Start Shopping for a New AC If Your Unit Is This Old
August 15, 2017
If your AC is 12+ years old, it’s time to start shopping for a new AC.
Most central air conditioners are built to last 15–20 years, but here in Florida, the average age is about 12 years because we use our ACs so often.
“Why can’t I just wait until my old AC breaks down before I replace it?”
Well, of course you can do that. But using an older AC may actually cost you more money and comfort in the long run because older ACs…
Require expensive/frequent repairs
Don’t provide even cooling
Can’t dehumidify your home well
Let’s go into more detail about each of these reasons you should replace your old AC sooner rather than later.
Why you should consider replacing your old AC ASAP
Reason #1: Older ACs require expensive/frequent repairs
As with all mechanical components, ACs wear out over time and require repairs. And the older the AC gets, the more frequent and expensive those repairs get.
So, instead of shelling out money for every repair that comes along, it’s often more cost effective to simply replace an older air conditioner. For example, some AC repairs—like replacing a compressor—are very expensive.
Let’s compare the cost of this repair vs the cost to replace the old AC altogether:
Cost to replace a compressor in Florida: $2,375
Cost to replace the entire AC unit: $4,500 to $10,500
Putting the repair money you would have used for the compressor towards a new AC could cover almost half of the cost of a new AC (if it’s on the lower end of that range). Plus, with a new AC, you won’t have to worry about other expensive parts breaking down for another 10–12 years.
For more information about AC repairs, read our article “What’s the Cost to Repair a Home Air Conditioner in Florida?”
Reason #2: Older ACs operate inefficiently
As ACs age they lose efficiency, especially if they haven’t been regularly maintained over the years.
Think of a new, gas-efficient car compared to an old clunker. An older car loses gas mileage over the years, meaning it uses up more gas than it used to when it was new. On the other hand, a newer car is going to have better gas mileage, which means you won’t spend as much on gas.
It’s similar with air conditioners: Older ACs lose energy efficiency as time goes on. They work harder to cool your home and as a result, use more electricity. New air conditioners are more energy efficient, which means you won’t spend as much on monthly utility bills.
To learn more about AC energy efficiency, read our article, “14-SEER vs. 18-SEER: Is the More Efficient Air Conditioner Worth the Price?”
Reason #3: Older ACs don’t provide even cooling
Most older air conditioners have only two speeds: Full blast ON or OFF. That means when the weather is mild, they don’t run very long and quickly shut off, which leads to uneven cooling throughout your home.
However, many newer air conditioners come with 2 features that counter uneven cooling:
2-stage compressors: ACs with 2-stage compressors can operate on two levels: high for hot days and low for milder days. So instead of just ON or OFF, your AC adjusts its settings based on your household cooling needs, which ultimately produces more even temperatures throughout your home.
Variable speed motor: A variable speed motor runs at a wide range of speeds to control the amount of cooled air your home receives. This improved airflow allows for more even temperatures throughout your home.
Bottom line: Install a new AC with these features to combat uneven cooling and improve your home’s comfort. These features also affect your home’s humidity levels..
Reason #4: Older ACs can’t dehumidify your home well
One of the main responsibilities of your air conditioner is to remove the humidity in your home’s air, which is especially important here in Florida.
But as ACs age, they lose their ability to remove humidity due to…
Worn evaporator coils. Your evaporator coils are responsible for removing humidity from your home’s air, so if they’re worn out, they won’t remove as much moisture from the air.
Single-stage compressors only turn ON or OFF, meaning they limit your AC’s ability to run long enough to remove humidity from your home’s air. Compared to older single-stage compressors, newer 2-stage compressors can remove as much as twice humidity from your home’s air.
Blower motor wear and tear, which leads to airflow issues, meaning your AC can’t pull in enough air to run over the evaporator coil to dehumidify it.
Bottom line: If you’ve already noticed some discomfort in your home, it could be a sign your AC is on its last leg. If that’s the case, you should contact a professional for a AC install estimate.
“So, how much does it cost to install a new AC?”
That’s probably the next question on your mind. When homeowners in Florida ask us how much it costs to install a new central AC in Florida, this is what we tell them: it costs anywhere from $4,500 to $10,500 with the average price around $6,800.
Of course, what you’ll actually pay depends on the following factors...
Factor #1: The contractor your hire
Air conditioning contractors all charge differently for their services. Higher quality contractors often charge more upfront for installation costs.
However, if you choose a high quality contractor, you’ll get a high quality AC installation, meaning you’ll save money in the long-term because your AC is less likely to break down prematurely.
Factor #2: AC unit specifications
These 3 factors affect the price you’ll pay for a new air conditioner:
1. Size: AC size is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), and it indicates how much heat the unit can remove from your home’s air in an hour (which is how it cools your home). For the most part, the larger the AC size, the more expensive it will be.
2. SEER rating: An air conditioner’s energy efficiency is measured by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher an AC unit’s SEER, the more expensive it is.
3. Brand: More well-known brands like Trane, Lennox or Carrier are generally more expensive than smaller brands
Factor #3: The kind of warranty you purchase
Generally, more extensive warranties make the overall installation price higher. Be sure to ask your contractor what warranty options are available before you install a new AC.
Want to know more in-depth about each of these factors? Read our article, “How Much Does It Cost to Install a Central Air Conditioner in Florida?”
Need a new AC? Or just want a price estimate?
- Posted in:
- Air Conditioning