4 Reasons to Upgrade That Old AC

Published on: June 16, 2014
Summer savings | AC Southeast®

As the cooling season approaches, it’s time to take stock of your air conditioning system and see whether it’s still the best cooling option for your home. Air conditioners are supposed to be somewhat long-term investments, but eventually, they do need to be replaced. Here are four questions to ask when deciding whether to upgrade your old air conditioner.

How Old Is It?

As a rule, air conditioners are designed to last eight to 10 years. If you’ve had your current air conditioner for nearly a decade, odds are good that it’s close to done, especially if you’ve had maintenance issues in the past. Moreover, older systems tend to run less efficiently than current models because they were made with older technology, so the older your air conditioner, the more you stand to gain in terms of energy savings.

Is it Properly Sized?

Improper sizing is one of the most common causes of air conditioning problems. Under-sizing is particularly problematic because it increases wear and tear on the system, shortening its lifespan and leading to other maintenance issues down the road. Things don’t get much better with over-sized units; they tend to overshoot the target temperature and cycle on and off, leading to uncomfortable temperature changes and lower energy efficiency.

Because of inaccurate sizing techniques used by HVAC contractors in the past, a lot of older systems are over-sized. Moreover, even if your current unit was properly sized when it was installed, your home’s cooling load may have changed since then. Either way, air conditioning replacement is the only way to fix that problem.

Is it Having Trouble?

If your air conditioner is half a decade old or more, replacement may be a more cost-effective solution to a maintenance issue than repair. Again, older systems are less efficient than newer models, and while fixing your old AC may be enough to get it running again, you’ll still lose money every month because of its higher energy usage, and if there’s another problem, you’re back at square one. Starting fresh with a new air conditioner also eliminates the maintenance issue and saves you money throughout the season. Besides, if your current system suffers from frequent issues, there’s invaluable peace of mind to be had if you replace it.

How Much Can I Save?

Ultimately, the primary reason to upgrade an old air conditioner is to cut your monthly energy usage. Your air conditioner’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER rating, measures the amount of energy it uses per unit of cooling output. Older units may have SEER ratings as low as 10, while new models can be SEER 18 or better. The greater the difference between your existing system’s SEER and the new system’s SEER, the more money you stand to save every month, and the sooner your new air conditioner will effectively pay for itself.

If it’s time to upgrade your old air conditioner, you’ll need an HVAC contractor you can trust to size and install the new system. We can help you connect with some of your local air conditioning experts to find the right contractor for your home. Our online tools will be your first step toward improved comfort and lower energy bills for many summers to come.