An air conditioner is a must because of the hot Orlando weather, and regular maintenance is important. However, if your air conditioner (A/C) is reaching the end of its functional life — the average lifespan is 15 to 20 years — then you may wonder whether it’s time to replace rather than repair your A/C. Now’s a good time to consider it, since the weather’s turned cooler and you don’t necessarily need your A/C as much.
So what are the telltale signs that you should replace rather than repair your A/C? Here are a few:
- Its age: If it’s more than a decade old, you may not want to repair your A/C if you have a major issue, but rather, consider replacing it instead. Replacement may be more cost-effective once parts for your older unit become harder to find and therefore more expensive, and a new unit means better efficiency, too. Newer models are at least 200 percent more efficient than those produced 20 years ago.
- Its refrigerant type: Today, most air-conditioners use R-410A coolant, instead of the older R-22, which the EPA is phasing out because the chlorine it contains damages the ozone layer. If your old air conditioner uses R-22, you really should replace it. By January 2020, it no longer will be available, and its cost will continue to skyrocket between now and then.
- How much it costs to run: If your electric bills are getting higher every year, you might want to consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. A 20-year-old system uses up to 50 percent more energy than a new model, while a 10-year-old system can use as much as 40 percent more energy. Look for the ENERGY STAR label and a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which indicates how much energy the unit expends to produce a specific cooling output. Today’s models must be at least a 13 and go up to 20, but in general, the higher the better.
Do you have a question about energy or home-comfort issues pertaining to A/C or your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system? We’re here to help. Contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions Team, service experts serving the Central Florida area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about repair your a/c and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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