“Is it time for an AC replacement?” It’s a daunting question for many customers. After all, air conditioning units aren’t cheap. They’re an investment that should never be made hastily, but when the AC goes out and you’re sweating through the Florida heat, you don’t always feel like you have the time to consider what option is best.
That’s why we recommend anyone who owns an AC unit to take the time to read our latest post about AC Replacement—because it’s better to be proactive than reactive. Best Home Services is dedicated to helping you make the right decisions for you, which includes considering several pros and cons before deciding whether to repair or replace your AC unit.
Money isn’t the only factor in determining whether it’s best to replace or repair your air conditioning. There is also life expectancy, energy savings and local regulations. Below are several questions you should investigate before you make your decision.
What is the Life Expectancy of My AC Unit?
In cooler environments, your AC can last upwards of 15 years. However, when you live in Florida, the climate’s intense heat takes a toll on your system. Thanks to our year-round summer heat, Florida homeowners find that their AC unit has to work harder and longer to maintain comfortable temperatures within their homes. This causes additional stress on the unit, thus giving it a shorter lifespan compared to units located in more temperate geographical locations.
So how long should your air conditioning system last if you live in the Sunshine State? According to the International Association of Certified Home inspectors, the average life expectancy of an air conditioning unit in Florida is between 5 to 7 years. Of course, yours could last longer if it’s a quality model, properly installed and well maintained throughout its lifespan. Regular care can be done through at-home maintenance and scheduling annual maintenance visits.
Annual professional air conditioner maintenance paired with your routine do-it-yourself maintenance can go a long way in extending the life of your AC unit. Click here to learn about ways you can maintain your AC unit, including replacing your air filters, keeping your condensate drains clean and clear and caring for your AC coils.
What Can Decrease the Lifespan of My AC Unit?
This is an important question, especially if you are unfamiliar with how your air conditioning system works. Every day we come across house calls for AC repair or replacement in Naples, Sarasota, Fort Myers and other service areas where the cause of the problem could have been remedied by proper maintenance. One of the most common mistakes is not changing your air filter every 1 to 3 months.
Air filters are one of the easiest things to replace, and also one of the more important parts of your air conditioning system. When an air filter gets clogged, it reduces the airflow, forcing your system to work harder.
This can lead to your coil freezing, which can seriously damage your AC unit and reduce its lifespan. Not to mention the repairs can be costly! In many cases, we’ve actually had to replace a unit due to the extent of the damages.
Other common AC killing culprits include:
- Constantly running your unit by changing temperatures frequently. Hey, you don’t like to work 24/7. Neither does your AC unit. Try not to drastically change the temperature every time you leave the house. What you may think is saving you on your energy bill may actually be forcing your system to work harder in order to drop back down to your preferred temperature. Instead, try to stay in a relatively small temperature range, and allow your system to maintain it.
- Ice buildup produced by trying to cool a home too quickly on a hot day, or placing an oversized unit in a small space, can quickly lead to pricey repair, or even a complete AC unit replacement.
- Neglecting Annual Maintenance. We can’t stress enough how important annual maintenance is to your air conditioning system. We don’t just say this because we are in the business of air conditioning maintenance, replacement and repair. Just like you have to maintain your car every few thousand miles, your AC unit needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Parts wear out, break and need replacing. Being proactive and addressing worn parts before they become a problem will save you money and extend the life of your unit.
What Should I Do if My AC Unit is Old, but Working Fine?
If your AC unit is old, but in good working order, there is no need to panic. However, it is important to consider upgrading to a newer model now and not when something goes wrong. Look at AC rebates and financing options to see what it would cost to get a newer AC unit. If you need to save, start now. It’s always good to be prepared for when your system does expire.
If your air conditioning is reaching the end of its lifespan, chances are high that it is costing you more to operate than it would if you bought a newer model. These days, AC units are far more energy efficient, which can save you quite a bit on your monthly bills. Look into your options and start asking questions while your unit is still in good health so you don’t find yourself making a rushed decision. After doing some research, we bet you’ll find that the long term benefits are often worth investing in an upgrade before something goes wrong.
Is an Energy Saving Model Worth the Upgrade?
You’ve heard the phrase “energy efficient,” but what does that really mean to you? For some, simply the ethics behind going green can be worthwhile enough to upgrade your AC to a newer, better model.
However, some customers need more convincing. After all, getting a new air conditioning system is no small purchase. What if we told you that your monthly energy bill would go down? It certainly doesn’t sound like a bad deal, but most customers need numbers to back up that claim. Just how big of a difference can an energy efficient unit make? Would I only be saving a couple dollars? Or is it a substantial difference?
That depends on just how old your unit is, and the quality of the unit you choose to replace it. Start by knowing your Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). Currently, the SEER rating can range between 1 and 23. The higher the rating, the better the energy efficiency. If your SEER rating is 10 or below, you could save close to 80% in energy consumed by your heating and air unit simply by upgrading to a newer model.
Heating and air typically consumes the bulk of your energy usage, so if you’re low on the SEER scale the short answer on how much you can safe? Enough to make it worth upgrading an old system a little early.
