Diagnosing AC Problems: Six Signs Your Air Conditioner Might Be a Goner This Summer
Every summer we see a worst-case air conditioner meltdown scenario: a system that dies beyond repair in the middle of the hottest time here in the Valley. To quote one of our clients, “It really sucks,” and we couldn’t agree more. Compounding the unfortunate nature of these situations is the fact that, in many cases, there had been warning signs for months beforehand that the system was not in good condition and was in danger of failing permanently. But often these signs go ignored: people hope they’ll go away or that the AC will just last long enough to get through the summer. When a system is broken, running it all summer is exactly the thing that will destroy it for good. So pay attention to your AC this summer. Here are a few warning signs that you might need to think about replacing your AC before things come to a head:
Your AC Is More Than Ten Years Old
If your AC is old enough to enter the fifth grade, it’s time for a new one. If you’re lucky enough to have an old AC that works great, take advantage of your good fortune and use the time to plan a new system installation in a way that works for you and your budget. Systems this old are common, and they also fail all the time, often without warning. Entering a summer with an AC that’s in the double digits is a real roll of the dice for any homeowner. The good news is that newer AC systems have a much longer lifespan —from 15 to 20 years — meaning that the odds will be stacked in your favor for years to come.
Your System Isn’t Cooling As Well As It Used To
As we can attest, everything slows down with age. We’ve been in this business since the 90s, and we’re not a spry as we used to be — although we have a wealth of experience that makes up for it. Unfortunately, AC systems can make no such claim. And despite the attention of a dutiful homeowner and dedicated HVAC maintenance techs, eventually your AC just won’t work as well as it once did. This becomes a game of diminishing returns: you pay more money each month to run a less efficient system. As with sign #1, this is a great time to take advantage of the knowledge that replacement is in the near(ish) future and plan for your AC replacement.
The System Has Had More Than One Major Repair Since 2014
Even the best of AC systems sometimes require extensive work, and it’s not unusual for a big repair job to come along now and again. But if that repair job is followed by another one, and another one, and another one…it’s just not worth fixing that often. You’d save money, time, and stress by just replacing a system that’s clearly on the way out and going to be unreliable until the day it kicks the bucket.
Tune-Ups Aren’t Helping Much
Preventative maintenance is something we testify by here at Bell Brothers, and our tune-ups are the best in the business. But even they can’t work miracles (well, not all the time), and a regular tune-up shouldn’t result in repairs. Here’s the thing: we’re “the no surprise guys” and that means when we do a tune-up and find something else wrong, we fix it without jacking up the price. But if we find “something else wrong” every single time we do a tune-up, you’re basically in the same camp as sign #3. And that’s not a good camp to be in. If regular tune-ups always lead to more extensive repairs, it’s a sign your system is on shaky ground at best.
The System Starts and Stops Working Intermittently
This is a tried-and-true sign of a system about to kick the dust. One of these times, it’s going to stop working and not start again. Probably on the hottest day of the year.
An HVAC Pro Tells You Your System Is on Its Way Out
If you work with a trusted HVAC guy, then you believe what they say. And when they say, “You really need a new system,” then you really need a new system. That’s why it’s important to build a good relationship with an honest contractor — you know they won’t lie to you or try to drum up more business when nothing’s actually wrong. We have great relationships with our clients, and if you have a great relationship with your HVAC guy, then you should trust them and believe them when they say your system is about to go downhill fast.
If your system is showing any of the signs on this list, you may still have some time to make arrangements. But you do need to start thinking about the future, and that planning should start with a call to an HVAC contractor you trust. They’ll answer any questions, help you find the right gameplan, and assist you in securing any rebates or financing necessary to make that plan work for you and your family. Don’t avoid the inevitable. Start thinking now, and get the drop on AC woes this summer.