Posted on: 8 July 2015
Central air conditioning turns your home into a comfortable oasis during the hot summer months. However, when the system isn't working properly, you may experience hot zones or total breakdowns. If your air conditioner isn't working as well as it should, it's time to determine if you need a new one by following these four easy steps.
Check the Age of Your System
Figuring out the age of your system is probably the most important tool for determining if it's time for a new system. A typical system lasts 10 to 15 years, so if yours is older, it just can't work at top efficiency anymore. Even with repairs, it won't work as well as it once did, and you may just be wasting your money on repairs when you'll soon need a complete replacement anyway.
Another reason to determine the age of your system is to help determine if it uses R-22 refrigerant. Most systems made before the start of 2010 used this refrigerant. However, the EPA is trying to phase out these systems by 2020 because R-22 is dangerous to the ozone layer. It's not illegal to own one, but they systems with R-22 are no longer produced, and repair costs are increasing.
Have Your Ductwork Examined
Just because your system isn't working at full capacity it doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with the unit. Central air conditioning units are forced air systems, and forced air systems are notorious for air leaks. It's common for these systems to allow 20 to 30 percent of air to escape as it passes through the ducts, which means you're forced to keep turning down the thermostat to get a comfortable temperature.
Before getting a new air conditioning system, have your ductwork checked for leaks, and seal any gaps or holes. Some signs your ducts aren't working as well as they should include rooms that are difficult to cool and ducts in areas that don't need cooling (attic, crawlspace, garage and basement). If you do have ducts in these areas that don't need cooling, it may also be beneficial to add some insulation around the ducts to keep the air cooler longer.
Look at Your Energy Bills
Older and inefficient systems are also known to waste energy, so pull out some of your old energy bills and see if they are steadily increasing each summer. If so, it's a good sign your system can't handle the pressure of cooling your house any longer. Keep in mind, however, that increasing energy bills can also point to inefficient ductwork, so check that first, especially if your system is still young.
If you choose to get a new system, you can get more modern ENERGY STAR systems, which are designed to maximize results without wasting energy or money. Getting one of these ENERGY STAR systems has the power to lower your cooling costs by up to 20 percent.
Track Repairs and Breakdowns
Like so many modern luxuries, you don't even notice your central air conditioning unit until it breaks down. If you think your system is breaking down more than normal, start keeping tract. Track total breakdowns and repairs, but take note of any strange noises, smelly odors, dust, uneven temperatures and humidity problems.
Don't forget to track when the problem occurs. If the system tends to breakdown or develop problems during peak use (the hottest days and hottest times of the day), it's a sign your system can't handle your cooling needs. It may not mean it's broken. It just may mean it isn't powerful enough. Either way, getting a new one is your best bet, unless the system is still young, and this is the first time you've really noticed a problem. In that case, a repair could still be enough to keep it working efficiently.
Don't waste your money trying to cool your house with an inefficient central air conditioning until. Unless your system is new and breakdowns are rare, a repair probably isn't enough to get your system working again. For more information about air conditioner repair, contact a contractor in your area today.Share