Modern HVAC systems typically last between 15 and 20 years, while the lifespan of an average air conditioning unit sits between 10 and 15 years. When properly maintained, your cooling and heating systems can last even longer than that (click here to learn more about how to maintain your AC).
As great as this is, ACs are still mechanical devices that suffer from regular wear and tear that gradually reduces their efficiency and causes them to break down. So how do you know when your AC unit is on its last legs and it’s time to look for a replacement?
Here are the top 7 signs of a failing air conditioner:
Sign #1: Where’s all the cold air?
If your air conditioner isn’t pumping out cold air, or if the “cold” air is a lot warmer than it should be, that’s a sure sign that there’s something wrong with your AC unit. This problem could be caused by numerous issues, including a broken compressor and low Freon levels.
Depending on the nature of the malfunction, it may or may not be more cost-efficient for you to simply get a replacement.
Sign #2: The air flow leaves much to be desired
Does it seem as if your air conditioner isn’t pushing anywhere near as much air as it used to? This can be the result of blocked or damaged vents, a faulty compressor, and more. While these problems can be repaired by an AC technician, they tend to be overly expensive compared to just getting a new unit.
Sign #3: There’s a leak somewhere
It’s normal to see some condensation around the air conditioner. However, excessive leakage is likely caused by a serious problem with the AC unit. Not only is excessive water leakage likely to damage the furniture and the floor, leaking coolant can actually pose a health risk to you and your loved ones.
Sign #4: It’s letting out strange sounds
Banging, rattling, squealing, and loud grinding noises from your air conditioner are a sure sign of a severe mechanical problem. For example, the bearings on the motor may be damaged, or a belt may have slipped out of place. Repairing this tends to be costly to the point where it’s much more practical to just purchase a new AC.
Sign #5: Something’s not right with the thermostat
A malfunctioning thermostat can make it impossible for your AC unit to properly cool some areas in your house or apartment. Get in touch with an AC repair service and have a technician check your thermostat. With a little luck, you’ll only have to replace a thermostat or two instead of replacing the entire system.
Sign #6: It’s getting long in the tooth
As we stated at the beginning of this article, the average air conditioning system lasts 10-15 years or so. If your AC system is older than that, that’s great: it was a truly good investment. That being said, it’s probably time to retire it and have it replaced by a newer model.
The good news is, modern ACs are designed to be far more energy-efficient and will likely save you a considerable amount of money in the long run by cutting down on the electric bill. In addition to that, they also tend to be quieter and to come with a number of extra features that older models simply don’t have.
Step #7: It’s constantly breaking down
Like an old car, an old air conditioning system will eventually get to the point where it’s constantly having malfunctions and requiring expensive repairs. Unfortunately, this is simply the reality of all mechanical devices: normal wear and tear eventually gets them. When this happens, it’s best to retire the old system and replace it with a cutting-edge alternative.