5 Problems You May Encounter if Your Air Conditioner is More Than 10 Years Old

Nothing lasts forever, and that’s especially true for air conditioners. In a harsh desert climate like Arizona, the lifespan of the average A/C unit is 9-12 years. Once your system reaches double digits, you may start to notice more problems, and begin to wonder if it’s time to replace it altogether. Here are five common problems you may encounter with an air conditioner that’s more than 10 years old.

1. High energy bills

Are you suddenly paying a lot more on your energy bills? An aging air conditioner may be to blame. Older air conditioners have to work much harder to cool your home, leading to an increased use of energy that is reflected in a higher bill. Additionally, older air conditioners often have trouble cooling a home sufficiently. This can lead to you lowering the thermostat more often, and increasing your energy bills.

Newer air conditioning units are exceptionally energy-efficient, particularly those with high seasonal energy efficiency ratios, or SEER. Many utility companies and government agencies offer tax credits and rebates that serve as incentives for homeowners to switch to more energy-efficient air conditioners. Replacing your old air conditioner with an energy-efficient one is a great way to save on your energy bills while also helping the environment.

2. Poor air quality

Along with delivering cool air to your home, your air conditioner is also responsible for providing ventilation. If you’ve noticed an increasing amount of dust in your home, or higher than normal humidity levels, your air conditioner may no longer be able to ventilate properly. This can lead to pollen and other pollutants entering your home. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, it’s especially important to make sure your air conditioner isn’t making the air quality in your home worse.

3. Weak airflow

If your air conditioner takes forever to cool down your home, or never seems to do much of anything to keep the unrelenting summer temperatures away, it’s time for a replacement. If you stand by the vents in your home, you should feel a strong rush of air from your air conditioner. Weak airflow can be a sign that the compressor of your A/C unit is failing. However, it can also be a sign of a blockage or other issue in your air ducts. It’s best to call in a professional to evaluate this problem in order to get an accurate diagnosis. If the problem is with your compressor, replacing the unit all together is more cost effective than simply replacing the compressor, especially if the unit is several years old.

4. Frequent  repairs

With older air conditioners, it may often seem as though you’re constantly dealing with one failing component after another. If you find yourself scheduling repair after repair for your air conditioner, it may be time to consider upgrading and replacing the system altogether.

5. Refrigerant problems

Refrigerant plays a vital role in heat exchange, the process that results in cool air for your home.

Refrigerant leaks

Too little refrigerant is known as an “undercharge”. An air conditioner with too little refrigerant is like a person trying to do a strenuous workout while dehydrated—it won’t have the energy to get the job done. This means longer cooling cycles, which lead to higher energy bills.

Refrigerant leaks are one of the most common problems that result in a significant amount of air conditioner repairs on older units. It’s also just about the only reason why your air conditioner could be low on refrigerant, since refrigerant does not get “used up” like gas in a car. Signs of a refrigerant leak include:

  • A hissing noise coming from the air conditioner
  • A home that fails to reach the temperature you set
  • Short cycling, or an air conditioner turning on and off constantly
  • Lukewarm air coming from vents

R-22 refrigerant use

Most air conditioners use one of two refrigerants: R-410A, also known as Puron, or R-22, also known as Freon. Beginning in 2010, R-22 was discontinued following an agreement by the EPA to phase out substances that damage the ozone layer. As of  2020, R-22 is no longer imported or produced. Instead, newer air conditioners use R-410A, which is more environmentally friendly.

As it stands now, repairs with R-22 refrigerant are very expensive because it’s no longer being produced. That means that you’ll end up paying a pretty penny if your older air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Rather than pay for a highly expensive repair with R-22, it’s best to replace the unit altogether with one that uses R-410A, to guarantee that it will be supported for years to come.

Time to upgrade to a new air conditioner? We can help

If your air conditioner is starting to show its age, it’s time to call the pros at Chas Roberts. We can work with you to find a new system that’s s a perfect fit for your home, with all the cooling capacity you need. With our help, you can say goodbye to frequent repairs and breakdowns and hello to an efficient air conditioner that will keep you and your family comfortable for years to come. Contact us to get started.