Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Replacing or Repairing Your Air Conditioner Unit 101 | All You Need to Know

Replacing or Repairing Your Air Conditioner Unit

The arrival of summer means switching on the air conditioner to enjoy the cooler indoor conditions. 

But first, you’ll have to clean it or call a professional company for maintenance since it was sitting unused for the cold winter months. Start by checking all the components thoroughly to see how they are holding up. 

If the damage is extensive, you may need to exchange the unit for a new one. But how will you know whether to opt for repair or replacement? 

We’ve got you covered with our informative guide, discussing all the essential factors to help you make the right call. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Replacing or Repairing Your Air Conditioner Unit

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Points To Remember  

You must remember that the air conditioner remained unused throughout winter, so it might take time to get the desired output. If it fails to cool the room, don’t panic or rush to purchase a new unit. 

Even little changes to your surroundings can have an impact on its performance. Hence, look at all the factors mentioned below to get an idea of what you’re dealing with. 

If push comes to shove, you may then start looking at new units. 

  1. How Old Is Your Unit? 

A good starting point would be to consider the lifespan of your unit. The average air conditioner usually lasts 15-20 years, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t last long. 

It would be best to check the date and time of installation, which the professional team usually mentions during assembly. In case you fail to find the details, call the brand’s dedicated customer service, and they will get back to you. 

The life expectancy of any model is simply a period against which you can judge its quality. While some units fizzle out before their due date, others may still have a couple of years left with them. 

Now, the question is, does it live up to its billing even in the heat? If you find the air conditioner struggling with performance, call a maintenance service for repairs. 

  1. Check The Warranty Period 

Some air conditioners have an extended warranty period, so if you’re lucky, it might be possible to carry out repairs. That said, there’s still no guarantee that it will perform at optimum output. 

After the maintenance team leaves, it will take a couple of days to ascertain whether the repairs made any difference. In case there is no change in its output, you have two choices – to opt for further repairs or purchase a new unit. 

The former option necessitates that you look at the total cost of repairs and compare it to the price of a new air conditioner. It’s also important to find out how many parts you need to replace because some of the components might be hard to find. 

  1. Frequent Replacements Are A Hassle 

A one-time servicing at the end of winter proves sufficient, ensuring that the air conditioner performs at optimum level throughout summer. Similarly, its various components don’t need much maintenance, and you shouldn’t have to clean the filters more than twice. 

Naturally, if the servicing team has to replace different parts every year, it means that the unit is deteriorating. Be it external factors or interior changes; damaged parts signify that the air conditioner cannot cope with the daily demands. 

Moreover, making frequent repairs is equivalent to throwing your money down the gutter. And frankly, the latter is easier.  

  1. Is It The Right Size? 

Rather than blaming the company or their maintenance staff, perhaps it’s time for some introspection. For instance, did you happen to renovate your room, increasing its size? Or, to save a few bucks, did you opt for a smaller unit? 

Both these factors impact the performance of the model. Understandably, a smaller unit will not be suitable for a large room, leaving you huffing and puffing throughout the day. What you need is an air conditioner that can cool large rooms quickly. 

So, your only option is to return the current model and think big about your next purchase. 

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  1. Monitor The Electric Bill 

We feel the impact of global warming daily. Scorching heat during the summer months is just one of the many environmental factors impacting your home lifestyle. As more people seek comfort in air-conditioned rooms, modern units must lower the room temperature despite outdoor conditions. 

Now, it’s not feasible to keep the air conditioner running throughout the day. Hence, the latest machines are energy-efficient, increasing the hours of use as much as possible. 

We suggest that you monitor your electric bills to find out if there’s any sharp rise in expenditure. Usually, energy-efficient units consume less power, so any change in the overall consumption is a sign that something’s wrong. 

It’s also possible that the air conditioner fails to sufficiently cool your home, but you still receive an exorbitant electric bill. All these factors point towards an issue, resulting in repair or even replacement, depending on the model’s condition. 

  1. What’s That Noise? 

You switch on your air conditioner and lay down for a quick nap. But instead of dozing off, you’re awoken by an irritating noise coming from the machine. 

There could be many reasons why your air conditioner emits a sound, like loose or damaged parts. So, you need to bring the machine down and unscrew the body looking for signs of wear and tear. If you can’t find anything wrong, call an AC servicing team to have a look. 

