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When to Replace A Central AC Unit



For some homeowners, a visit from a technician to repair a central air conditioning unit brings the news that it is time for a replacement. For others, however, the decision to replace a unit happens before it stops working completely. Don’t wait until you are stuck without air conditioning on a hot day. Use these five signs to help you decide if the end is near for your central air conditioning unit.

1. Frequent Repairs. Scheduled HVAC maintenance is important to ensure your unit is running efficiently, but when the HVAC technician knows you, your kids, and your dog by name, it might be time to consider a new AC unit. A simple, occasional repair will keep your unit running, but continuous repairs are expensive and a sign of decline.

2. Temperature Fluctuations. A well-functioning AC unit can keep up with changing outdoor conditions and maintain a comfortable, steady temperature at the right humidity levels. If your central AC unit used to keep your home consistently comfortable, but stopped doing so, it’s time for an upgrade.

3. Rising Energy Bills. Air conditioning units that are starting to fail may consume more energy than they did when they functioned properly. This usually happens because the AC unit now needs to run longer or more frequently to maintain a consistent temperature. If your energy bills are on the rise, your AC unit may be the culprit.

4. Poor Operation. If your central air conditioning unit is making banging, grinding, or clanging noises, it may be on its last legs. Units that turn off and on frequently are also indicative of poor operation.

5. Age. Most central air conditioning units last at least ten years; a well-maintained unit can continue to function for about 15 years. If your unit is more than ten years old and you are facing an expensive repair, you should consider replacing the unit. Even if your air conditioner appears to be working properly, newer models can work more efficiently and can cut your energy bills by as much as 20 percent.

Beat the Rush

The most inconvenient time to have your central air conditioning unit break down is in the middle of a summer heatwave. Your home will be uncomfortable, and repair technicians will be working overtime to accommodate all of the service calls. You may have to wait for several days–or even weeks in some areas–to get an appointment. Even then, you may have to wait for an additional period before a new unit is shipped and a technician is available to install it.

The best time to replace an aging or failing central air conditioning unit is now, before the heat of the summer sets in. Most heating and cooling companies are slow during the spring as the winter rush has calmed and the summer season has yet to set in.

Remember that your air conditioning unit can only run efficiently if your home is keeping the cool air in and the hot air out. That’s why we strongly recommend a home energy assessment prior to installing a new HVAC system to ensure your home is properly insulated and sealed. Thinking it’s time for a new central air conditioning unit? Get started with a free home energy assessment today!