As any Arizona resident knows, the air conditioning unit becomes a trusted and loved member of the family at least four or five months of the year. And, as we sometimes do with our family, we can sometimes take them for granted, knowing they will always be there for us no matter what.
But with your air conditioning unit, it’s important to know when it’s time to give up and when it’s time to start over with a replacement. You will be able to tell when tat time comes by the signs you need a new air conditioning unit.
There are a handful of tell-tale signs you need a new air conditioning unit, including:
- You’re habitually calling the repairman or your energy bills are going up without explanation. These are signs that your system just isn’t as efficient as it once was. A replacement system with the Energy Star label (a government program aimed at saving money and protecting the environment through energy-efficient products and practices) can generally save you about 20 percent in energy bills.
- Your existing unit is more than 10 years old. Again, today’s units, installed properly, are much more efficient than they were a decade ago. The life expectancy of an air conditioning unit is typically 10 to 15 years. But when a unit is put to work more frequently (like here in Arizona), the life expectancy is less.
- Humidity problems in the house. This could signal poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, or leaky ductwork.
- Your unit is noisy. This could mean that your duct system isn’t large enough or there is a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment. It’s also more likely that a noisy unit is an older unit.
- You determine your score on the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick is higher than 5. In order to determine your score, you’ll just need to gather 12 months worth of energy bills (or an annual statement), you can compare your home’s energy use to homes of similar size across the country. You can get your score by visiting Energy Star’s assessment.
- Your existing unit has a low SEER number. Air conditioning units are assigned a numerical SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) value. The more cooling a system puts out for each unit consumed, the higher the SEER rating will be. So a higher SEER number means less energy will ultimately be consumed, you’ll have lower energy bills, and there will be less of an impact on the environment. Since 2006, the government has required all new air-conditioning units to be at least a SEER-13. Equipment is sold as high as SEER-18 and SEER-23. In hot climates like Arizona, at least a SEER-16 is typically recommended.
Once you decide to replace your air conditioning unit with one that is more energy-efficient, it’s important to ensure that it’s installed properly. If a unit is installed improperly, it can reduce efficiency by up to 30 percent. That means not only will you have higher energy bills, but the unit won’t last as long, either. That’s why it’s vital to contact a top-notch HVAC company to install your new uni.