Should I Replace My Air Conditioner? (Updated)

Oh to have a brand new, high-efficient air conditioner! Wouldn’t that be great?

should I replace my air conditioner

But do you really need to replace your current air conditioner? Let’s go over some of the signs that indicate it might be time to replace your air conditioner, and also some of the benefits of replacement. We will also share some signs that indicate that you do not need a new air conditioner.

Benefits Of Replacing Your Air Conditioner

Like anything that is manufactured, the newer models and products are usually better than the previously produced models. From the newest cell phones and computers to the newest vehicles being produced. There are continual improvements and breakthroughs in the production, operation and efficiency of these products. The same holds true for air conditioning (and heating) units:

Improved Efficiency

Today’s ac units are much more efficient than those of the past. This means that your average ac unit that is purchased today produces the same amount of cold air (and more in many cases) as the older units, while using less energy. This equates to lower energy bills for the owner. If your current air conditioning unit has a SEER rating of under 14, then a newer ac unit would be more energy efficient. Today’s units minimum SEER rating is 14. In 2023 the minimum SEER rating will bump up to 14-15 depending on the geographical area and the type of unit (AC unit or Heat Pump).

Comforting Warranties

Another plus? A new air conditioner comes with a new warranty. It’s nice and comforting to know that your new purchase is covered under warranty isn’t it?

Most heating and air conditioning manufacturers supply up to a 10 year warranty on the ac unit and it’s parts. And many times, some of the critical parts are warrantied for an even longer period of time. On top of that, an extended labor and parts warranty can also be purchased from your local HVAC contractor in most cases.

Cheaper Refrigerant

The air conditioners that are produced today no longer use the old R22 refrigerant. The units produced today are usually made to use a newer, cheaper R410a refrigerant and other more modern options, such as the newest R454B refrigerant.

R410a refrigerant, in most cases, is about half the price of the old R22 refrigerant (if you can even find it). So, over time, the owner will save money on the cost of servicing and maintenance with a newer ac unit. These newer refrigerants also are an improvement in eco-friendliness.

R22 was phased out in 2020 and R410a will also begin a phase out in new systems in 2023 to bring in a more safer and eco-friendly refrigerant (R454B). See more information on this below.

Reduced Repair Costs

With a new air conditioner comes new parts. Parts break down over time of repeated use and operation. Therefore, the need for ac repair should be far less likely when compared to an older unit. And as mentioned earlier, warranties on new units cover much of the costs associated with repairs.

Looking for some new unit price estimates? Check out our article:

Furnace and AC Replacement Cost

So, When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

when to replace air conditioner

I’m going to share some signs that can be good indicators that it might be time to consider replacing your ac unit, especially if you are experiencing all or most of the signs listed here.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Replace Your AC Unit?

Increased Repair Costs

If your ac unit seems to be malfunctioning and not operating properly on a fairly consistent basis, it might be wise to consider buying a new air conditioner. This can be a sign that the parts are breaking down. These repair costs can really begin to add up over time and become a “money pit”.

Increased Energy Bills

When an air conditioner becomes less and less efficient, normally it will be noticeable on the energy/utility bill. If you notice a steady increase in the energy bill, with no real change in the load or use of the unit, then its probably a good indicator that the unit is losing efficiency and costing you more money. At the same time, you might notice that the air conditioner isn’t able to keep your home or business cool and as comfortable as it used to. This can also be an indicator that the unit is wearing out.

  • Just a quick note: If your air conditioner seems to be running all of the time, then that can also be a sign that your unit might need replacing. The unit itself might actually be undersized for the area that is being cooled. If the correct size ac unit isn’t being used, then the ac unit will run constantly in an attempt to keep the area at the set temperature. Now, this problem can also be linked to other problems, such as a faulty thermostat. So have your local HVAC service provider help to determine the root cause.

Age Of Unit

Most air conditioning systems can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Of course, there are exceptions to these numbers on both sides. But generally speaking, if your air conditioner is 10 to 15 years old, it would be wise to begin to consider the cost of replacing the unit while also watching for other indicators to arise.

Your Unit Uses R22 or R410a Refrigerant

If your unit uses R22 refrigerant or R410a refrigerant, it’d be a wise decision to consider replacing it. R22, or Freon, was phased out and made illegal on January 1, 2020. Newer units are using the EPA accepted refrigerant, R410A, which was the replacement refrigerant for R22. These refrigerants are not compatible or interchangeable.

The new problem is that the R410a refrigerant is now being phased out and will be no longer recommended for use as of January 1, 2023. You might still be able to get it for your unit, but it will likely be much more costly than the newer recommended refrigerants, such as R454B, that are coming out in 2023.

Find out more on the R22 phase out.

“If It Isn’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

With all of that said, if your air conditioning unit is still operating properly and you aren’t experiencing some of the indicators listed above, then there’s really no reason to jump the gun on replacing your air conditioning unit. Just because the average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is 10 to 15 years, that doesn’t mean that your unit’s lifespan can’t surpass that time period.

I hope this information has helped you in gathering an idea of when it’s time to replace your air conditioner. If you think it might be that time, we’d love to come out and give you a free estimate. We’ve been serving the Jackson TN and surrounding areas for over 40 years in ac installation and replacement services. Simply give us a call at 731-300-1030. There is no obligation or strings attached. It’s 100% free, we promise.

At, Cagle Service Heating and Air, your satisfaction is our goal. We look forward to serving you!

1 thought on “Should I Replace My Air Conditioner? (Updated)”

  1. My air conditioner has been cooling our home very unevenly and our energy bills seem to be through the roof. Your information that if I get a new air conditioner, I should be able to find one with a SEER rating above 14 is really helpful. I think that I saw a Carrier air conditioner that had a SEER rating over 17, so I think I should look in that range.

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