AC Replacement FAQ
When is it best to replace my AC instead of repair it?
While this question doesn’t really have a black or white answer, we tend to tell our clients to weigh the costs of repairs versus the costs of replacing their AC unit. If you have a unit that is relatively new (five years or fewer in age), and it requires moderately serious repairs, then it may be worth it to repair instead of replace the unit. If, however, you have an older unit (perhaps eight years old or older), that needs serious, costly repairs, then it’s best to replace the unit entirely — you’ll save more money in the long run, and your new unit will operate more efficiently.
How long do air conditioners tend to last?
Depending on the model, its use, and how well it is treated by Mother Nature, your air conditioner could last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. If you’re striving to improve the longevity of your AC unit, it’s best to ensure that it is maintained regularly. Schedule maintenance for your air conditioner system at the very least once per year. We recommend a maintenance appointment when you turn your AC on for the first time during the year, and during peak AC use, at the least.
What can I do to ensure that my air conditioner lasts as long as possible?
Again, maintenance is the key to AC unit longevity. Make sure that your evaporator coil never freezes over. Have your fan motors checked and oiled. Keep your air filter swapped out regularly. And clean your exterior AC unit delicately to keep air flowing through the unit.
What size air conditioner do I need for my home?
For folks here in Texas, the we live in one of the hottest climates in America. That’s why it’s recommended that we utilize larger AC units to cool our homes. With a larger unit, your AC won’t have to work as hard to keep your house cool, which means that it won’t wear down its components as quickly — and that means that you’ll have to replace your AC unit less often. AC units are measured in tons — a rating of the amount of hot air that they remove from a home, not the unit weight. Here’s a list of common AC unit sizes, and the amount of home space that they are proficient to cool:
- 1.5-ton unit: 600 to 900 square foot home
- 2-ton unit: 901 to 1,200 square foot home
- 2.5-ton unit: 1,201 to 1500 square foot home
- 3-ton unit: 1,501 to 1,800 square foot home
- 3.5-ton unit: 1,801 to 2,100 square foot home
- 4-ton unit: 2,101 to 2,400 square foot home
- 5-ton unit: 2,401 to 3,000 square foot home
My air conditioner runs all day, do I need a new one?
Maybe. While your air conditioner shouldn’t run all day (it should only click on about two or three times in an hour, for 10 to 15 minutes per cooling cycle), it may not be broken if it is running constantly. That said, an ever-running air conditioner is a red flag that you have a problem. You may have any number of issues that are causing your AC unit to work overtime, including all of the following:
- A broken fan: Your fans move air into your home, and keep the coils of your AC unit operational. If your fans aren’t operational, then your AC unit may not have the cooling power that it needs. Fortunately, fixing a fan is a relatively easy repair, and it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to replace your AC unit if you have a broken fan.
- A broken compressor: Your AC unit’s compressor is responsible for condensing the refrigerant so that it can be utilized to absorb heat from the air. If your compressor breaks, then your air conditioner won’t be doing much cooling. Compressors are expensive and difficult to replace, so it’s likely best that you replace the unit entirely.
- Poor ventilation into the home: If you have a ventilation problem, then it’s time to take a look at your ductwork. You may have ducts that are poorly installed, or you may have ducts that are dirty or blocked. Ventilation problems are often a simple fix, and you won’t have to replace your AC unit.
- A clogged air filter: Your air filter may be a small proponent of your AC system, but it serves an essential purpose — it keeps your home air clean. That said, a filter can get clogged over time, as dust particles cling to the surface of the filter. If you let your filter get too dirty, it can restrict the airflow of the AC system, which means that your house won’t get cool, and your evaporator coil will likely freeze over. Replacing a clogged air filter is one of the easiest and least costly fixes on this list.
- Poor home efficiency: You may simply have a home that is poorly insulated. If you’ve always had a problem with keeping your home cool, then it may be time to have a temperature audit of your home to see where all that cool air is escaping.
- An undersized AC unit: Is your AC unit big enough to handle the spaces of your home? As we mentioned, the heat here in Texas means that you’ll have to upgrade the size of your AC unit to cool your home efficiently. Take a look at your unit, as well as our guidelines for AC unit size above, and see if your AC unit is up to par.
- A dirty evaporator coil: Your evaporator coil can get dirty over time, which will reduce the amount of heat that the coil pulls from the air. When that happens, your air conditioner won’t be producing enough cool air for your home, and it may eventually cause the coil to freeze, since your AC unit will continuously try to keep up with the cooling demands of your thermostat. It’s best to keep your evaporator coil clean to maintain an efficient cooling system.