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How to Determine It’s Time for AC Replacement

How to Determine It's Time for AC Replacement

At Monarch Home Services, we’re trusted for high-quality AC replacement throughout the San Joaquin Valley. But how do you know it’s time to replace your air conditioner rather than schedule another repair? We’ll look at the top factors in determining whether to install a new system.

Age of Your Air Conditioner

An AC that’s over 10 years old may still work fine. Some air conditioners can last 15 or 20 years if they’re maintained properly. But the older an AC, the less efficient it is and the more likely it’ll need major repairs (increasing the cost of ownership). So, if your AC is over a decade old, consider replacing it before a breakdown occurs.

What Kind of Repair It Needs

Minor repairs aren’t uncommon with older air conditioners. Any unit may need a drain line unclogged or a fan belt replaced. Replacing a capacitor is a simple and affordable repair. But if the compressor burns out or a coil must be replaced, fixing the unit will be expensive. 

Think about how frequently your AC has needed repairs lately. Also, consider the costs. If a repair estimate is over 50% of the value of a new system, AC replacement makes more sense. Or, if multiplying the repair cost by the unit’s age gives you a result of over $5,000, consider replacing the system.

How Efficient the Unit Is

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating system was updated in 2023 to SEER2. In Central California, all new ACs must have a SEER2 rating of at least 14.3, which is equivalent to 15 SEER with the old system. A 10 or 12 SEER unit from 15 years ago won’t meet today’s efficiency standards, especially if you’re looking to save on your utility bills (an old unit may also operate at half the efficiency it once did).

If this seems a bit technical, just check your energy bill. Is it increasing each month not accounting for seasonal variations or increased usage? Your old air conditioner may be the reason.

You’ve Kept Up With (Or Neglected) Maintenance

We recommend scheduling routine AC maintenance every year. It includes inspections, tune-ups, and minor repairs. You should also maintain your AC system by changing the filter every 1 to 3 months and clearing leaves and debris around the outdoor unit. Neglecting DIY and professional maintenance can shorten your air conditioner’s life by several years. If you’ve skipped maintenance and your AC is declining in performance, it’s time to consider AC replacement.

Your AC Still Uses R-22 Refrigerant (Freon)

Freon was officially phased out in 2020. Not only are new air conditioners incompatible with it (they use more eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant). Freon is no longer being produced and is more difficult and expensive to find. If your old AC develops a refrigerant leak, obtaining recycled R-22 can be quite costly.  

Your AC Equipment Is Matched/Mismatched

If the outdoor or indoor unit was replaced separately at any point, they may have been mismatched. Running mismatched equipment reduces efficiency, increases repair costs, and can shorten the system’s lifespan. It also voids the new component’s warranty. Therefore, if your system is mismatched, planning for AC replacement sooner can help save money.

Think About Your Comfort Level

Were you comfortable before the issue that required calling for AC repair? If, in general, the system has been struggling to keep your home cool, it may be near the end of its life. Poor dehumidification, dusty air, and increased allergy symptoms are also signs of trouble.

You’re Remodeling Your Home

Any additions to your home or changes to its layout will alter how air circulates. Your home may also need increased cooling capacity. Even if you’re just tearing down a wall or two, determine if it may cause cooling, humidity, or indoor air quality issues or impact system efficiency. Replacing your AC can avoid such impacts.

New AC Options May Provide Opportunities to Save

Two-stage and variable-speed AC systems are technological innovations that adapt to the level of demand. A variable-speed air conditioner can operate at a fraction of total capacity (30%, 40%, 60%, etc.) to save energy, yet provide the exact amount of cooling needed. 

Smart thermostats can adjust to your schedule. They can be controlled using your smartphone. Some even set the temperature automatically when you leave or return.

Rebates and other financial incentives may be available when purchasing a high-efficiency AC system. Check with your local HVAC installer, a manufacturer, a power company, or your local government. Rebates and incentives can reduce the cost of your purchase by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, making AC replacement more affordable.

Call Monarch Home Services for Professional AC Replacement

Our certified AC replacement and installation professionals are experienced with all the top brands. We’ll help you choose a new system for your Bakersfield, Fresno, or Visalia home by calculating load capacity and performing an airflow analysis. Our technicians also help with ductwork design and can provide necessary electrical upgrades. To schedule AC replacement, receive a quote, and learn about equipment and financing options, call (661) 215-6737 today.

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