Am I abiding by my local air conditioning regulations?
Did you know there are certain regulations for Florida residents regarding the type of air conditioning system you use? In an effort to conserve energy consumption across the state, standards were set in place. This isn’t an optional initiative, but a specific regulation Florida homeowners must abide by when installing a new AC unit. In 2012, Florida enacted an energy code that requires permits from applicable government agencies in order to replace the unit. The statute, stated in Section 553.912, is as follows:
“Air conditioners. – All air conditioners that are sold or installed in the state shall meet the minimum efficiency ratings of the Florida Energy Efficiency Code for Building Construction. These efficiency ratings shall be minimums and may be updated in the Florida Energy Efficiency Code for Building Construction by the department in accordance with s. 553.901, following its determination that more cost-effective energy-saving equipment and techniques are available. It is the intent of the Legislature that all replacement air-conditioning systems be installed using energy-saving, quality installation procedures, including, but not limited to, equipment sizing analysis and duct inspection.”
What does this mean for you? It means that prior to your purchase and install of a replacement AC unit, your contractor must validate that the unit is the proper size and meets the right energy efficiency. HVAC professionals like Best Home Services help you with this process, as well as match you with the proper unit that will align with today’s regulations. We currently provide air conditioning repair and replacement services in multiple southwest Florida counties, including Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee.
Keep in mind that there are often rebates available for certain upgrades, as well as financing options that can help make your purchase affordable, without compromising on quality. Simply call us or chat with one of our representatives via our chat feature in the bottom left corner of the page in order to review your options.
How diligent have I been with my AC Maintenance?
Have you been taking care of your air conditioning unit over the years? If not, there are most likely multiple signs of wear and tear that are having a direct impact on the performance of your system. This will lead to major problems, some of which may be too costly to fix. Think of it like driving a car without ever changing the oil. The longer you run it beyond the point of proper maintenance, the more your system will start to break down.
If you don’t remember the last time your AC unit received a maintenance check-up, start by scheduling one today. This will help you evaluate the state of your system and determine whether it is healthy enough to fix, or if it’s better to simply replace the unit.
An AC Maintenance visit includes multiple check-up procedures, including:
- Inspect your thermostat to validate that the communication is properly calibrated between the unit and the homeowner’s settings
- Clean up and tighten any connections that may be loose
- Oil the motor
- Inspect the unit’s belts for tightness or signs of wear and tear
- Apply nonconductive coatings to connections that need it
- Make sure electric terminals are in working order
- Inspect your electric control sequence to make sure your heating and cooling will not operate at the same time as one another
- Measure the airflow of your evaporator coil
- Inspect for duct leakages and seal any that are present
- Properly remove and dispose of any contaminated refrigerant
- Check your current refrigerant levels to make sure it’s properly balanced
- Test for any refrigerant leaks
Keep in mind that not all HVAC contractors are the same! It’s important to do your research and hire a knowledgeable professional that is both licensed and certified to do the job. If you don’t know how to screen your options, make sure you ask these questions:
- What are current and past customers saying about their service? This should always be one of the first things you check. Genuine testimonies will tell you a lot about a company. Look for the overall trend. Is it positive or negative? For any negative reviews, see how the business responds to them. A good air conditioning company will make customer service a priority by reaching out and trying to remedy any customer concerns.
- Are their technicians trained and certified? Look for confirmation that the HVAC technicians employed are well-trained and qualified to get the job done properly. The company you hire should be state licensed and insured. Look for EPA and NATE certifications, such as those held by Best Home Services.
- Have they been recognized in their area as a reputable company? Award winning service doesn’t go unrecognized. See what their community is saying about the company through awards and recognition.
- What is their BBB rating? The Better Business Bureau is dedicated to notifying consumers of the trustworthiness and dependability of a business. Check their website to see what their business rating is and whether or not they are accredited.
We invite you to put Best Home Services to the test. With live representatives, flexible scheduling, friendly staff, and up-front and honest pricing, we go the extra mile to make sure our customers are satisfied with the services we provide.
We offer annual maintenance plans and can help you determine the health of your AC unit, and whether AC repair or AC replacement is the best option. Unlike some of our competitors, we won’t nickel and dime our clients. Instead, our ethical code requires us to do what’s best for you—not our pockets. You will always come first. That’s what allows us to call ourselves the “Best” home services in Southwest Florida.
What if I recently bought a home and don’t know the history of my AC unit?
Homebuyers often neglect to ask about the health and history of an air conditioning unit prior to buying a home. Yet it’s an essential question that individuals on the market should be asking before they make their purchase! After all, your AC is a big ticket item.
Always request an inspection before buying! If you haven’t done so and have already purchased your home, make sure you schedule a maintenance call to ensure your AC unit is in working order. It’s much cheaper than calling in a repair when something does go wrong.
Repair or Replacement?
We answered a lot of questions on AC Repair and AC replacement, but this list certainly doesn’t cover them all! If you have a question about your unit, need a service call, or can’t decide whether you should repair or replace your air conditioning, reach out to Best Home Services today!
We will be happy to discuss with you any questions, concerns, or needs you may have and work hard to narrow down the best solution for you.