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Posted: July 20, 2015

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

If you frequent the sauna at the gym, you know exactly what life without air conditioning would be like in Florida. How the early settlers in Brevard County managed to do anything but lie around lethargically fanning themselves is a mystery, but happily, times have changed, and a house without an air conditioner is about as common in our state as a home without running water.

But air conditioners have a limited lifespan, and knowing when it’s time to replace your aging air conditioner is essential for keeping your energy bills in check and heading off a permanent breakdown that’ll leave you taking up residence in a hotel until a new system can be installed. It also gives you a little time to shop around for the best system at the best price.

Signs Your A/C May Need Replacing

Unfortunately, air conditioners don’t come with a warning system that lets you know they’re tired and old and ready for retirement, which means that you have to read the signs. So here are the signs that you should probably start shopping around for a new system sooner than later.

Your system is getting up there in age. If your air conditioner is 10 to 15 years old, a replacement is probably inevitable in the next few years. But age isn’t the only factor. Well maintained systems can provide optimum cooling for up to 20 years, while neglected air conditioners may fail after seven or eight years. Even if your old system is working just fine, thank you, keep in mind that technology has come a long way since you last had an air conditioner installed, and a new, high-efficiency system could considerably lower your energy bills – and your carbon footprint.

You’re paying for frequent repairs. If you need service on your A/C twice a year or more, you can rest assured it’s on the verge of handing you its resignation papers. Much like our human bodies, when one part of your air conditioner begins to fail, the others won’t operate properly, either. Frequent repairs means you’re putting out little fires, but soon, the cost of those repairs is going to outweigh the cost of a new system, and the sooner you replace the system, the sooner you can start putting all that money you’re spending on repairs in the bank.

Your system doesn’t know when to quit. If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to cycle off even during periods of lower outdoor temperatures, it may be struggling to cool your home as efficiently as it should, and you’re probably paying a lot more for comfort than is necessary.

Your energy bills are through the roof. An inefficient air conditioner will cost you a whole lot more than it should. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, cooling your Florida home accounts for 27 percent of your annual utilities. That’s four times higher than the national average of six percent! If you’re not sure whether you’re paying more than you should be, compare your electric bill to that of a friend or family member who has a similar-sized home but a newer air conditioner.

Your air conditioner is louder than a roomful of fourth grade boys. If your system has you wearing earplugs at night due to all manner of banging, clanking, buzzing, and hissing noises, all is not well inside. Your fan may be loose or its blades may be bent, the compressor may be failing, or the airflow may be hindered. Air conditioners make noise, of course, but if the noises coming from your system make you wonder if it’s about to fall apart, it may be time to invest in a new air conditioner.

Your home feels like a wet blanket. Part of your A/C’s job description is removing the humidity in your home. If that’s not happening, your aging air conditioner may be oversized, or your coils may be all gunked up. Humidity control is obviously very important in Florida, and inadequate dehumidification is a deal breaker when it comes to deciding to install a new system.

Choosing a New Air Conditioner

If you’ve decided that it’s time to start looking into having a new air conditioner installed, here are some things you should keep in mind:

Work with a licensed, reputable contractor. The contractor you choose can make or break your new A/C installation. Improperly installed air conditioners won’t operate as efficiently as they should. Brevard Coolings & Heating is fully licensed and bonded, and our technicians are skilled, friendly, NATE-certified, drug tested, and background checked.

Request a savings calculation. Your contractor can calculate all of the costs associated with your new air conditioner, including the cost to buy, maintain, and run the system.

Request a load calculation. An oversized air conditioner won’t properly dehumidify or cool your home, and it’ll cost a lot more money to buy, operate, and maintain. Eyeballing your home isn’t good enough – the contractor should calculate the size of the system you need using the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual J. Your existing duct design should be evaluated using Manual D.

Have your ducts inspected. No matter how efficient your new system, inadequate ductwork will reduce the efficiency and the cooling power of your new air conditioner. Your contractor should inspect your ducts using the ACCA’s Manual D.

Replace both sides of your A/C. Replacing just the indoor unit or the outdoor unit will almost always result in inefficiency and the premature failure of the system. Proper operation and top efficiency requires matching sides of the air conditioner.

Think you’re ready to replace? Would you like a second opinion? Do you have a lot of questions? Brevard Cooling & Heating can help! Our fully certified technicians are friendly and knowledgeable about all things HVAC, and we can help you join the scores of satisfied customers who are enjoying optimal home temperatures at wallet-friendly prices.

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