Summer heat always shows up without warning, and it seems that air conditioning units break when the temperature is at its most unbearable and when the experts are booked up for days or even weeks. However, there are some signs to determine whether your AC unit needs to be replaced. Early detection will ensure your continued comfort during the hottest dog days of summer.

No cool air: Although fairly obvious, if your air conditioner is not putting out cool air, or if the air isn’t as cool as it previously was, it could mean that the compressor in your unit is broken. Non-cool air could also mean inadequate levels of Freon (the refrigerant in most cooling systems). In either case, replacing your AC unit is recommended.

It’s more than 10 years old: An average air conditioning unit lasts approximately 15 years. After the 10-year mark, however; if the HVAC unit begins to show signs of wear—not emitting cool air, or leaking coolant—it might be more cost effective to replace it. In fact, the federal government is phasing out air conditioners that use Freon which will no longer be produced after the year 2020. Only reclaimed Freon (also called R22) will be available resulting in dramatic cost increases. The replacement units use more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly methods.

You’re experiencing frequent break-downs: Repair costs can add up over time and may only offer short-term solutions to unbearable summer heat. Major component failures such as motors and compressors can be an expensive part to replace.  If you have to call a repair person more than twice a season, it’s time to replace your HVAC. Yearly maintenance on your system will also be able to pinpoint potential future breakdowns.

If you notice moisture where it shouldn’t be: A good rule of thumb is that if an appliance is emitting unwanted moisture or water, it should be replaced. In the case of an HVAC system, this moisture could be the result of leaking coolant or a broken drain tube. Any leakage should be tackled quickly, since it can result in mold growth.

Strange sounds or odors: As a homeowner, you know the sounds of your house. If appliances start misbehaving, you’ll notice. If an HVAC system begins to make sounds or smells that it hadn’t previously, then that’s a very clear indicator that it needs to be replaced. It is recommended to check your system for any of these indications prior to that first heat wave.

Energy bills rising: If you notice energy bills rising during the summer, it could mean that your HVAC system is losing its energy efficiency. Given how fast technology advances, if the air conditioner is over 10 years old, it’s definitely not as environmentally sound and energy efficient as the units on the market. New units can actually help you lower your monthly utility prices!

If you suspect that your air conditioning unit is on its way out, contact A-1 Guaranteed, whose expertise in diagnosing and repairing HVAC systems is unparalleled.