Whether you rent an apartment or own your home, hot weather is the great equalizer. From the dry southwestern heat to the brutal humidity of the northeast, air conditioners serve as a popular line of defense against sweltering conditions – until they break down, that is.
While nothing lasts forever, few home system breakdowns are more devastating than losing your air conditioning. If you suspect your AC is on the fritz, look for these seven signs it’s time for a replacement.
1. You’re not getting cold air.
Maybe it’s obvious, but when you’re not getting any cool air, there’s probably something wrong with your AC. From low Freon levels to a broken compressor, any number of issues could be a factor. Call in a professional, or if you have a home warranty with Select, make a claim. There’s no need to wait to beat the heat. If the repair is extensive, you may be looking at a replacement instead.
2. The air flow isn’t all that great.
So maybe you’re getting cool air throughout your home, but you’ve noticed that your AC isn’t pushing air out the way it used to. This could mean any number of things, including issues with your AC’s compressor or blocked/damaged vents. While it’s possible to have a professional manage these repairs, they can be quite expensive depending on your system’s age and the extent of the issue. When the costs get too high, you might want to consider the cost for a new unit.
3. You’ve found moisture and leakage around the unit.
While condensation around an air conditioner is normal, excessive leakage can represent a much larger problem. If you have an issue with a refrigerant leak or notice large pools of water around your AC unit, you may have a serious issue that need to be addressed right away. Leaking coolant can pose a health risk to you and your family, and excessive water leakage can damage floors or furniture and may even lead to mold growth. Call in an expert ASAP!
4. You’re hearing unusual sounds you haven’t heard before.
Did you hear a loud grinding sound coming from your AC? How about rattling, banging, squealing, and other noises that just don’t seem right? Turn off your AC system and get an expert out to look at it as soon as you can. These noises often reflect a serious issue – such as a belt slipping out of place or broken motor bearings – that could lead to a costlier repair or need for replacement if not addressed immediately.
5. Some zones aren’t cooled (aka the thermostat isn’t working).
Occasionally, issues with your AC system aren’t about the main cooling unit, but your thermostat. A broken thermostat may prevent the system from effectively cooling any given area in your home or apartment. If the other rooms feel fine and the issue is contained to a single zone, it may be worth having a professional check your thermostats to see if they’re culprit. If so, you might be lucky enough to have to replace a thermostat or two instead of replacing the whole system.
6. You’ve had it for more than 10-15 years.
The average AC system lasts about 10 to 15 years. If your system is older than that, congratulations! You got a great return on your investment. However, with newer models focusing on energy efficiency, you may save money in the long run through an upgrade. When your older system breaks down, consider it an opportunity to upgrade to a modern setup.
7. Your AC system needs frequent repairs.
Eventually, if you find yourself paying to have the same system repaired repeatedly, it may be time to throw in the towel. Sooner or later, it’ll be more cost effective to simply replace it. After all, repairs not covered under a home warranty can be incredibly costly.