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The heating and cooling system in your Fort Worth, TX home may not always perform as well as you’d like, and this can be for various reasons. An ineffective HVAC system will not give you the comfort you need on a cold winter’s day nor provide much-needed relief during humid Texan summers. Fortunately, booking a regular air conditioning service and keeping up with maintenance can help to keep your AC’s components in peak condition.
If you avoid regular air conditioning service and maintenance, you’ll find your air conditioner’s energy efficiency dropping over time, and your HVAC system may become irreparable much sooner.
Factors that affect your whole HVAC’s longevity include its:
- Unit size
- Air filter size
- Maintenance schedule
- Indoor air quality
1: Your Chosen Brand
The brand you choose will often be an indicator of how long the HVAC unit will last. The expected lifespan of a Goodman HVAC unit, for example, is anywhere between 10-15 years before an expensive coil or compressor failure occurs. Alternatively, a Carrier HVAC may last more than 15-25 years if maintained correctly. More expensive systems usually have higher quality parts and, as such, offer better performance and longer service life. Even HVAC models offered by industry-leading manufacturers such as Carrier, Bryant, and Trane require a regular air conditioning service, though!
2: Your Unit’s Size
Does size matter when it comes to AC? Absolutely! The air conditioner unit inside your Fort Worth, TX, home needs to meet your home’s space. An air conditioner that’s far too small will not be able to cope with cooling your full house, resulting in uneven heating and cooling, lower energy efficiency, and more frequent breakdowns through overuse as it tries to keep up with demand. A unit that’s far too large may exhibit what’s called short cycling. Short operation cycling occurs when your HVAC doesn’t need to be on for long before it meets the desired temperature. While you can appreciate it getting your home to temperature quicker, it will result in the HVAC shutting off and restarting multiple times throughout the day, which can negatively impact your energy bills.
If you’re unsure whether your air conditioner is the right size, ask an HVAC technician during an air conditioning service whether upgrading or downgrading will better benefit you and your home, as well as reduce the number of potential repairs. A unit that works too hard will suffer from a reduced life expectancy, as parts burn out quicker and require replacement.
3: Your Unit’s Air Filter Size
One swappable component that can affect the life expectancy of your HVAC system is the air filters. Many air conditioners require 1-inch-thick filters, although some units require filters of a specific size. If your filter is too thick, your system will find it harder to force air through, resulting in an overworked HVAC. Air filters should be perfectly sized, so they can keep dust, debris, dirt, and other contaminants from reducing the efficiency of your AC.
If you’ve got an incorrectly sized disposable filter, you may get this removed and replaced during an air conditioning service. Alternatively, if you’ve got a washable, reusable filter, you will find swapping it out for cleaning at regular intervals will help prolong the lifespan of your HVAC. It’s not only air conditioner filters that you need to be mindful of. Your furnace may also benefit from a correctly sized, regularly maintained air filter.
4: Your Unit’s Installation
One factor that may have a dramatic effect on your home’s HVAC is its installation, e.g., whether it was installed correctly, in the right place. If components are not installed snugly or installed in the wrong location, you may not see the energy savings you desire which has a knock-on effect on the HVAC’s lifespan. Keeping your HVAC unit in a shaded, cool location will help prevent the unit from overheating. A condenser unit that’s installed indoors, in an attic or garage, will also place limitations on your system, reducing its effectiveness and increasing the likelihood of repairs.
A professional, licensed, certified HVAC technician in Fort Worth, TX will install your new HVAC in the best location available. If you’re unsure whether your unit needs moving to improve its life expectancy, ask a technician during an air conditioning service.
5: Your Unit’s Maintenance Schedule
Maintenance is the most crucial factor that affects your HVAC unit’s lifespan. Whether you inspect components weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or never plays a huge role in when you need to replace your unit fully. You can often avoid unnecessary part degradation, possible breakdowns, and unexpected repairs if you arrange for a monthly air conditioning service to inspect all vital components, from the air filter to the thermostat.
6: Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Dirt and dust will reduce your home’s air quality, and if these build up in your HVAC system, then both your health and your bank balance are at a higher risk. Air contaminants not only increase the likelihood of airborne respiratory ailments, including allergies, but they can also cause a drop in your HVAC’s energy efficiency and the efficiency of your air conditioner especially. In addition to your regular air conditioning service, you may want to invest in indoor air quality assessments and duct cleaning services. These additional services can determine if any indoor pollutants could be reducing the lifespan of your unit.
Conditions That Affect HVAC Performance
Three conditions indicate how well your existing air conditioner and other HVAC components may perform. These three conditions help provide indicators on when to expect unit replacement: energy usage, age, and humidity. Even a well-maintained air conditioner that has a regular air conditioning service can begin to lose efficiency after a decade. Plus, if you notice that your unit is starting to leave more humidity behind while it operates, it may be time for replacement soon. If energy bill costs don’t improve after a tune-up during an air conditioning service, your unit could be at the end of its lifespan.
