4 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

Posted on: 6 February 2019

Like all appliances, air conditioners don't last forever and waiting for it to break down during a heat wave can leave you in an uncomfortable situation for several days or longer. It's important to be aware of common signs your unit is nearing the end of its life before you have an emergency situation.

Higher Bills

If you've noticed your energy bills going up during months you run your air conditioner, it may be time to invest in a replacement. According to the National Association of Home Builders, air conditioners typically only last between 10 and 15 years. The older your unit, the less efficient it is. Even if you bought a high-efficiency unit at the time you installed it, air conditioners lose efficiency over time, and the harder it has to work, the more it's going to show up on your monthly bill.

Airflow Issues

Your air conditioner should start pumping out cold air within a few minutes of turning it on. If it doesn't, it might not be working properly. Even if the air is cold, if it's not circulating well and keeping an even temperature throughout your home, the compressor may be on its last legs. Make sure to check that your thermostat is working properly and that you don't have clogged ducts. Regular maintenance and tune-ups help prevent these problems, so if you've had it serviced recently, a new unit may be the best option.


If you see a lot of moisture buildup or leakage around your unit, it may be due to a refrigerant leak. This causes your air conditioner to work harder. Even if it's just water, your air conditioner shouldn't be dripping or soaked. If it is, replacing the whole unit might be the most cost efficient option in the long run. Don't let a moisture problem go too long—any wet areas provide a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can be a major health hazard.

Odd Sounds or Smells

Even if your air conditioner is older, it shouldn't be running so loudly that you constantly notice it. Strange sounds like grinding or squealing are also signs something isn't quite right and if your unit is older, it might not be worth spending the money to have it repaired. Strange smells, especially of mold or mildew, are another sign to get an HVAC technician out to look at your AC as soon as possible. If you smell any type of burning or smokey smell, power your unit completely off until you have it serviced or replaced.

When you've decided it's time for an air conditioner replacement, call local HVAC contractors for an estimate and try to replace it before the warmest months hit. You may be able to score a deal this way.