More often than not, replacing old parts solves the issue. Your air conditioner will operate noiselessly, cooling your room in no time. And once you know the source of the problem, it would help to keep extra components at hand. 

  1. Excessive Dust 

As mentioned, you don’t need to spend much time on maintenance. While the entire unit requires a wash down after months of unuse, it’s mostly the filters that get dirty. As dust accumulates on them, it blocks the airflow, meaning the machine takes longer to cool the room. 

In case the unit fails to perform at the optimum level, it would be a good idea to check the filters. Despite heavy use, the filters don’t get dirty quickly, so frequent cleaning is a sign that your air conditioner has an issue. 

You can try to replace the filters, which usually solves the problem. But it might also mean that your unit is old or doesn’t have the required load-bearing capacity. So, a new purchase may not be a bad idea. 

  1. Foul Smell 

One of the foremost indications of a broken air conditioner is foul odor. There could be several reasons for this: mold accumulation, burning dust particles, or the wires melting. 

Mold usually attacks the AC duct, and you need to vacuum it out and clean the drainpipe to solve the problem. Similarly, dusting and cleaning the components before using your air conditioner for the summer keeps the parts in top shape. 

However, melting wires are of serious concern, and you mustn’t wait to contact a professional repair service. The silver lining is that none of these issues require replacing the unit, provided the problems don’t persist. In which case your only choice would be to buy a better model. 

  1. Debris Accumulation 

Just as mold can grow inside the AC duct, it’s also possible that debris might be blocking the drainpipe, causing the unit to malfunction. You need to check both the internal pipeline and the drainpipe to locate the source of the problem. 

In some cases, the pipeline connects to the bathroom sewer system, which only a professional team can fix. But if you’re lucky and the issue is in the AC drain line, all you need to do is vacuum out whatever is inside the pipe. Then add a little bit of white vinegar to prevent further mold growth. 

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  1. Unbearable Indoor Conditions 

The stark difference between interior and exterior conditions is apparent when you enter an air-conditioned room. Keeping aside the raging heat outdoors, modern air conditioners can deal with a sharp rise in temperature. So, if you’re feeling uncomfortable despite the unit running, it’s not good news. 

Any one of the problems discussed above could be a factor affecting its performance. You can try to find a solution yourself or call customer service. And after considering the pros and cons of repair and replacement, you’ll be better placed to make an informed decision. 

  1. Choosing The Right Refrigerant 

Due to environmental factors like global warming, manufacturers have started using eco-friendly refrigerants in air conditioners. A couple of years back, companies added R-22 as their preferred refrigerant, but it contains high amounts of chlorine. 

Hence, all brands have switched to R-410AM, which is good for the environment and helps run air conditioners at optimum capacity. However, if you have a slightly older model, it’s likely that it still has the old refrigerant. 

It would be best to switch refrigerants because delaying may lead to issues in the near future. You’ll find it difficult to bear the cost of repairs as time goes on. 

Longevity Of Different Parts 

So far, we’ve discussed all the essential factors to help you determine whether you need to replace or repair an air conditioner. Also, we’ve briefly mentioned the average lifespan of the unit; it’s time now to look at how long individual components last. 

When you unscrew an air conditioner and peek inside, you’ll find that it has three major components – the compressor, evaporator coil, and condenser coil. We’ll discuss these first, followed by its other components. 

  • Essential Components

  • Evaporator Coil 

The evaporator coil is located inside the air handler or on top of the furnace. Its job is to absorb heat and send it to the compressor for cooling. 

Modern units use evaporator coils made from aluminum, copper, or steel, guaranteeing longevity for daily use. That said, after 10-12 years, the refrigerant starts leaking, meaning you will need to replace the coils. Even for well-maintained units, the evaporator doesn’t last longer than 15 years. 

  • Compressor 

The compressor acts as the link between the indoor and outdoor coils by pumping refrigerants. A closer inspection reveals that it has both mechanical and electrical components, ensuring that it lasts over 20 years in some cases. On the flip side, there is a possibility that it may fizzle out after 12 years, so you mustn’t neglect maintenance. 

Since they have both sets of components, compressors usually short circuit or lock up internally. Moreover, there is no possibility of repairs, so you’ll have to replace it.  

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  • Condenser Coil 

Finally, let’s discuss the condenser coil located on the outer body of the air conditioner. It helps dissipate the heat absorbed by the evaporator, allowing the machine to cool quickly. 

