How Long Does an Air Conditioner Really Last?
In this disposable age, it can be frustrating to have to swap out the current model of an expensive item every two years or less when the “latest upgrade” means the older version isn’t working as well. To be sure, other folks like to hold onto things for a long time. Some of us prefer to fix something on principle rather than throw it away. After all, frugality is often a virtue. But what does that really mean when it comes to your HVAC equipment? How often does it really need to be replaced? What’s sensible?
The pundits vary. Bob Vila of “This Old House” fame recommends buying a new air conditioner every 12-17 years, and presumably, a new furnace every 15-21, since furnaces outlast AC units by at least 3-4 years. It’s also important to note that with our mild California weather, homeowners typically aren’t using their systems as much as the rest of the country. In Ohio, with its hot, humid summers and unforgiving winters, you’re typically running your HVAC system all year round, if the anecdotes of friends and relatives are to be believed. But here in Southern California, there are weeks, if not months, when no extra heat or cooling is necessary to maintain ideal indoor comfort. That translates into less wear and tear, explaining why Southern California air conditioners can run a decade longer or more than the national average.
Nevertheless, there are other factors to consider when it comes to evaluating the need for a new system. Freon, the coolant used in many older AC units, is now illegal to manufacture as per federal HVAC regulations. Therefore its cost is skyrocketing, making repairs to old systems unrealistic. In that case, it’s better to simply replace.
Even more recently, the South Coast Air Quality District has mandated a low-emission furnace design. This new furnace will cost less to operate and render older units impractical to repair as well.
The bottom line? Look at your utility bills. If you’re spending more than $2,000 a year in air conditioning costs, you’ll get far more value and performance from new HVAC than sticking with your older air conditioner and furnace. These up-to-date systems are simply more energy efficient, saving you money without sacrificing comfort. There are also plenty of rebates out there too, as our state and federal regulators seek to encourage people and businesses to use less energy. Financing is also available.
It’s a lot of information to consider, but the right choice may just leave you with extra money in your wallet every month. Call Air-Tro today to discuss your options with one of our seasoned experts. Providing you long-term value is our priority, whether than means replacement or just prudent repairs.
We’ve been keeping California comfortable since 1969! Call Air-Tro, the HVAC company the San Gabriel Valley counts on for all its heating and cooling needs. (626) 357-3535.