The best time to consider repairing or replacing your air conditioning unit is before summer weather arrives. This way, you’ll be prepared for the heat and humidity and know your air conditioner will work when needed. Replacing your AC unit is an investment, so there are some things to consider before pulling the plug on your old unit. First, let’s identify the signs of a failing air conditioner. 

Signs Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Working

Several signs can indicate your air conditioner isn’t working properly, and some are more obvious than others. Here are some common signs—if you experience one or more of these issues, it’s time to give us a call at Wyckoff to help you diagnose the source of the problem. 

  • Excessive or increasing noise from your AC or vibrations
  • An increase in your home’s humidity levels
  • Frequent breakdowns
  • A significant increase in your energy bills
  • Water or refrigerant leaks
  • Problems with the thermostat
  • Hot air blowing out of the unit
  • Unit not switching off or on
  • Poor airflow resulting in uneven cooling
  • Burning smells or moldy odors coming from your unit
  • Excessive dust accumulation in your home

How to Decide Whether It’s Time to Repair or Replace

If your AC is on the fritz, it will either need to be repaired or replaced. The cost difference between the two can be significant, so here are some ways you’ll know it’s time to splurge on a replacement

1. The Age of Your AC Unit 

The typical lifespan of an air conditioner is about 10 to 15 years, and if it’s well-maintained and serviced at least once per year, your unit may last even longer. As a general rule of thumb, if your unit is over 10 years old, the warranty has expired, you’re experiencing more frequent problems, or the cost to repair is high, purchasing a new unit may be the best route.

If your air conditioner is less than 10 years old and has not experienced a major failure, it’s likely better to simply repair your unit.  

2. The Cost of Repair

If you have your unit serviced and the estimated cost of repairs is high, it can be more cost-effective to replace your AC instead. Especially if it’s nearing the 10-year mark, there’s a strong chance your unit could have more maintenance needs in the future which will continue to rack up your bill over time. 

3. Energy Efficiency 

Even if you maintain your older AC unit well, it will still be less efficient than a more modern system. All air conditioners have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating that measures energy efficiency, and the required SEER rating has consistently gone up over the years. AC units from the 1990s only needed a SEER rating of 10, while efficient systems made today often have a rating above 20.

An improperly sized unit, an incorrect amount of refrigerant, or worn electrical parts can also impact energy efficiency. If you notice an increase in your energy bills, purchasing a newer, more modern unit could be a worthwhile investment.

4. How Long You Plan to Live in Your Current Home

Unless you’re experiencing AC failure or the repairs are becoming excessive, replacing your unit might not be the best investment if you plan to move in the next few years. The only caveat to this is that if the unit is old or has not been well-maintained when you do sell your home, a buyer could ask for a reduction in price to account for it.

5. Freon Usage

A lot of air conditioning units that are over 10 years old still use R-22 refrigerant (Freon), which has been phased out since the start of 2020. Since it’s no longer possible to produce this legally in the U.S., any remaining supplies cost a lot more money than readily available R-401A refrigerant (which is what’s used in modern units).

Not only does the use of R-22 refrigerant make repairs more costly, but the product also may contribute to environmental issues.

6. Advanced Technology

As with almost any appliance, advances in technology are bound to happen over the years. If your air conditioner is older and starting to wear down, replacing your unit might be a smart option to reap all the benefits of a more advanced system. Updates to speed, the thermostat, and energy efficiency can make newer AC units more cost-effective and easier to use.

7. Expired or Invalid Warranty

Most air conditioners come with a limited warranty, and as the name suggests, they are limited in how long they are good for and what they will cover. In most cases, you can purchase an extended warranty on your unit for longer and better coverage. 

It’s important to note that for your warranty to remain valid, you must follow the terms and conditions listed in the contract. If your AC isn’t working properly and your warranty is expired or invalid, you might consider replacing the unit depending on the severity of the problem. 

Call Wyckoff When It’s Time to Replace or Repair Your AC

No matter whether you need a simple repair or a full-on AC replacement, give us a call at Wyckoff! We’ll help you identify issues and concerns with your current unit and give you tips on how you should proceed and options to choose from for your new air conditioner. 

Call today to schedule your AC service check so you’re ready for warmer weather when it hits!