“Wait, it’s October! Why should I worry about my air conditioning system when I’m getting ready to have the heating system on?”
First, it’s always a wise idea to pay attention to the AC in the fall in case you might need it again during a surprise hot day. But we’re not talking about air conditioning repair in Durham, NC specifically this time. You can always call us to take care of any repairs, and we urge you to act fast at the first sign of problems, no matter how late in the summer.
What we’re talking about here is making long-term plans with your air conditioner: thinking about the summers ahead and if your current AC system can handle them. Because fall is a less busy period for the HVAC service industry, it’s one of the best times to schedule a major job like replacing an old air conditioning system.
It starts with the age of the air conditioner
Do you know how old your AC is off the top of your head? You might if your house was new when you purchased it, because you almost certainly know how long you’ve owned the house. But if you inherited an older AC system when you moved in, you may not have a solid idea how long the cooling system has been there. It’s easy to check, however: look at the nameplate attached to the back of the outdoor unit. It should have a manufacturer’s date on it. If it doesn’t, write down the serial and model number and call us. We can tell you how old the system is.
The AC retirement age
If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, we suggest you have it replaced this fall. Once an air conditioner is older than 15 years, the risk of a major failure and higher cooling bills increases steeply. It’s best to get ahead of these problems and install a new system—one with better energy efficiency than the current one ever had.
An AC between 10 to 15 years is in a gray zone. You’ll have to look at other factors to help you with the choice to possibly replace it.
Cooling bills and repair costs
Check over your last few summers of electrical bills. Electrical costs always increase during summer because of the amount of power going to the air conditioner’s compressor. But if these costs are higher than the previous years, and not because of increased usage, then the AC may not be worth keeping around.
Check on how often you’ve had to pay professionals to repair the system over the past few years. Repairs more than once a year is too often. You can also use the “Rule of 5000” to determine if you’re paying too much for repairs. Multiply the age of the system by the repair costs. If the result is higher than $5,000, the repair isn’t worth it and you should schedule a replacement.