- Energy consumption is up. If your electric bills are rising for no apparent reason, your cooling system may be aging. Over time, the parts inside the air conditioner wear out. As they do, they use electricity less efficiently, driving up energy bills. One of the best ways to prevent reduced performance over time is to have your appliance serviced by a trusted HVAC technician who can evaluate the condition of its components. Annual maintenance also extends the life span of a central cooling system because the parts are kept clean and adjusted.
- The A/C is over 10 years old. Today’s cooling systems offer better efficiency than older equipment. If you need a repair, the money you put into it might be better spent if you devote it to an entirely new system, especially if yours uses R-22 refrigerant. This refrigerant is being phased out and the cost of recharging it will continue to go up.
- High indoor humidity. Although humidity removal is a side benefit of most air conditioners, the humidity level can predict air conditioner life span. Generally, systems that are too large don’t remove as much humidity because they run for shorter periods than one that’s properly sized. The water vapor in your home condenses when it passes over the cold evaporator coil inside the air handler. A system that’s too large won’t run long enough for much of your home’s air to pass over the coil, resulting in higher humidity. It also won’t last as long, since frequent starts and stops put a strain on all its parts and increase energy consumption.
In our hot and humid climate, it’s important to know the likely life span of your air conditioner so you can plan ahead for its replacement if it begins to fail. It’s the one appliance that delivers the cooled air that makes summers habitable. These mechanical symptoms can help you estimate your system’s health: