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Thread: When should you replace your central air conditioner units?

  1. #1
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    When should you replace your central air conditioner units?

    My house was built in 2005 and still has its original 3 central air conditioning units, one for each floor. They work fine but I wonder, at what point would you think they should be replaced?
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    IMO, unless they fail or are requiring service excessively you will be hard pressed to gain enough efficiency improvement to justify new units.
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
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    Mine was installed in 1994.
    I cross my fingers every summer since we bought the house in 2011....so far so good!

  4. #4
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    If they get to a point where maintenance is an issue or its seer value is so low that the power savings would pay for the new equipment.

  5. #5
    All the units you guys have and mine are more than likely R-22 judging by their age. They can't even repair(add refrigerant) these units anymore. All new units contain R-410A, so when the time comes, it's an all new system. You can't replace a condenser, evaporator coil, or compressor to try and nurse it along for a few more seasons.
    Back to the original question, usually15-20 years depending on all the usual variables, location, hours of use, etc.
    Mine is 14 years old and I've already looked into it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    My house was built in 2005 and still has its original 3 central air conditioning units, one for each floor. They work fine but I wonder, at what point would you think they should be replaced?
    I replace it if it seriously breaks or when doing a major renovation if it has some age on it.

    I had a new Trane put in a few years ago during a major remodeling. The old unit was well over 30 years old and still heating and cooling nicely. The HVAC guy was surprised the old one was a large commercial unit, perhaps a reason for it's long life. We replaced it with a similar commercial unit.

    In the previous house I replaced the outside unit when the compressor failed, out of warranty.

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    One of the issues with waiting is your A/C might go out during the hottest time of year when you can't even get an appointment for a couple of weeks. The OP has three units so they could probably get by with one dead unit for a while. This year there is a major issue even getting replacement A/C systems. It is taking upwards of a month to get equipment where it has usually been just drive over to the supply house and pick the equipment up.

    I have told my parents they really should replace their 27 year old air conditioner before it fails. Me personally I probably wouldn't go more than 20 years max for myself. My furnace, A/C, and duct work was installed in 2014 so I should be good for a while yet.

  8. #8
    We replaced an 18 year old unit a few years ago, the cooling fan motor went out. It was still working okay otherwise but decided to change it out. The repair guy showed me one test he recommends for the do-it-yourselfer: Check the amperage draw... the old one was pulling over 12 amps, the new one was less than 8-
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  9. #9
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    I think only if one needed a couple of major parts, in the same year, other than capacitors, or it used some old form of refrigerant that I don't mess with anymore.

  10. #10
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    If you are concerned have a service company check it out.

  11. #11
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    A few years ago we replaced our 20 year old gas furnace and AC. I tracked gas usage in the winter and kWh in the Summer. I was surprised to see a 15-20% reduction in energy use.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    All the units you guys have and mine are more than likely R-22 judging by their age. They can't even repair(add refrigerant) these units anymore.
    WRONG ANSWER! Yes you can service older units, using "blends" to replace R-22. Google "Replacement for R-22" and see what pops up. Our old unit (Carrier heat pump,) replace two summers ago with a Goodman. Second HP (also Carrier) replaced last summer with another Goodman. Power bill has been cut in HALF, plus house is more comfortable. FYI, both HP's were about 40 years old. When bought, they were "top of the line" models.

  13. #13
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    A lot of HVAC contractors still have R22 in stock, although one guy charges $200 per pound. If you need refrigerant you almost always have a leak. It often isn’t worth it to fix a leak in an old system unless the leak is obvious and easy to fix.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    All the units you guys have and mine are more than likely R-22 judging by their age. They can't even repair(add refrigerant) these units anymore. All new units contain R-410A, so when the time comes, it's an all new system. You can't replace a condenser, evaporator coil, or compressor to try and nurse it along for a few more seasons.
    Back to the original question, usually15-20 years depending on all the usual variables, location, hours of use, etc.
    Mine is 14 years old and I've already looked into it.
    R-22 is not being manufactured any more and can't be imported (legally). But it can be recovered from old units and sold. The price is fairly high, however. So you can get your old unit serviced but eventually the cost of R-22 will be too high and you'll replace your unit.

    @Dennis Thompson - air conditioners seem to fail during the hottest weather. But since you have three units, you can still stay cool. If you're going to keep three units when you replace, I'd probably choose the one you use the most and replace it in the off-season when you can get a better price. That way, you'll know you have one unit to keep you cool.

    Air conditioners are rated in SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). At one time a SEER 13 was considered pretty good. Today, you can get units up to maybe 20 but they're expensive, I'd go with one rated maybe 16.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 07-06-2021 at 11:16 PM.
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  15. #15
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    I left out one factor. If I was worried about one being long in tooth enough to be close to losing its refrigerant to the atmosphere, I'd recover the refrigerant, and commit it to scrap metal. I wouldn't be running one with R22 this late.

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