Heating and cooling accounts for about 50% of energy costs for the average American household. If you have an outdated or inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, you may see a rise in your energy bills and struggle to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Certain signs can indicate when to replace your AC unit or HVAC system, including reduced air quality and dust, higher electricity costs, and multiplying repair costs.
Replacing your HVAC unit with the help of a professional installation company can alleviate these issues and ensure a comfortable and energy-efficient home for you and your family.
When Should You Replace Your HVAC System?
While well-maintained home air conditioning units are designed to last, their performance may degrade over time, eventually requiring replacement. Look for these common signs that your HVAC system may need to be replaced:
1. Your Energy Bills Keep Increasing
An escalating energy bill is often a red flag that replacing your HVAC unit or air conditioner may be necessary. Over time, wear and tear on the internal components of these systems, such as the compressor, blower motor, and air filters and coils, can lead to reduced performance and efficiency.
When your HVAC system has to work harder to maintain your desired indoor climate, it consumes more energy, reflected in your rising utility bills.
Replacing your outdated HVAC with a newer, more efficient model can reduce energy consumption. Modern systems often have higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings, translating to greater energy efficiency and lower operating costs.
They also may have features such as smart thermostats and variable speed motors that adjust the system’s operation to meet real-time heating and cooling demands, further reducing energy waste.
2. Your Air Conditioner System is More Than 10 Years Old
One of the most common questions homeowners ask about their AC units is, “How often does an HVAC system need to be replaced?” If your home’s current system is 10 years old or older, there are many reasons why you should consider replacing your AC unit:
- Long-term wear and tear. While regular maintenance and repairs can extend your HVAC system’s lifespan, parts and consumables, like refrigerant and filters, may become less readily available and more expensive as your system ages. A complete system replacement may eventually become the only cost-effective option.
- Older refrigerants. Many older systems use older-generation refrigerants that are less efficient or environmentally friendly than current alternatives. For example, R-22 was banned from new HVAC units by the EPA for all models starting on January 1, 2020, due to its ozone-depleting properties. Replacing your HVAC system with a newer model ensures it uses a more efficient refrigerant, like R-32 or R-454b.
- Features and technologies. HVAC manufacturers routinely introduce new technologies and features to their models, such as improved zoning systems, better air filtration technologies, or multi-stage heating and cooling.
Replacing your system with a newer product allows you to benefit from these new features, which increase your AC unit’s lifespan and help you manage your energy bills more efficiently.
3. Repair Expenses Outweigh the Cost of Replacing an HVAC Unit
HVAC or air conditioner systems may break down before the 10-year mark due to critical component failures like compressor malfunctions, refrigerant leaks, or electrical issues. When you should replace your HVAC system depends on the cost of fixing it versus investing in a new model.
When faced with a breakdown, get a repair quote and compare it to the price of a new unit. If repairs cost more than half the price of a new, comparable unit, consider a replacement.
New HVAC units typically range from $5,000 to $12,000, depending on your home and the model you choose. Compare this to the average cost of minor and major repairs. Minor issues like breaker or thermostat replacements cost around $150 to $290 on average, while bigger issues like evaporator coil replacement or fixing refrigerant leaks could cost between $200 and $1,500.
If your system requires major or minor repairs several times a year, this can quickly add up. This is especially true considering the cost of these repairs over a few years versus the one-time investment in an updated, smart-technology-powered HVAC system.
While investing in a new model may cost more upfront, it could be more economical long-term, offering modern features, lower energy consumption, eco-friendly refrigerants, and enhanced home comfort.
4. You Notice More Dust Around the House
An HVAC system does more than heat or cool your home; it also circulates and purifies air. A filtration system traps contaminants like dust, pollen, or smoke before distributing clean air via vents. HVAC air filters are made of paper, foam, or mesh and need regular replacements and tuning.
However, if you notice increased dust buildup despite fresh filters, it may indicate a filtration failure, indicating your system’s inefficiency in purifying air. A persistently dusty home could signal the need to replace your aged air conditioner with a newer, more efficient model, ensuring better air quality and filtration efficiency.
5. Your HVAC Unit is Making Strange Noises
Every air conditioner makes regular sounds on startup and shutdown. If you start hearing unusual or louder noises, it could mean there’s a problem. You can check your system to find and fix minor issues like dirty filters or a loose bracket, but some noises may indicate a bigger issue needing professional attention:
- Worn-out and damaged parts. One or multiple worn-out parts can sometimes cause rattling or clanking noises. For example, a loose blower fan blade may repeatedly make noises as it spins. They indicate your air conditioning system is not working as efficiently as it should.
- Worn or improperly installed ductwork. If your AC system uses ducting, worn-out, or improperly installed duct elements, it can create various whistling or hissing noises due to air escaping the system. This can decrease the volume of air circulated into the house and increase energy costs.
- Refrigerant system issues. If your AC unit’s refrigerant system is experiencing problems, such as a leaking line, it can cause hissing or gurgling sounds. A refrigerant leak reduces your system’s cooling and heating power.
- Condensation drain issues. If you hear dripping sounds from your AC system, your condensation drain may be clogged or damaged. Condensation drain damage can eventually result in water leakage and cause water damage to your home if not promptly addressed.
- Damaged thermostats. A damaged thermostat unit can sometimes emit ticking or clicking noises. For instance, the electrical contacts may be worn out, the mechanical elements may be damaged or broken, or debris may prevent it from operating correctly.
Choose Cool Air Pros for Your HVAC Installation and Replacement Needs
Deciding whether to repair or replace your HVAC system can be challenging without the opinion of a qualified expert. Fortunately, Cool Air Pros has the experience to assess your HVAC system needs. Our professional HVAC technicians can analyze your existing system to determine the best solution for your needs.
When you are ready to replace your existing AC unit with a newer model, Cool Air Pros will handle the installation with the care and professionalism you need. We work with the world’s most reputable HVAC suppliers and manufacturers, ensuring you receive the highest quality products with the best possible service.
Contact us today to get a quote.