The closing weeks of summer don’t mean a sudden plunge in the heat. You can expect to need your AC running for a bit longer. But the winding-down time of the season is a good point to start considering the future of your air conditioning system and whether you want to replace it before the next summer arrives. You don’t want to wait for an air conditioning system to completely break down before you have it replaced. If possible, get ahead of the problem and replace the AC before it starts to give you headaches like increased bills and unreliable performance.
Let’s Start with the Air Conditioner’s Age
How old is your air conditioner? Don’t worry if you can’t immediately answer this. If the AC was already in the house when you moved in, you may have no idea of its age. However, it’s simple to find out. Go to the outdoor cabinet of the AC (the condenser cabinet) and find the metal nameplate, which is usually attached to the back of the cabinet. This nameplate should have the manufacturer’s date on it. If it doesn’t, take a digital snapshot of the nameplate, and then call our office. Using the model and serial number on the plate, we can give you the manufacturer’s date.
What Age Means for an Air Conditioner
You now know how old your AC is, but what counts as too old?
In general, modern air conditioning systems can last 10 to 15 years, with warranties covering 10 to 12 years. If you have an AC past its warranty period or older than 15 years, then planning for a replacement is a good idea. Yes, even if the air conditioner is still outwardly working well. The risk of the system becoming inefficient increases past 15 years, as does the risk the system will suffer a breakdown.
Repairs become a less cost-effective solution when the AC is this old. You can apply “The Rule of 5000” to get an idea of when repairs are not the ideal choice. Multiple a repair cost by the age of the system. If the result is more than 5000, the repair is too costly. For example, if you have a 15-year-old AC, any repair more than $350 (or $333.33 if you want to be specific) isn’t worth it.
A Word About Refrigerant
Current home air conditioners use R-410A refrigerant, which replaced the carbon-depleting R-22 as part of a phaseout. By 2020, R-22 will no longer be available for repairs on older units. If you have an R-22 air conditioner (you can find this information on the nameplate), we strongly recommend replacing it as soon as possible. New R-410A air conditioners have superior energy efficiency and you won’t have to worry about refrigerant leaks that can’t be repaired.
We can offer whatever Katy, TX air conditioning service you may need at the end of the summer. If you need advice about whether to replace your AC or continue with repairs, we’re happy to assist you. Our NATE-certified technicians have the training to know what’s best for your future home comfort.