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As time passes, even the most well-built air conditioner ever assembled will eventually wear out. Air conditioner replacement will eventually become necessary, and there’s a pretty strong chance you’ll need to do it at least once during the time that you own your home. However, knowing when this time has come can be a confusing and difficult challenge for the average homeowner.

Should you replace your air conditioner right away or repair your problem and keep your old unit running? What option is going to be better for you in the long run? What option will help you save more energy and keep your operating costs down? This blog can help you answer these questions and more—if your air conditioner is acting up, check out these four signs that the time for replacement may be here.

#1: Your Air Conditioner Stops Working Completely

If you’ve ever been in the situation where you fire up your air conditioner and your system either automatically shuts down or fails to turn on at all, then you know how frustrating it can be. While an air conditioner that runs but simply doesn’t produce cold air is one thing, a system that flat out fails to turn on or starts up and immediately shuts down can be tremendously frustrating. This is usually what causes many people to consider a total air conditioning replacement, and in some cases this is the right decision. However, it isn’t always.

Talk to a heating and cooling professional about your system to find out if replacement is the best choice based on your situation. In some cases this may be an indication that you need to replace your system completely, but in others it may be smarter to just repair it. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: if the cost of your repair is more than half what it would cost to replace your air conditioner, go for the replacement. This is particularly true if you also notice any of the other signs on this list.

#2: Your Air Conditioner Makes Strange Noises

You fire up your air conditioner and are greeted by a loud clunking, vile screeching, or other weird noise that isn’t normal for your system. This usually is a strong indicator of a problem and could indicate the need for a replacement. For example, a screeching noise coming from your outside unit could either indicate a bad bearing in your fan motor or a fault with your compressor, both of which require substantial work to replace. In these cases, replacement may be the best decision.

The same can be said for smells too. Do you turn on your air conditioner and suddenly smell something like burning plastic or rubber? This is a common symptom of overheating or electrical surging. Shut down your air conditioner right away and call a professional to have your system inspected—continuing to run your air conditioner could cause a fire or other catastrophic damage to your system and your home.

#3: Your Air Conditioner Is Old

How old is your air conditioner? The average lifespan for a residential air conditioning system can be anywhere from roughly 10 years to around 20 or 25 years depending on operating conditions, usage levels, and several other factors. If your air conditioner is between 10 and 20 years old, there’s a good chance that a failure could mean it’s wise to replace your system completely.

Don’t know how old your air conditioner is? There’s a pretty easy way to find out. Take a close look at the information panel printed on your indoor unit and look for a manufacture date. If that date is more than 10 years in the past, there’s a good chance that replacement may be the best option. However, we still strongly advise speaking with a professional to find out exactly what’s wrong with your air conditioner—a simple repair may still be the better option.

#4: Your Air Conditioner Uses Freon

If your air conditioner still depends on R-22 Freon refrigerant, you should consider replacing it outright. R-22 is set to be completely banned as a refrigerant due to its ozone-depleting qualities, and finding replacement Freon will become immensely difficult (and even more expensive) after January 1st, 2020. Additionally, you won’t be able to purchase a new Freon-based air conditioner, and you’ll be required to install a non-Freon based air conditioner when the time comes for replacement.

However, Freon has not been the top refrigerant material for quite some time now, and that means most Freon-reliant air conditioners are probably getting toward the end of their useful lifespan anyway. A serious breakdown may be the perfect opportunity to ditch Freon once and for all and move to a more energy-efficient system that will save you money in both the short and long-term.

Do you need a new air conditioner? Leave it to the pros at Carter Services! Request a consultation by calling (310) 872-1898 today.