The air conditioner in your Champaign, IL, home has probably met your needs for several years. Maybe it requires an AC repair or two, but it’s always adequately kept your living spaces at a comfortable temperature. Then, one day, it doesn’t. 

When this day comes, as it inevitably will, you’ll need to find a professional technician who provides cooling services in your area. When they arrive at your home, you’ll hope it’s a simple fix, and they’ll be gone quickly. Instead, the technician tells you that it requires a significant repair.  

Now you’re forced to answer that formidable question: pay for the repair or invest in an AC replacement? At this point, both will be a considerable investment, so how do you decide which is the best option for your home?   

We’re here to help you decide by discussing several essential things to consider. After reading this article, you’ll feel confident that you can weigh the pros and cons of your unique situation and make the best choice for your home. 

How Long Should an Air Conditioner Last? 

The average air conditioning unit should last 10 to 15 years. But with a regular AC tune-up and care, it could continue functioning for an extended period. Other than the obvious sign when it doesn’t turn on, how can you tell when it’s time for an AC replacement? Here are a few things to be watching for. 

When an AC Uses R-22 Refrigerant 

All air conditioning systems use a gas called refrigerant. It’s what cools the air inside your home. Any unit made before January 2010 uses a type of refrigerant called R-22, or Freon, which is terrible for the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency now requires all newer AC units to use an eco-friendly version. 

To verify the status of your air conditioner, check the nameplate. It will identify whether it uses R-22, which will tell you it’s time to purchase a new air conditioner.   

Uneven Temperatures

If every room in your home feels like it’s a different temperature, your current cooling system no longer works as efficiently as it should. However, don’t let uneven temperatures mislead you. This could also signify that your AC unit is too small to cool your home.  

Even with the AC hard at work, constant humidity within your Champaign, IL, home indicates that it’s likely time for an AC replacement. Humidity within your home means that there’s likely something wrong with the evaporator coils, or they’re obstructed. Either way, a new system is the better investment in this situation.   

Higher Energy Bills

Your energy bill fluctuates from month to month. Some months it will be higher, but if you notice a steady, uncontrollable increase, you may have a faulty air conditioner. After years of wear and tear, old cooling systems eventually become inefficient and require replacement. 

Before committing to a replacement, you can complete a home energy audit to determine whether your AC is why your energy bills have skyrocketed. Performing this test will verify if the problem is related to the old AC or if you’ve got another problem, like inadequate insulation or air leaks. 

If you determine that it is the air conditioner, look for a replacement that carries the Energy Star logo to ensure you’re investing in an efficient unit.    

There’s an Increase in Dust 

Dust is one of those nuisances that sometimes fades into the background. But if you notice that there is more accumulating than usual, you could have a problem with the ducts of your AC system. If they leak, your air conditioner will be less efficient because it must work harder to achieve the same comfortable temperature. 

This contributes to increased energy bills and signifies a major problem. In this situation, speaking with a technician experienced in cooling services will help you determine whether a repair or replacement is better. 

Unusual Odors 

A properly working AC should never have strange smells coming from it. Moldy, musty, or burning odors are clear signs that something is wrong and that you need to call a technician for an inspection. There could be a fairly simple resolution, like cleaning the drip pan or changing a dirty air filter. 

Many of these issues can be addressed during a scheduled AC tune-up. Having a technician come to your home at least twice a year will help prevent extensive repairs or permanent damage. Sometimes, the root of the problem is much bigger, and an AC repair is not the most cost-effective solution. 

Strange Noises 

Yes, your cooling system does make some noise. But it should never make a grinding, rattling, or squealing sound. If you hear any of these noises, it could be from dust and debris blocking airflow, a faulty compressor, or a motor that needs to be lubricated. 

These are issues that can be identified and resolved during a routine AC tune-up. However, if you know your air conditioner is over the 15-year mark, paying for a new unit could be better. It may be more costly upfront, but it will save you money on the ongoing repairs you’ll need for the current system.    

Constant Repairs Are Needed 

Speaking of an ongoing AC repair — if you’re on a first-name basis with a local Champaign HVAC technician, it’s probably time to throw in the towel. All appliances and devices will need maintenance and repairs from normal wear and tear. But when you’re always paying for a repair, it’s no longer cost-effective for you. 

These repairs will add up to a hefty bill, eventually exceeding the price of a new AC system. When the cost of a single repair, or several consecutive repairs, is half the price of a new system, a new air conditioner may be a better use of your money.    

Recent Remodeling 

Any adjustments to the size of your home can affect how efficiently your current air conditioner is working. If you’ve recently added a new room, the AC system may be too small and won’t keep up with the new demands of your home. It will begin to short cycle, which will shorten the unit’s lifespan. 

Before beginning a remodeling project, consult with an expert cooling services provider in Champaign, IL. They know how to calculate whether your current unit will be sufficient to cool the new space.

Advantages to Investing in an AC Replacement

It’s important to consider all of your options with your air conditioner. Sometimes, a repair does make the most sense. However, the advantages of investing in a new system should also be considered. Those advantages include the following:  

  • Greater efficiency and reduced costs 
  • Evenly cooled rooms 
  • Warranty for parts and possibly labor 
  • Less noise 
  • Sharper appearance 
  • No more worrying about repairs 

There’s a lot of information to digest when deciding between a repair or a replacement. Remember to ask your technician any questions you have if they’ve recommended a replacement unit. You’ll want to have all of the information to make an informed decision.  

Need Help from a Cooling Expert in Champaign, IL? 

If you’re experiencing one or more of these signs, it may be more energy-efficient to replace your old unit. Consulting with an expert can help. 

You’ll want to know that you can depend on your air conditioner to keep your home comfortable, especially during those warm summer days. Deciding which is the most energy-efficient option can be a challenging question to answer. 

If you need help deciding, you can count on the expert team at Castle Home Comfort Heating & Cooling. We’ll talk you through your options and guide you toward the best decision for your home. Call us today to schedule your appointment!