If you own a home here in Salida, CA, you already know how important AC is to your comfort. With up to six months of each year with average highs between 78 and 95 degrees, air conditioning provides an essential break from the heat. However, a new AC system isn’t cheap. It makes sense to keep your existing system running for as long as possible. No matter how hard you try, the day will come when you need to invest in a new AC. Here are seven signs that will help you know when that time has come.

1. Your AC Uses Outdated Refrigerant

One of the most common repairs AC systems need as they age is refrigerant recharge and leak sealing. If your AC uses an outdated refrigerant, it may make sense to buy a new system. If your AC uses a very old refrigerant like R-22, you’ll find that it’s becoming harder to get. That’s because it’s harmful to the environment and is no longer in production. Although it’s still possible to get a recharge for your R-22 AC, it’s going to get progressively more expensive as time goes on and your equipment gets older.

Even systems using newer refrigerants like R-410A will soon begin experiencing this issue. That’s because the US government is working on phasing them out in the coming years. As a result, newer AC systems are beginning to use refrigerants like R-32 and R-454B. So, to avoid rising repair and maintenance costs for your R-22 or R410A AC systems, a timely replacement makes sense.

2. Your AC Is 20 Years Old or Older

If your home’s AC is 20 years old or older, it may be time to consider replacing it. On average, you can expect a well-maintained AC to give you a maximum of 15 years of reliable service. If yours has already reached 20 or beyond, you’ve already gotten your money’s worth. If you hold on to an old system, the odds of it needing expensive repairs will only increase. In some cases, you could experience a system breakdown at an inopportune time. To avoid this, it’s better to plan for a replacement at a convenient time.

3. Your AC Is Inefficient

Air conditioning technology has come a long way in recent decades. So much so that new AC systems offer significant efficiency advantages over ones that are just a few years old. If your existing AC is costing you a small fortune to operate, a replacement may be a good idea. Today, even a minimally efficient new AC system will have a SEER rating of 15 or higher. If your AC is nearing 15 years old, it may have a SEER rating as low as 13. After years of wear and tear, odds are it’s even less efficient than that. For the average 3-ton AC system, even a boost from 13 to 15 SEER would represent up to a 21% efficiency boost.

4. You Need Frequent AC Repairs

Over their lifetime, it isn’t uncommon for even the best AC system to need a repair or two. If your AC begins needing unusually frequent repairs, it could be time for a replacement. Most ACs need frequent repairs when they’re in the final two years of their useful lives. So, if your AC needs more than one significant repair within a calendar year, this should tell you something. Your AC may be reaching the end of its life.

5. You’re Facing a Costly Repair

Whenever your AC breaks down, you have two major options. You can either repair your existing system or replace it. Unfortunately, since a new AC is relatively expensive, many people choose the repair option even when they shouldn’t. There’s a handy rule of thumb you can use to tell if an AC repair is worth it. It’s called the rule of 5,000. To use it, simply multiply the cost of the needed repair by the age of your AC. If the number you get is over 5,000, the repair probably isn’t worth it. The equation here compares the expected life expectancy of your AC with your repair costs. The older your AC gets, the less you should be willing to spend on a repair. Also, if your AC ever needs a repair that’s more than 50% of the cost of a new system, don’t do it. In that situation, the extended lifespan of a brand-new system is more than worth the price difference.

6. Your Home Isn’t Comfortable Anymore

There is one situation that may make a new AC a good idea, even if your existing one still works. If your existing AC simply isn’t making your home comfortable anymore, it’s time to explore new options. This issue can happen for a variety of reasons. One is simple wear and tear. Over time, the components that make your AC work may be less performant than they once were. Another reason is changing demand. Today, most homeowners lean on their AC systems more than ever before. Some of that is due to rising temperatures, and some is due to changing lifestyles and habits. Either way, the result is the same. You could end up with an AC that works, but no longer meets your comfort needs. In that case, a new AC is likely your best solution.

7. You Want Additional AC Features

Finally, you may want an AC replacement to take advantage of some of the great features new AC equipment has to offer. For example, you can purchase a new AC with variable-speed fans and compressors. Not only does that reduce the energy usage of the AC, but it will improve your comfort, too. Variable-speed ACs run at full capacity to reach the temperature you’ve set. Then, they slow down to maintain your home’s temperature, running at as little as 25% of peak capacity. That reduces temperature fluctuations in your home and reduces the hot and cold spots older ACs produce.

You may also want to consider switching your home to a heat pump to meet its heating and cooling needs. They’re far more efficient than conventional AC and heating systems. Plus, they share a form factor with conventional ACs. That means you can usually swap a new heat pump for your existing AC with a few modifications. That would give your home an instant comfort and efficiency upgrade you’ll benefit from. Plus, heat pumps make the perfect complement for rooftop solar, which we can also help you with.

Your Local Air Conditioning Team

Since 2009, Loves Air has offered affordable, quality HVAC services throughout Salida. That includes installing new AC systems. We also offer HVAC maintenance and repair. Plus, we handle whole-house fans, solar power systems, thermostats, water heaters, ductwork, and windows, too. All our HVAC technicians are NATE-certified, and we’re a RUUD Pro Partner. If that’s not enough, we’re Better Business Bureau-accredited with an A+ rating, too.

If your Salida home needs a new AC, call our team of experts at Loves Air today!

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