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Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your AC Unit

As with many items we purchase, there comes a day when we start to consider whether the continual problems, inefficiencies and repairs to our air conditioning systems are worth it any more. You start to consider that maybe it’s time to upgrade to a brand new, high efficiency AC unit.

But how do you know whether that time has come? Comfort Air Ontario is here to help! We’ve put together a list of seven signs that will help you decide if it really is time to replace your air conditioning unit.

When to replace AC unit
  1. 1. You’ve had it more than 10 years

    You can usually expect an air conditioning unit to last approximately ten years. Even with regular maintenance, the units degradation will eventually make it cheaper in the long run to replace the unit especially when you factor in the modern technology and increased efficiency that comes with a modern air conditioning unit.

  2. 2. Buildup of moisture

    Air conditioning units should be able to handle a certain amount of moisture that comes with these systems. However, excessive moisture or pooling can be a sign of a refrigerant leak and excessively worn parts.

    This leaking moisture can damage floors and moulding and also creates a perfect breeding ground for mould which then gets circulated around the home. Do not ignore a leaking AC unit!

  3. 3. Your AC Model Runs On R-22 Refrigerant (Freon)

    Freon was used widely in air conditioning units for many decades but is now being phased out do to environmental concerns caused by it’s chlorine content. It is being replaced by a new refrigerant (R410A).

    Unfortunately, this new refrigerant is not compatible with older systems that use Freon and, due to the phasing out of freon, the costs for recharging using freon are growing at an incredible rate.

    If you’re having issues with your older AC unit then this may be a good time to upgrade to a new, non-chlorine based system that will be friendlier to the environment and far more efficient than your previous unit.

  4. 4. Your AC System Is Noisy

    Is your system grinding, rattling, humming, or generally sounding like it is about to cost you yet another expensive round of repairs?

    This is likely a symptom of excessively worn parts or a sign of a system that has been improperly sized for your home. This can cause the unit to work overtime to cool to the required level.

    This is a good time to get a quote on a modern AC unit with reliable, new parts that has also been selected appropriately for the size of your home.

  5. 5. Frequent Need For Repairs

    Once your air conditioner unit is out of warranty, you will be paying for any repairs yourself. Eventually this will be a regular occurrence and at some point it just isn’t worth it to keep an aging, inefficient unit running while continuing to pump your hard earned money into it.

    At this point it is often best to get yourself some peace of mind with a new, efficient AC unit and the comforting new warranty that comes with it.

  6. 6. Hard Time Keeping Your Home Cool

    A worn out, inefficient AC unit will struggle to cool as well as it used to and will keep incurring maintenance costs until it is replaced with a newer, more efficient model that has been sized correctly for the area it is required to cool.

  7. 7. Your Air Conditioner Is Not Efficient.

    Older AC units likely have a low SEER rating meaning it is costing you more than it should to operate. Newly manufactured AC units must have a SEER rating of 13 or more.

    Combine this with the inefficiency of an already worn out system and you can see why it may be time to upgrade to a newer, more efficient high-SEER air conditioning unit.

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What type of air conditioner should I choose for my home?

For the average home in Canada, you will be choosing between three differing types of air conditioning systems.

These include Split system central air, mini-split air conditioning, and packaged air conditioning. We’ll go over these in more detail below.

Split System Central Air System

Central Air Conditioning

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning systems are the most common A/C system in use in North American homes today.

They employ a ‘split system’ that circulates air through existing duct work and provides cooling for the entire house.

The ‘split’ aspect of this system means that they employ an outdoor condenser/compressor along with an indoor unit that contains the evaporator.

Pros
Central air conditioning provides cooling to all rooms connected to the existing duct work instead of just isolated rooms as is the case with some other systems. They also remove much of the humidity in the air, providing an overall cooler, more comfortable environment throughout the entire home.

Cons
Uses a lot of energy. Cools all rooms even when not occupied
Loses some efficiency due to heat transference while traveling through ducts


Ductless Mini-Split A/C System

Mini Split Air Conditioning

Mini Split Air Conditioning

A mini-split A/C system also employs the two part indoor/outdoor concept used by central air with the difference being that the indoor unit incorporates the evaporator and fan in one single unit.

The evaporator/fan is usually mounted on a wall and may be controlled by remote. This is commonly used for smaller areas with no existing duct work.

Pros
The main advantage of mini-split A/C systems is that they can be installed into homes that do not currently have existing ductwork. They are more efficient due to the cold air traveling directly into the room to be cooled instead of having to pass through ducts where heat transference can waste energy.

Installation is also quite easy as only a 3-4″ hole is required to be drilled into an exterior wall. The entire installation can usually be completed in a single day.

Mini-split systems are perfect for smaller living spaces such as apartments and dorm rooms.

They are also highly convenient due to the individual thermostat control that is available to each handler in each room (most systems can handle up to four individual handlers in different rooms). Handlers are also easy to add to new home additions that do not have ductwork.

Cons
Single mini-split A/C systems are not powerful enough to cool an entire larger home without the addition of further systems such as packaged window A/C units or additional mini-split systems.

The indoor handlers which are usually wall mounted are much more visible that central air systems. They also usually cost more than standard central air conditioner systems.


Packaged A/C Units

Packaged Air Conditioning

Packaged Air Conditioning

Packaged A/C systems incorporate all the necessary elements into one single unit that can be mounted externally much like the central A/C condenser unit. Cool air is circulated through the home via existing duct work.

Many external packaged systems also include the ability to provide heating to the house, eliminating the need for an internal furnace.

A small window mounted A/C unit also counts as a packaged unit.

Pros
Packaged A/C systems are very compact due to all elements of both the cooling and heating systems being contained together in a single unit mounted outside the home. This makes it very attractive to people with minimal indoor space to devote to a heating and cooling system.

All parts of the system come completely pre-assembled from the factory, ensuring the unit will work very efficiently out of the box. This makes installation quite simple and therefore much more affordable to the consumer.

Cons
The only real drawback to these packaged systems is that the entire unit is exposed to the elements year round, leaving it vulnerable to leaks and damage from wildlife seeking warmth in winter.


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