Air conditioners are typically pretty reliable pieces of equipment, but like any mechanical item, they require maintenance and replacement. Knowing when to have your air conditioner serviced is largely dependant upon the age of the unit, its condition, and whether or not there are obvious problems with its performance. In general, you should inspect your air conditioner and have it serviced professionally, if needed, every spring. Typically, inspecting and having maintenance performed on your air conditioner a couple months before the start of consistently hot weather is sufficient. Like any other piece of essential equipment, monitoring the performance of the air conditioner will help you evaluate when it may be time for servicing, or in the cases of old, dilapidated units, replacement. Here are some signs that your a/c is in need of service.
If you notice that the temperatures inside the house vary starkly from room to room, you may have a problem with the unit itself or possibly with insulation or ductwork. If some rooms are cool and others warm, you may need to consult an HVAC specialist to determine the exact nature of the problem. The unit may very well be malfunctioning, but problems with the ductwork or insulation should be eliminated before spending money on unnecessary a/c repairs. If the problem is the a/c unit itself, you may need to consider replacing the unit over costly repairs. A professional technician will be able to tell you based on the exact circumstances.
High Energy Costs
A spike in monthly energy costs is a sign that your air conditioner may be in need of repair or possibly replacement. Older units that are 7-8 years can consume as much as twice the energy of a new unit and should be serviced or replaced if they are causing your utilities to increase each month. An obvious decline in cooling and a spike in energy consumption is a pretty good indicator that your air conditioner needs to be serviced or replaced. Replacing parts to increase efficiency may be an option, but depending on the age of the unit and costs of maintenance, you may be better off replacing the unit. Have the system professionally evaluated to determine the best course of action.
If the a/c unit exhibits obvious malfunctions that can be attributed to mechanical parts, you should have the unit serviced. Problems with the blower or compressor are fairly common, but more severe problems with the unit’s internal condenser and coil mechanisms may be cause for replacement. An experienced HVAC professional will be able to assess the specific problems with the unit and determine if the unit should be repaired or replaced. Any mechanical malfunctions should be a sign that the unit needs servicing before the temperature begins to rise, so test the a/c early.