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How Long Do AC Systems Last?

Ideally, you won’t have to deal with an air conditioning replacement for well over a decade. If well-maintained, modern AC systems will last for around 15-20 years. Older models, however, typically only last for approximately ten years. Knowing when to replace your cooling system can be tricky, and if you are struggling with repair issues or breakdowns, you may be wondering if it is time to schedule a replacement.

At Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we work hard to provide our customers with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision, especially when making a significant investment in a new AC. Below, we provide guidance on when to consider a replacement and the best time to replace your system.

Repair or Replace: How Do You Know?

A good rule of thumb is that when repair costs exceed the cost of a new system or when repairs are unlikely to resolve the problem, you should consider replacing your system. However, cooling system replacements can be expensive, and being surprised by the need for one can create a very stressful situation. One thing you can do to be more prepared for a replacement is to know the signs of a struggling AC system.

Signs your AC may need a replacement soon:

  • You are experiencing chronic repair problems
  • Repairs are not providing long-term solutions
  • Your system has lost efficiency
  • Your system must run more frequently or continuously to maintain the temperature you set
  • Your system is excessively noisy
  • Your system is over ten years old and reaching the end of its lifespan

You may also wish to replace your system if you are planning a remodeling project, making it a good time to make the replacement. Similarly, if you’ve built an addition or expansion on your home or extended your ductwork to new areas, your old system may be inadequately sized for your current needs.

When Is the Ideal Time to Replace Your AC System?

The best time to replace your AC system is before you need to rely on it to keep your home cool. Therefore, you should consider replacing your air conditioner in the early spring or the fall. While sometimes you cannot avoid a replacement in the height of summer (such as when your system breaks down and is irreparable), it is best to wait until the off-season to schedule your replacement.

HVAC companies tend to be inundated with repair calls during the summer, making getting an installation appointment more difficult. Similarly, in the middle of winter, companies tend to focus on providing heating services. Additionally, they may not have as many available AC models to choose from or the specific model you want in stock.

Planning for Your AC Replacement

Have you decided to replace your AC? If so, you can do a few things to proactively plan for the replacement, helping ensure that the process goes smoothly. First of all, consider your budget. The average AC unit costs around $3,000-$5,000, depending on the type and size of the system you purchase. If you also need new ductwork, the total replacement price will increase significantly. Understanding how much new systems cost and your personal budget can help guide you as you begin your research into different makes and models.

Questions to ask yourself when picking an AC replacement include:

  • What do you like about your current system?
  • What don’t you like about your current system?
  • What are your cooling habits?
  • Do you need indoor air quality services as well?
  • Do you have pets, or do you struggle with dust buildup in your home?
  • Are you looking to improve your energy efficiency?
  • How long do you plan to be in your current home?
  • Do you also need ductwork replaced or extended?

With so many makes and models on the market, spending some time determining what you want out of your AC system is important. Identify the size and capacity you need, as well as the features you most want to be included (such as a smart thermostat). If you aren’t sure or want professional guidance, we recommend reaching out to the AC specialists at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We live and breathe air conditioning, and we can help you identify your ideal system.