An air conditioner is a delightful appliance. It would take the air conditioner only a few minutes to get the environment cool and comfortable. Aircons are sturdy and built to last. A well-maintained air conditioner should easily last about eight to ten years.
Your AC may be working reasonably well, but the quintessential question is – when to replace it?
Here’s what you should consider while deciding to replace your old faithful air conditioner.
- Frequent breakdowns: As the aircon ages, the wear and tear cause parts to start failing. One day it might be a refrigerant leak while another day it could be the worst – a failed compressor.
Getting an air conditioner repaired is an expensive affair because the system needs to be dismantled and transported to the service center. There are a lot of costs – the cost of dismantling, cleaning, transportation, repair, part replacement, reinstallation, and finally, gas recharge. The repair cost would easily be in the hundreds of dollars.
If such expensive breakdowns become frequent, say once in a year, or so, you may consider exploring the latest products available in the market.
- Increased electricity bill: With air conditioners, electricity bills are a double-whammy. An aircon loses its efficiency over the years and consumes more energy to cool your surroundings.
At the same time, the cost of electricity would increase. We’re looking at a time frame of eight to ten years. Cost of power in the United States has increased by about 10% in the last ten years.
To add to that, over these years, advancement in technology would make a newer AC much more power-efficient. When the utility bill starts to hurt your pocket, it is a clear sign that your AC wouldn’t be on that wall for long.
- Renovation: We all love to see renovated homes with new furnishings. If the area of the room where the AC is to be mounted has increased, it will become a case of an undersized aircon. Inadequate capacity has inherent disadvantages – low cooling and high energy consumption.
We are assuming that you would have spent a lot of money to get your home a new look and feel. You should also consider replacing the air conditioners.
Repair or replace?
This is a topic of debate, and people have varying opinions. For those in favor of repair, it is our opinion that an aircon should be replaced when your technician tells you that the compressor has started failing. The compressor is the heart of the aircon, and if it works well, you can get your unit repaired.
There are multiple arguments in favor of replacement –
- Decreased energy consumption: Energy efficiency requirements and technological advancements make a massive impact on efficiency (EER / SEER). You would save hundreds of dollars in electricity bills annually. If your old aircon is not an inverter-based unit, your savings would be even higher, assuming you buy a star-rated inverter AC.
- Reduced hassle: Hardly anyone would want aircon repair to be on a half-year checklist. A new air conditioner wouldn’t give you any problems for the first five years. If you are among the unlucky ones, the warranty will take care of the cost of repairs.
- Convenience: AC manufacturers have a long list of features right from customized airflow to sleep tracking. One area that makes modern aircons wonderful is connectivity. The home is evolving into a smart and connected home. You could buy an aircon that could be controlled through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or even voice. All you need to speak is, “Hey Alexa, turn on the air conditioner.” If your aircon does not support these features, there are ample options to have a smart socket or a switch to retrofit a smart solution.
- Go green: This is an area that should be on the top of the agenda. Aircons require refrigerants called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These gases deplete the ozone layer. See the Global Cooling prize details to lower the temperature for global warming. Older aircons use gases with a higher Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). If people replace their systems with newer units, they will save a lot of carbon emission due to reduced energy consumption and protect the environment due to more modern refrigerants with low ODP.
Type of air conditioning systems
While the type of air conditioning system demands equal attention, we have placed it at the end so you could learn about the factors you must consider.
We have a dedicated article on types of air conditioning systems, but we’ll sum it up here.
Most homes use one of the three types of aircons
- Window AC
- Single Unit Split AC
- Multiple Unit Split AC
Window AC is a standalone unit and hardly requires too much attention. All you need to know is the dimension of your window, and you should be good to go shopping.
Single unit split AC uses an indoor unit (evaporator) that has a dedicated outdoor unit (condenser). The complete system would need to be replaced if you decide to purchase a brand-new AC. Even if you have the option of replacing one unit, do not go for it. As the systems age, it gets harder to find replacement parts.
Multiple units split AC uses a single outdoor unit (condenser) for multiple indoor units (evaporator). Basis the size of your house and the requirement, there may be as many as five indoor units connected to one outdoor unit.
In this case, the decision to purchase a new air conditioner becomes tougher because units do not fail simultaneously. You may have some indoor units working very well because of lower use and proper maintenance, while the compressor of the system may be struggling to drive those units. The repair vs. replace debate becomes intense here because the replacement cost is very high.
In this case, you could go for a compressor replacement, if the cost of a brand-new system is not justified.
We hope you now have a deep understanding of when to replace an air conditioner. Go through our other interesting articles for even more detail.
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