Having a working central air conditioning on a hot summer day allows you to escape the heat; hHowever, if your air conditioner is old, it may not be offering as much relief as it once did. If you have an older air conditioner, check out these important facts to consider.
Older Systems Aren't As Efficient
Air conditioners last about 10 to 15 years, and as they age, they become more and more inefficient. On top of that, older systems just aren't as energy efficient as newer models. Manufacturers have come a long way in creating efficient systems that use less energy and money to run. Replacing an old unit may even save you 20 to 40 percent on your cooling energy costs. Just make sure you find a system with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of at least 15.
They Use R-22 Refrigerant
Older air-conditioning systems commonly used R-22 refrigerant, which is a HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon). Similar to CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon) but less destructive, HCFCs damage the ozone layer. As a result, the EPA is phasing out the use of R-22. No manufacturer can create air conditioners that use R-22, but you can still own one. With the strong move toward environmental protection, it's a good idea to do your part by getting rid of your air conditioner if it uses R-22.
Repairs Can Be Costly
Another reason you should consider getting rid of your old air conditioner if it uses R-22 is that the cost of R-22 refrigerant is on the rise. R-22 is no longer being produced, so for technicians to get their hands on some, they have to recycle it from other older systems. This means there isn't enough to go around, so the price is increasing, and it will continue to rise. If your system is already old, you might as well just get a newer one to save you the headache of high R-22 costs.
Routine Problems Aren't Normal
Strange noises, unpleasant odors, routine breakdowns and uneven temperatures aren't normal. Routine maintenance is one thing, but if you are constantly having your system repaired for one problem or another, you're just throwing money into a big hole. Your system shouldn't need a major repair every cooling season. If you keep throwing money at it just to have it breakdown again, save yourself some money and just replace it.
It May Have a Few Years Left
Even if your system is getting older, there are some things you can do to potentially improve its efficiency. First, change or clean the filter at least every two months during the cooling season. This will allow the air to continue flowing properly. Next, have it serviced by a technician to give it a good tune-up. Last, check your ducts. If your system has never been very efficient, you may have gaps in your ducts, which cause the air to leak, forcing you to use more energy.
An Older System Doesn't Usually Affect Home Value
If you have an old system, and you are thinking about selling your home, don't worry about replacing it. Installing a new air conditioner won't increase the home's value. However, if the system isn't working, that could cause some problems. Air conditioning is like the plumbing or heating. Homebuyers expect it to be there. They don't really care if it's brand new, but they expect it to work. Have your system serviced, so it's working well, but don't waste money buying a new one.
Air conditioning isn't a necessity, but it is definitely something that most everyone enjoys. If your system is old, there are some things you can do to improve it, but it may just be better to replace it with a new ENERGY STAR model that is safe for the environment. Check out sites like http://www.alliedairheat.com for additional info.