Off the top of your head, do you know how old your air conditioner is? It’s useful information to know because it can help you:
- figure out when you’ll need to start budgeting for a replacement
- determine whether you should repair or replace your AC if a costly repair comes up
According to the National Association of Homebuilders, an air conditioning unit will last 10 to 15 years on average, so once you start nearing the 10-year mark, it’s a good idea to start saving up.
HOW TO TELL HOW OLD YOUR AIR CONDITIONER IS
Whether you’re moving into a preexisting home or your memory has gone rusty, there are ways to determine how old your air conditioner is so that you can budget for a replacement appropriately.
1. Check the nameplate on the condenser.
The condenser is your air conditioner’s outdoor unit. Every condenser should have a nameplate, a label with key information about the unit, such as:
- Manufacture Date
- Serial Number
You want to look for the manufacture date, which is usually located in the upper right corner. If it’s not there, write down the brand, model, and serial number, and look them up online. With that information, you should be able to find the manufacture date or contact the manufacturer and get the date from them.
2. Go by the installation date.
Your AC will never be much older than the date it was installed in your home. If you’ve lost a record of your AC’s installation, you can try calling the company who installed the unit. They should have your information on file, and they may be able to tell you the installation date or the date of the transaction for the installation.
3. Go by the refrigerant.
Keep in mind that this will not give you an exact year, but it can give you a general idea of just how old your air conditioner is. On the outdoor unit’s nameplate, it may list the type of refrigerant that the air conditioner uses.
If you see “R-22” or “R-142b” listed on the nameplate, then you’ll know that your air conditioner was made prior to 2010. Why? As of January 1, 2021, manufacturers were prohibited by law from making any new equipment requiring either of those refrigerants. This was one of the phases of an ongoing phaseout of HCFCs.
As of January 1, 2020, these two refrigerants can no longer be produced or imported in the United States. Therefore, any air conditioning systems that rely on R-22 or R-142b can only be serviced with what shrinking supply remains, making these repairs increasingly expensive.