the efficiency of air conditioners. Older air conditioners have a SEER rating of 6 or less, while today’s ENERGY STAR® air conditioners have a SEER rating of at least 13. In simpler terms, top SEER-rated air conditioners use roughly 30 to 50 percent less energy to cool the same-sized space as older systems. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy your system is using to cool your home and the less money you’ll spend on energy costs every month.

When was the last time my unit was professionally repaired or maintained?

Many homeowners with out-of-warranty systems or systems requiring constant care from repair companies decide to start fresh with a new air conditioner. Paying repair fees on an older air conditioner can add up over time, and coordinating with a service repairman for multiple visits can be a major headache.

Depending on the issue, it might make sense to replace the entire system rather than one part at a time. As already mentioned, newer air conditioners save money over time by cooling your home more efficiently and require fewer repairs with a new warranty. Additionally, air conditioning system replacements generally include auxiliary services such as ductwork replacement.

When was the last time I replaced something major?

We all know money doesn’t grow on trees. Air conditioners aren’t the cheapest appliance in your home, so a bit of financial planning and scheduling is a good idea. Plan your major appliance purchases. You might base large purchases around tax refunds or yearly bonuses, or even replace major appliances before anything has actually broken. Certain air conditioners, such as geothermal or solar HVAC systems, are eligible for tax credits or rebates as well, making the buying decision that much easier. Find out which incentives are available in your area by reviewing the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE™) online.

If you plan on replacing your air conditioner, consider doing so before the hot season. HVAC companies are flooded with calls once the summer temperatures begin to rise and systems start to fail after sitting dormant all winter. Plan ahead and be the first on your block to schedule service rather than waiting days or even weeks for an appointment to open.

These are only a few of the many questions to ask yourself when considering repairing or replacing your air conditioner. Depending on your situation, a repair or two can prolong the life of the air conditioner, while other times a replacement is more cost effective in the long run. Call your local Best Pick HVAC professional to find the right answer for you.

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