- “It’s 90 degrees outside and my house won’t get down to a comfortable temperature.”
- “I try not to use the air conditioning because the electric bill gets too expensive.”
- “The HVAC technician is at my home more often than my friends.”
If you find yourself saying any of the above or have another complaint about your air conditioning system, it might be time to replace some of your equipment.
How do you know if your system simply needs a tune-up or a complete replacement? There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether or not it is time to upgrade. Here are a few standard questions to ask yourself that could help you figure it out:
How old is your AC unit?
The age of your air conditioning unit is an important factor in deciding whether or not it is time for an upgrade. The majority of HVAC technicians will recommend replacing your air conditioning system if it is 15 years or older. This has to do with the unit’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which is the amount of cooling produced divided by the amount of electricity used.
Today, the minimum SEER is 13, but if your AC system is over 12 years old, chances are it is only rated at a 10. By just upgrading to the current minimum, you will go up on the SEER scale 3 points. For each SEER number you go up, energy efficiency increases between 5 and 9 percent which could mean an overall increase of 15 to 27 percent. This translates to money in your pocket in the form of energy savings.
How often in the last two years have you had to call for air conditioning service?
Air conditioning units that need repairs more than once a year can be a problem on many fronts, even if you are particularly fond of your service technician! We are not talking about routine maintenance such as unclogging debris from the condenser fins or changing air filters. The more repairs that your unit needs, the more likely that it will need repairs again which means more expenses for you.
Look at your invoices and calculate how much you have spent on repairs. If the total spent on repairs combined with the money you may be losing in efficiency exceeds the cost of a new unit, then it is definitely time for a new one.
Are your energy bills continually rising even though you feel like you are practically sitting in the dark to save on electricity?
As your air conditioning system gets older, it will become less efficient. If your energy bills continue to rise as the summer winds down, this could be due to your AC system working harder than necessary to do the job. Upgrading to a new system can cut back on energy consumption and reduce costs by an average of 20 to 40 percent. This is not only because the SEER number is better but because the unit will not have to work as hard. The savings on your energy bill may offset the cost of new air conditioning equipment.
Is your AC system keeping your home consistently cool throughout?
You can test this by setting your thermostat to your preferred temperature and walking into different rooms of your home throughout the day. If everything is working properly, there should not be a noticeable change in temperature from room to room. If your AC system is struggling to keep up with your home’s demand for cool air, then that is an indication of trouble to come. An efficient system should be able to cool your entire home without much effort.
Still, the best question to ask is not of yourself, but of your local HVAC experts. They can help lay out the pros and cons of repairing versus replacing as well as assess the equipment and other parts of the home. Often, improving the quality of the ductwork and/or upgrading your home’s insulation can increase the system’s effectiveness almost as much as installing new equipment altogether.
Levco’s HVAC service specialists can perform an equipment evaluation for you and are available by telephone or an in-home visit to answer any questions you may have. For more useful tips and information, stay up to date with Levco by liking our page on Facebook.