Imagine how nice it would be to have an energy-efficient air conditioner that keeps your home at the perfect temperature.

It can be a stark realization, but the odds are that at some time over the course of home ownership, there’s going to come a time when a new air conditioning installation is mandatory. There are things you can do to extend the life of your a/c such as changing the filter regularly and cleaning debris and dust out of the interior components. However, the truth is the life of an air conditioner is somewhere between 15 – 20 years. Of course, there’s no sense in paying for an air conditioning installation if you can hire a contractor to repair the blower motor, compressor, and other components for a fraction of the price. These tips will tell when a fix is the best choice or when it’s simply time to put the old girl out of her misery.

Over 10 Years Old

Hanging on to an aging HVAC unit might not be a good idea, not because the parts are going bad, but because new energy certifications mean an upgrade could actually save money on utility bills. Replacing old components with new energy star rated ones could earn savings of up to 20% annually.

Runs Constantly

Along the same lines as the age of the unit, energy is lost when an a/c seems to run all the time. There could be many causes of an ever-running a/c including a bad thermostat, dirty filter, or compressor issues. Although an air-conditioning installation may not be necessary, a constantly running system should at least be inspected by a professional.

Inconsistent Cooling

The tell-tale sign that you probably need to replace your air conditioner is when it just doesn’t cool the house as well as it did before even though you set the thermostat the same. A refrigerant leak, a failing blower motor, or a faulty thermostat could all be causes of what seems like a warmer house. Turning down the thermostat only increases the workload on the system as well as raises the utility bills so the system should be inspected rather than worked around. * Note: Something to take into account when a room isn’t as cool as it once was is to check for gaps near windows or areas of poor insulation that let cold air escape. It’s not a bad practice to seal up gaps internally and externally and make sure all outside walls are insulated heavily as it will only help the efficiency even if you require a new air conditioner.

Overall Costs

If a person holds on to an old vehicle even though it constantly breaks down and guzzles gas at an incredible rate, it doesn’t represent a sound financial decision. The same holds true for an air conditioner. If the cost to maintain the a/c is overbearing the cost to replace it, it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new. Granted, coming up with the money to replace an air conditioner can be a burden, Government stipends, lower utility bills, and the convenience of chilled air on demand just make the investment worthwhile.