Summer is already right around the corner, and for many homeowners that means running the air conditioner or heat pump around the clock to stay ahead of the climbing temperatures. These tools are amazing at keeping things cool, but after a while, they too can get worn out and need replacing. So how can you tell if its time to retire your current unit?
Efficiency is everything
Many people believe that if the unit is working, it’s still doing its job, but with HVAC systems, this isn’t always true. Efficiency is really everything and a heat pump or A/C that is slipping in this department may be on its way out. Older units may still cool just as well as they always did, and regular maintenance can ensure they live longer lives, but as parts start to wear, efficiency may begin to lag behind.
You’ll notice it in the little things, like the amount of electricity your unit is using to cool your home compared to the same month a few years prior. Of course weather patterns need to be accounted for, but if your unit is using more energy year after year it is beginning to show its age.
Your utility bill is a great place to go for this information, but you can also gauge how efficient your unit is by checking data from your smart thermostat as well. The longer you’ve had the thermostat, the more data it will have collected about all sorts of things, including the weather outside your home.
Some units simply become obsolete
Although efficiency is really important to your HVAC wellness, another issue is at play when trying to determine id your unit is ready to be replaced: it’s become obsolete. Older air conditioners and heat pumps may have parts that are difficult or impossible to locate from distributors, driving up prices or making repairs untenable.
On the other hand, your parts may be just fine, but your coolant may not be. For example, if you have a slow leak that’s repairable, you’d need to replace the coolant that had escaped, with more of the original coolant. Many older units still contain coolants that are no longer manufactured or legal to sell, and your options are very few when it comes to changing the coolant in one of these units.
As long as your coolant is going strong, there’s no issue, but as soon as there is, even a well-functioning older unit may become completely useless. It’s not that your unit is worn-out, as such, but when you can’t get the coolant you need, and the potential for retrofitting to something more modern is a costly one, it really only makes sense to upgrade.
Not sure if your unit is throwing in the towel?
If you’re still not certain if it’s time to upgrade your air conditioner or heat pump, it makes sense to have a professional check it out. They can answer many questions you may have about the unit’s longevity and efficiency, as well as environmental impact and help you decide if its time to retire the unit or keep it in service a while longer. Sometimes, all an air conditioner needs is a good checkup and cleaning to go back to running at it’s best, after all.
If you need a HVAC professional you can trust, call the real estate resources you can trust. Give US a call and we can give you a recommendation for the best HVAC pros in the area. They can give you an idea about costs and what your future options are for your home’s climate control. If you have more specific goals like improving your energy efficiency, they can help you balance that with the cost of acquisition as well.