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There are multiple reasons to consider replacing an old unit with a new air conditioner installation, including its lack of efficiency. Efficiency aside, could an old air conditioner be harmful to your health? What happens to air conditioners if left unused? How do you know if your air conditioner is installed correctly? We answer these questions and more as we go through why it’s desirable to replace older models with a new air conditioner.
Investing in modern air conditioning in Southlake, TX, can vastly improve the heating and cooling within your home. Ignoring air conditioner maintenance can often lead to uneven cooling patterns, dirty filters, continuous blower operation, and loud noises, as well as numerous leaks.
Is an old air conditioner safe to use?
One of the most important questions we get asked as HVAC professionals is whether a unit is safe to use in its current state. Air conditioners showing extreme signs of wear and tear can pose various risks. An air conditioner in poor condition will be more expensive to run, less efficient, and have a higher breakdown risk. However, it can also be hazardous to your health to continue to use an old air conditioner rather than invest in a new air conditioner installation.
Some of the most common hazards associated with old air conditioners are:
- Unchecked bacterial growth. Over time, air conditioners naturally become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and other germs. The process of cooling hot air naturally creates a lot of moisture and condensation that, in a perfectly working new air conditioner, will channel away. An old, ill-maintained air conditioner will likely do a poor job of this, creating a damp, dark interior that’s extremely attractive to numerous bacteria and mold.
- Fire! Worn and outdated components may not be up to current fire safety standards. Faulty fans and degraded wiring can cause air conditioner fires. In a report by the National Fire Protection Association in 2017 about home fires, air conditioners were involved in 2,800 fires each summer from 2011 through 2015. While a small number, it still points to faulty air conditioners being a risk.
- Volatile chemicals. Old air conditioners may still use ozone-depleting chemicals, such as R-22. As of January 1st, 2010, R-22 has been off the market and replaced by more energy-efficient alternatives that are also more environmentally friendly. If the air conditioner is more than a decade old, you could find that it doesn’t use the most modern refrigerant.
- Respiratory issues. Some have linked the use of old air conditioners to decreased air quality and a prevalence of respiratory illnesses in residents. Asthma sufferers, for example, may see a noticeable increase in their flare-ups if an old air conditioner is in use.
These are just some of the crucial issues surrounding the health and safety of using old air conditioners instead of a new air conditioner installation. If you find yourself in dire need of an air conditioner, even an old one, you may want to consider what happens if your unit has been unused for a while.
What happens if your AC unit is unused for long periods?
If your existing air conditioner has not been switched on for a few months, you may wonder if it’s safe to switch it back on or if there’s any necessary maintenance or precautions required. Your main AC unit could have packed in and is awaiting repair, so you figure, perhaps you can dig out the old air conditioner from the garage and plug that in in the meantime?
Whether you’re safe to use an old air conditioner will depend on various factors. How long has it been out of use? Is it in overall good condition? If left unused for a few months, you could find that your old AC unit will be a perfectly fine stand-in while awaiting a new air conditioner installation. However, it’s best to take the following precautions:
- Check the compressor. You should clear any dust, debris, or weeds that have built up around your outdoor compressor unit before you turn on an old AC unit.
- Service the air conditioner. If you know it hasn’t undergone an inspection within the last six months to a year, it’s best to get an HVAC professional to investigate its key components.
- Use fan mode. Start the old AC in fan-only mode to drive out any dust build-up before using it as a cooling device. Run fan mode for approximately 10 minutes to determine whether it’s safe to crank it up to full operational capacity.
If an old air conditioner is not working as it should, sometimes it’s best to arrange for a new air conditioner installation and wait for a new unit rather than attempting to bodge job an old air conditioning solution in your Southlake, TX home.
What are the consequences of poor installation?
If you’ve tried to perform a new air conditioner installation without the help of a professional or chosen the wrong HVAC company, you might see the consequences of poor installation. A low-level issue that often has an easy fix is the lack of peak performance. Sometimes, installing a new air conditioner and not putting enough refrigerant in the system can lead to a less-than-impressive upgrade to your home’s cooling. Equally, too much refrigerant or refrigerant pipes that are too long can cause the new compressor to work excessively and fail earlier than expected.
A new air conditioner installation can lead to water damage. Air conditioners usually have at least one drip pan, sometimes called a condensation pan, which collects the water that’s generated while cooling your home. If no secondary pan is fitted during the installation process, you could see an overflow of water.
Luckily, you can rely on HVAC technicians from One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth to service old air conditioners and provide new air conditioner installation in Southlake, TX. We’re well-equipped to deal with air conditioning issues, routine maintenance, as well as larger air conditioner installation projects. Call us to find out if your old air conditioner is safe for use or arrange an installation service at any time.