Air conditioners play an important role in interior spaces, but they come with lifespan limits. AC units need regular maintenance and/or timely replacement. The majority of air conditioners have the capacity to last between 15 and 20 years. However, taking too long to replace these machines can translate into inflated running costs.
The downside of running an older variant is not limited to higher costs, but also includes noise concerns. The devices become increasingly inefficient due to wear and tear. As such, it is important to take note of the manufacturer’s lifespan estimation.
In most cases, older air conditioning units become more expensive to run due to excessive power consumption. This results in higher power bills, which is not the case with newer units. Users will have to turn the dials a notch higher to keep interior spaces cool.
The Culprit: The Compressor
The compressor is the AC component most prone to irreparable wear, and it is the nerve center of a unit’s operation. The compressor can be likened to a piston engine and has the capacity to easily succumb to mechanical stress. This results in inefficiencies that draw more electrical energy to operate optimally. A spike in payable amounts appearing on utility bills will bear evidence of this.
If the compressor fails to run, this leads to complete AC system failure. A compressor does not come cheap and its failure usually translates to replacement of the entire air conditioner unit. Opting to repair the compressor comes with additional costs since the refrigerant line has to be drained and replenished.
Identifying the manufacturer’s lifespan estimation allows AC users to make accurate repair and/or replacement plans. The condenser unit data-plate typically specifies the unit’s age. In some cases, home inspectors in Los Angeles find it necessary to detach the outdoor condenser unit’s cover to inspect the compressor. Manufacturers of compressors usually employ the date coding system, which can be interpreted using the Technical Reference Guide.
Alternatively, users can contact the manufacturer. Some old air conditioner systems may feature relatively newer compressors. It is common for life expectancy to vary depending on climatic zone. The standard expectancy periods for moderate climates hover between 10 to 15 years, and 15 to 20 years for northern climates.
Repair vs. Replace
The majority of air conditioner owners are faced with the age-old choice to either repair or replace. On the one hand, the costs of repairing are high, owing to the price associated with replacing the compressor. On the other, buying a new unit may seem daunting, but saves more money in the end, particularly if the unit lives longer than the manufacturer’s estimated lifespan.
A new unit runs efficiently thereby saving energy and running costs. Experts recommend opting for a new air conditioner if the repairs cost half the price of installing a brand new unit.
Maintenance technicians can provide owners with a detailed breakdown of costs associated with repairing an aged system. These can be weighed against the price of installing a new system. Another added benefit of replacing a 15 to 20-year old unit is that newer models come with advanced systems that offer improved efficiency levels. Advances in HVAC technology help AC units convert electricity into cool air due to better-quality refrigerant blends.