Reliable Heating & Cooling

Should I Replace My 30-Year-Old Air Conditioner?

When is a good time to replace your aging HVAC system? Reliable Heating & Cooling shows you the tell-tale signs it’s time to move on. Call us today for more details!

Our utilities don’t seem to last as long as before, especially with all the advertisements for new tools bombarding us. Therefore, many would agree that a sign of a good-quality HVAC system includes its longevity. But how long is too long?

Are you wondering, “Should I replace my 30-year-old air conditioner?” As a top-quality provider of professional air conditioning installation in Zeeland, MI, our team regularly inspects and replaces old systems. Reliable Heating & Cooling’s technicians know the signs it’s time to retire your system.

How Age Can Affect Your HVAC System

Your air conditioning unit’s lifespan can have an impact on how well your HVAC system works. Look out for signs that your unit is reaching the end of its life.

Outdated Components

A new unit comes with updated parts and components customized for current technology. During the manufacturing process, manufacturers phase out older tech as it loses popularity. 

Some older units may be able to adapt to changes in common HVAC practices and tools. However, many cannot, and keeping the older unit can cost more money or have a negative environmental impact.

For example, in January 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the process of phasing out R-22 refrigerant for ozone layer protection. Units using R-22 refrigerant will have no repairs or refrigerant available in 2030 if their phasing process works. While a drastic example of outdated components affecting your HVAC system, it illustrates the necessity to update your unit.

Poor Functionality

When manufacturers create parts, a silent timer starts on how long we can efficiently use those parts. The more you use a device, the more its components and frame wear down. Generally, you can alleviate this process with repairs to maintain the system.

However, whether from being unable to adapt to new repairs or simply from natural degradation, the unit will become nonfunctional. For example, even with new evaporator and condenser coils, an older AC often won’t have the same cooling performance as a new unit.

When asking, “Should I replace my 30-year-old air conditioner?” consider how much effort goes into its maintenance. Even if you try to replace each of the internal parts, the main frame may not be able to sustain its use. By that point, you might as well get a complete air conditioner replacement.

Higher Expenses

An older unit may rely on outdated components and have poorer functionality than newer ACs. Therefore, you often must pay more to maintain it than you would for a replacement unit.

Costs usually build up from various areas rather than one:

  • Repair costs
  • Energy expenses
  • Additional labor fees from:
    • Finding older parts
    • Using older refrigerant
    • Hazard costs from handling older chemicals
  • Emergency repairs from sudden breakdowns

Emergency AC services typically cost more than usual repair calls. Even so, we don’t advise “sticking it out” when the unit breaks down to keep air conditioning repair costs low. Excess heat can lead to more serious health emergencies. 

Also, older ACs use more energy because they must work harder to provide the same cooling as a newer system. While a new installation costs money upfront, trying to keep an older system on its last legs can waste funds for months.

Signs You Should Replace Your Old AC

In general, home and business owners in northern states like Michigan can expect an AC to last 10 to 20 years. In southern states, they use their systems much more frequently, so theirs only last for 10 to 12 years. Either way, once you approach 30 years, your system is likely nowhere near reasonable efficiency.

Often, your air conditioning unit will begin to indicate when you should consider replacing it. While it cannot speak or think, the signs it gives off will help you determine the best course of action. Call if:

  • You notice unexplainable increases in your energy bills
  • Your unit takes much longer to cool your property than before
  • You hear rattling or banging noises from your unit, even after repairs
  • Upon receiving a quote for new repairs, the cost exceeds the 5,000 Rule
  • Your unit’s SEER rating does not meet updated expectations for the state
  • Your unit begins to have unexplained shutdowns, or you cannot turn it on

About SEER Ratings

SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, averages the season-long cooling output of a system divided by the amount of energy it uses. Higher SEER ratings indicate that the unit uses less electricity to provide efficient cooling. Northern states typically require that all AC units have a SEER rating of 14 and up, with southern states requiring 15 and up.

Current testing indicates that air conditioners from around 15 years ago top off between eight and 11. The absolute minimum standard required by the U.S. as of 2023 is 9.7.

About the 5,000 Rule

Some HVAC technicians like to use the 5,000 Rule, in which you multiply the system’s age by the repair costs. If the result exceeds $5,000, you would likely benefit more from a new AC unit instead.

For example, a 10-year-old unit needing a $230 repair comes to $2,300 in the 5,000 Rule. A 30-year-old unit needing a similar repair comes to $6,900. While the 10-year-old unit still has some potential, you’d likely want to replace the 30-year-old one. The overall cost of repairs will likely exceed the cost of replacement if it hasn’t already.

Contact Reliable Heating & Cooling for Zeeland AC Services!

Are you still wondering, “Should I replace my 30-year-old air conditioner?” While the answer is likely “yes,” you can always double-check with Reliable Heating & Cooling, LLC. Our technicians help home and commercial property owners in Zeeland, MI, replace, repair, and maintain their HVAC systems for consistent air quality control.

Want to know the best time to replace HVAC systems? Need a free quote on your 30-year-old AC? Call (616) 649-8079 or visit our contact page to schedule your appointment today!