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How to Know Your AC Unit Needs Replacement

Glendora, CA residents know that while the area is known for its relatively mild winters, summer is a different story. While there are plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun, staying cool at home isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

When the family’s air conditioner is on the fritz, the situation can go from bad to worse surprisingly fast. Homeowners shouldn’t wait until their AC units stop functioning completely to have them replaced. Instead, they should keep an eye and an ear out for the following signs so they know when it’s time to call an expert to schedule an AC replacement.

1- The Unit Is Blowing Warm Air

Air conditioners aren’t just fancy fans. When the ambient temperatures start to rise, they’re supposed to continue circulating refreshingly cool air throughout the home. If instead, the fan is just circulating the same warm, stale air, there are multiple underlying problems that could act as contributing factors.

Low freon levels and broken air compressors are the two most frequent culprits. In some cases, a quick AC repair or refrigerant refill may be all that’s required to get the unit working as intended again. However, if the repairs required to restore the normal flow of ice-cold air are extensive, it may make more sense to replace your AC.

2- Insufficient Airflow

Sometimes, older air conditioning units continue to blow out cool air, but the airflow is so weak that it has little impact on indoor temperatures. A weak airflow usually indicates either a failing compressor or an issue with the ducts.

The best way to tackle airflow issues is to contact an HVAC expert immediately. He or she will inspect the unit and the ducts, determine what’s wrong, and recommend the best course of action. In some cases, duct repairs or a quick tune-up will restore normal airflow. In others, the AC unit itself is to blame for the lack of air and may need to be replaced.

3- Thermostat Malfunctions

An air conditioner’s thermostat is its command center. It allows users to communicate with the AC unit, letting it know how much cold air it will need to generate to keep temperatures at an optimal level. The thermostat also measures ambient temperatures in the home to ensure that the unit is operating at maximum efficiency.

When a thermostat starts to malfunction, it makes it impossible to maintain comfortable temperatures, even when the rest of the system is working exactly as intended. One of the most common signs of thermostat malfunctions is constant cycling, in which the unit runs for short periods of time then shuts itself off, only to turn back on again almost immediately.

Other issues that can indicate thermostat issues include air conditioners that won’t turn on when the temperature rises above the family’s pre-set preference and inconsistent cooling in some zones of the house. In most cases, the thermostat can be replaced without having to install an entirely new air conditioner. However, if the unit is extremely old, it may be worth considering replacing both the thermostat and the AC at the same time.

4- Unusual Sounds

Air conditioners aren’t completely silent, but most people know what to expect in terms of noise coming from their units. If it starts producing new, unusual sounds out of nowhere, that’s a sure sign of trouble to come. Many homeowners report hearing loud grinding, rattling, squealing, or banging noises just before their AC units fail.

The best thing to do when an AC unit starts making unusual sounds is to turn it off immediately and call an HVAC company. These noises typically reflect serious underlying issues like broken motor bearings or belts that have slipped out of place. If they’ve been going on for a while and no one has thought to turn off the AC unit, there’s a very good chance that the damage has already been done and it will need to be replaced.

5- Freon or Water Leaks

Any kind of visible moisture leaking from an AC system should be considered cause for concern. In many cases, the moisture is simply a sign that the condensation tube is broken or blocked. However, older air conditioners contain a refrigerant known as freon. This toxic chemical can pose a serious danger to residents’ health, so contact an HVAC tech immediately if the leaked fluid has a sweet aroma.

Whether the unit is leaking freon or water, the problem will need to be resolved before residents can go back to using their air conditioning systems. If there’s a water leak on a newer model AC, it may be worth repairing the condensation tube. If the unit is leaking refrigerant, there’s little that can be done aside from replacing it entirely.

6- Unexpectedly High Bills

As air conditioners age, they experience drops in efficiency that can lead to unexpectedly high electricity bills. Even if the AC unit seems to be functioning as intended, it’s worth replacing it now if its efficiency is way down from last year.

Try to think back on what the weather was like exactly one year ago. If the temperatures were similar, but the family’s bills were significantly lower, there’s a good chance the AC unit isn’t as efficient as it should be. Contact an HVAC technician to discuss more energy-efficient options and schedule a good time for an AC replacement.

7- The Last Unit Was Installed Prior to 2010

The average air conditioning system can be expected to last around 10 to 15 years. However, those installed before 2010 use R-22, or HCFC-22, refrigerant. The EPA is currently phasing out R-22, driving its price higher. It makes more sense to replace the unit now than it does to pay exorbitant prices for routine refrigerant refills.

Trust the Experts

The experts at Accurate Electric, Plumbing, Heating, and Air have been providing home services to clients across the Glendora area for two decades. These industry leaders have all the knowledge required to help homeowners find the best options for keeping their families cool, no matter what surprises Mother Nature has up her sleeve. The company’s owner is so confident in its employees that he even offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose. Call (800) 947-1747 to request a quote today.