When Should an AC Unit Be Replaced: Top 8 Signs

Like most things, your AC unit won’t last forever. However, figuring out when you should have an AC unit replaced isn’t always easy. That’s why the air conditioning experts at Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling put together a brief guide to teach you when it’s time to replace an AC unit.

Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling is one of the most trusted heating and cooling companies in Overland Park, KS. Our HVAC technicians have extensive experience repairing, maintaining, and installing air conditioners from the industry’s top brands. If you need experienced air conditioner repair technicians in Overland Park, KS, contact Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling.

When Should an AC Unit Be Replaced?

An air conditioner’s life expectancy ranges from ten to 15 years, depending on how well you maintain the system. Although a well-maintained AC unit can last more than 15 years, you want to start considering a replacement once it hits the ten-year mark.

However, faulty and failing air conditioners typically show a few signs before giving out entirely. You can avoid getting stuck without an AC system and replace the unit before it kicks the bucket if you know what to look for.

Signs of a Failing or Faulty Air Conditioner

Limited Airflow or Lack of Cool Air

One of the most evident signs of a failing air conditioner is the lack of cool air. Your air conditioner produces cool air and distributes it throughout your home when it functions correctly. However, if your AC system stops creating chilled air, it may have a refrigerant leak, clogged ductwork/piping, or a significant internal issue.

Unaddressed refrigerant leaks can take a toll on our AC system and cause more substantial issues if you don’t repair it swiftly. It’s best to contact a heating and cooling company for immediate repairs if you believe your AC unit has a refrigerant leak. A technician will patch the leak or help you install a new unit if necessary.

The technician will also unclog your ductwork or piping to ensure optimal airflow.

Strange Noises Stemming from the System

Although most air conditioning units make minimal noise while operating, strange or unusual sounds often indicate a problem. Grinding and squealing noises usually signify a compressor issue, while chattering or rattling sounds suggest a loose internal mechanism. You must address these sounds swiftly before they cause more significant and costly problems.

Your HVAC technician will help you determine the source of these usual sounds and advise how to move forward.

The Air Conditioner Emits a Foul-Smelling Odor

Air conditioners produce clean, neutral-smelling air that homeowners shouldn’t notice. When they start breaking down, they sometimes emit foul-smelling odors. The unusual smell can indicate various issues ranging from a fried circuit board to hazardous gas leaks.

If you smell any of the following, contact a heating and cooling specialist for immediate repair.

  • Burning
  • Gunpower odors
  • Rotten eggs
  • Exhaust fumes
  • Chemical smells
  • Mold or musty odors
  • Gas
  • Sulfur

Sulfur, gas, and rotten egg smells often indicate a gas leak that could put you and your family’s health in jeopardy. Some manufacturers add these odors to alert homeowners of severe gas-related issues. You must evacuate your home, turn off your gas supply, and contact an air conditioning specialist as soon as possible if you notice these odors.

Although gas, sulfur, and rotten egg-like odors don’t always signify a gas leak, it’s best to treat it as such until you uncover the cause.

Decreased Energy Efficiency and Skyrocketing Utility Bills

If you notice a sudden increase in your monthly energy expenses, you may need to replace your air conditioner. Malfunctioning AC units have trouble keeping your home cool and require more energy to operate efficiently, increasing your energy bills. Upgrading to a newer, more efficient air conditioning system will decrease your monthly payments, keeping more money in your pockets.

If you want to upgrade your air conditioner, always check the unit’s SEER rating before committing to a specific system. SEER, also known as Season Energy Efficiency Ratio, is the rating system air conditioners use to measure efficiency. The higher the SEER rating, the better and more efficient the system.

Modern air conditioners must have at least a 13 SEER rating before entering the market. However, many older systems have single-digit SEER ratings. Try to find a newer unit with a high SEER rating that correlates with your financial means.

High Humidity Levels

Heating and cooling systems remove humidity within the air during the cooling process. High humidity levels often cause you to feel clammy and uncomfortable, especially during the hot summer season. If you notice your indoor air becoming more humid, it might be time to replace your air conditioner.

Puddling or Excess Moisture Around the Unit

Although most air conditioning systems create some moisture while functioning, puddling often indicates an overworked unit or leak. If you don’t fix the problem swiftly, it could lead to more significant issues that have several detrimental effects on your health.

Stagnant water is a haven for dangerous mold and mildew colonies that can quickly take hold of your air conditioner. If left unaddressed, the mold will infiltrate your indoor air and cause numerous health problems and respiratory issues.

Excess mold exposure often causes:

  • sneezing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • coughing
  • itchy eyes, throat, and nose
  • water eyes
  • dry or scaly skin
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • chest tightness

Contact a heating and cooling company once you notice excess moisture or puddling around your air conditioning unit.

The AC System Requires Frequent Repairs

Air conditioners shouldn’t require significant repairs until they reach ten years old. Although there is nothing wrong with a few tweaks and tune-ups every now and again, frequent repairs are a telltale sign of when you should replace an AC unit.

It’s often cheaper to replace your air conditioner than continually pay for repairs. Upgrading to a newer, more efficient system will ensure your home stays cool and comfortable while making your monthly energy costs more affordable.

Your Air Conditioner is Ten Years Old or Older

As stated before, most air conditioners last between ten to 15 years on average. Once your AC system hits ten years old, you want to consider replacing the unit as soon as possible.

Older air conditioners often lose efficiency with age, costing you more money to cool your home. They are also more prone to breaking down and aren’t as reliable as newer units. Upgrading to a new system will improve your efficiency, monthly energy expenses, and more.

If you don’t know your air conditioner’s age, contact a heating and cooling specialist for a system evaluation. They will inform you of your system’s age and provide expert advice on what air conditioners work best for your home.

Contact Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling for Professional Air Conditioning Services in Overland Park, KS

Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling is Overland Park, KS’s number one choice for air conditioning repair, maintenance, and installation services. Our team will help you determine when you should replace your AC unit and help you install it at a price that fits your budget. We have installed and maintained countless air conditioners across the greater Overland Park area, and we can do the same for you at a price you can afford.

Visit our blog for more tips or if you want to learn whether to turn your AC off or leave it on when you leave on vacation.

So when should an AC unit be replaced? If you think it’s time for a replacement, contact our team at Air Unlimited Heating & Cooling! Call us at (816) 286-7258 and schedule an inspection of your heating and cooling systems in and around Overland Park, MO.