The best aspect of condensers is that it’s the least likely to encounter issues, thereby guaranteeing a longer lifespan. If the need does arise to replace the condenser coil, the cost is roughly the same as fixing the evaporator.

  • Other Components 

  • Contractor 

You must have noticed that the air conditioner cuts off the power when the room reaches the desired temperature. This is due to the contractor, which is responsible for turning the system on/off. 

The normal voltage of a contractor for residential purposes is 240V. Hence, it deteriorates over time due to burning and metal pits forming on the surface. So, we suggest replacing it right away, as a damaged contractor impacts the electric supply. 

  • Capacitor 

Another component that’s part of the electric supply is the capacitor. As electricity reaches the air conditioner in a straight line, it meets the capacitor, forming a second line. Long story short, the capacitor manages electrical output depending on your requirement. 

Although the capacitor doesn’t have problems of its own, dust accumulation, dirty coils, and the blazing sun affects its quality. 

  • Fan Motor 

Every air conditioner has a fan, drawing cool air from the condenser to direct it across the room. But it isn’t very sturdy as various factors damage the blades. For example, if heavy dust gathers on the condenser, it reduces the efficiency of the fan, causing it to lock up. 

Furthermore, after several years you may find the blades bending due to regular use. Although it’s difficult to ascertain a time frame, you’ll need to replace the fan motor and old blades after 10-12 years.  

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How Efficient Is Your Air Conditioner? 

A problem for users is the inability to judge the efficiency of their air conditioner. So, how will you conclude whether your AC model is performing at maximum capacity? 

You can measure the efficiency of any air conditioner by finding out its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. In other words, it’s the ratio of the heat removed to the energy flowing into the system, determining the unit’s performance. 

The minimum SEER rating is 8, but there is no maximum value. However, most residential units have a SEER rating between 22 and 25. 

You should know that the SEER rating is one of many factors that help ascertain your air conditioner’s worth. All the factors that we’ve discussed above invariably impact the efficiency rating. 

Older models, in particular, have a much lower value compared to modern units. So, when the rating drops drastically, don’t hesitate to buy a new model. 

Advantages Of A New Unit 

Now, to make up your mind about a possible purchase, it’s important to know how you will benefit from a new AC. You can note the points mentioned here to make an informed decision. 

  1. Reduced Electric Bills 

You will have to pay significantly lower electric bills. Most modern models reduce electricity consumption without compromising on their cooling ability, so you can leave them running for extended durations. Despite the lower costs, the units deliver high efficiency. 

  1. Comfortable Living 

Even if the sun is blazing outside, you can enjoy the comfort of your home, thanks to modern air conditioners. We realize how challenging it is to wait for the room temperature to come down. Plus, with older units, there’s no guarantee that it will. 

On the other hand, any latest model will cool fast, delivering comfort after a few minutes. 

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  1. Noiseless Performance 

As the air conditioner gets older, you’ll start seeing minor issues cropping up now and then. One of the most common problems is noise emission, caused due to vibration or damaged components. 

With the latest unit, you can sleep peacefully as it won’t make any noise, offering the best experience. 

  1. Stunning Design 

An often overlooked but equally important aspect is the design of the modern air conditioner. Sleek and elegant units have replaced bulky models on the market, proving inconspicuous when installed in any room. 

Moreover, the intricate design complements your interior decor, delivering a vibrant appearance. You can install it on the wall and match the unit’s color to that of the surroundings. 

  1. Improved Warranty 

You’ll find that all companies provide a warranty of at least ten years, including the labor cost. So, after purchasing a new unit, you can rest easy as a professional team will take care of all repairs and maintenance. 

Customers can also call the helpline number whenever needed to schedule an appointment with the air conditioner repair team. They also take care of replacing worn-out parts, saving you the hassle of buying the necessary components. 

Summing Up 

That’s all there is to know about replacing and repairing an air conditioner unit. 

We’ve tried to cover the topic from several angles, ensuring that you’ve all the information at your disposal. Hopefully, now you’re confident about what to do, with a clear idea about the pros and cons to make an informed decision. 

Take care, and see you soon!

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Anna Vaughn

Anna Vaughn

Immense painting experience recommends Anna. She shaped The Little Painters, a small local painting workshop for children that invites the little ones to explore painting through simple and creative means in a safe, loving and extremely colorful environment. In her home panting studio she plays with all paint mediums but watercolor is her expertise.

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