Indicators Your Air Conditioner Requires Replacement
Over your air conditioner’s lifespan, multiple issues may crop up. Each issue can have a long-term detrimental effect on its overall condition. While booking a regular air conditioning service can go a long way towards prolonging the inevitable, air conditioner replacement is just that, inevitable! So what are the key signs to look out for that your HVAC has reached the end of its lifespan and the indicators that it may be more cost-effective to replace the complete unit? What symptoms indicate you need to call for a repair service to replace parts?
1: The Thermostat Isn’t Working
Essentially, the thermostat is the command center for air conditioner operation. It should tell the AC how much cold air it needs to produce to get to the desired temperature. An incorrectly calibrated thermostat will result in the wrong ambient temperatures, but that’s not always a deal-breaker. An air conditioning service can tune up the thermostat, making sure the thermostat is detecting the correct temperatures and communicating this information effectively.
However, if your air conditioner is prone to short cycling, it’s possible that the thermostat cannot effectively determine if the system is on or off, and this can lead to the device not turning on when you need it. Because of the electrical components involved, it’s best to have a qualified HVAC technician investigate any issues. Depending on the cause of a faulty thermostat, your air conditioner unit may need replacing, e.g., if it’s continually short cycling and burning out components.
2: Strange Odors Manifest on Startup
Air conditioners, when operating correctly, are not intended to emit any particular smell. If you immediately notice a change in odor when the air conditioner starts up, your air conditioner could need repair. In some cases, an air conditioning service can resolve odor issues, especially if it’s a musty smell caused by an accumulation of dust. However, repeated musty odors can indicate more severe mold issues perpetuated by a leaky, damp air conditioner, for example. A burning smell is probably the most disconcerting odor to experience while an air conditioner unit is operating, as this indicates burned-out components or wires inside the unit. Not only does this reduce the effectiveness of the unit, but it could also be a fire hazard and result in the replacement of the entire unit if not resolved appropriately.
3: You Feel Warm Air
An air conditioner’s purpose is to lower ambient temperatures in your Fort Worth, TX home to a manageable level. Nobody wants their air conditioner to be blowing out warm air on hot, humid summer days, making the situation worse. If your air conditioner is sending out heated air when you need cooler air, you’ll need an HVAC technician to investigate and fix the cause.
4: You Don’t Feel Much Air Circulating
Much like issues that cause heated air, vents that exhibit weak airflow will need investigation. Chilly but weak airflow is just as problematic when it comes to the health of your air conditioner. It has numerous causes, including failing compressors or blocked ducts. An air conditioning service can eliminate poor airflow by clearing blockages or replacing compressors as needed.
5: You Spot A Water Leak
One of the more serious symptoms of a faulty air conditioner that requires replacement or an air conditioning service is if you notice leaking moisture. Freon, which is used in many air conditioners, is poisonous. If it’s leaking this fluid, it needs attention ASAP. Alternatively, moisture pooling could be condensation caused by broken or blocked tubes. Also, you might notice ice forming on the refrigerant lines inside the unit. In any case, the presence of water, or any other mysterious moisture, needs assessment. Any parts that leak should be replaced by a Fort Worth, TX professional promptly!
6: Its Age
As mentioned previously, air conditioners, like every other home appliance, have an expected lifespan. If you know your air conditioner is coming up to the decade milestone, you will need to be extra vigilant about booking a regular air conditioning service. Many units often fail just beyond the 10-year mark. Air conditioning technology improves quite consistently, so a new air conditioner will likely incorporate more modern technology that is cost-saving, energy-efficient, and often easy to use. The natural degradation of energy efficiency over time seen with older models and the increase in issues spotted with your AC unit will often determine that it’s time to replace a unit entirely.
7: Energy Bill Rises
While energy bill rises can sometimes occur because of a change by the energy supplier, it can also indicate that something is not quite right with your home’s HVAC. If energy bills are steadily increasing, numerous issues could be the culprit. Fixing damaged thermostats and repairing HVAC ductwork leaks can lower costs again, but some factors, such as advanced age, cannot be resolved through regular air conditioning service and maintenance. Purchasing a new AC unit that takes advantage of modern technology can help reduce costs to more manageable levels when there are no further fixes available.
8: More Frequent Callouts
While there’s no hard and fast rule for how many air conditioning services you should book before you decide it’s time to replace the unit, if your AC has required service at least once a month for the last few months, it might be time to consider a replacement. While there is often a large, upfront cost associated with buying and fitting new AC, it can be less stressful and easier to maintain than an older unit.
9: Excessive Noise
Many AC noises are undesirable and can indicate the need for replacement parts urgently. Grinding, scraping, or screeching, for example, indicate an issue with an out-of-place belt. Issues like these can cause costly damage to other components, as well as to interrupt the serenity of your Fort Worth, TX home.
Schedule your next air conditioning service with technicians from One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth to receive reliable, punctual, and thorough air conditioning inspections. With regular inspections, you can improve your HVAC’s lifespan and identify when a unit needs replacing sooner.