Whether it is the summer or the winter when it happens, you definitely don’t want your air conditioning system to die. It could happen without you even being aware of it until you need it and suddenly discover that it has breathed its last cool breath. Keeping abreast of the air conditioning system’s health is well worth the effort. With a watchful eye to your system’s behavior, you will be in great shape.
Here are a few things to be aware of to help keep your air conditioning system up to snuff:
- Check the manufacturer’s date – Like everything else, aging can be a determining factor in your air conditioning system’s efficiency and impending doom. The expected lifespan of a central air system is from 10 to 15 years. The manufacturer’s plate, located on the rear or side of the A/C unit may provide you with the date of manufacture. If you cannot find the manufacturer’s date, take note of the model number and serial number. Call the manufacturer and inquire about the unit’s age. You should be able to find the company’s toll-free number online. If your unit or system is older than ten years, you will want to consider updating to a new system as soon as possible.
- Check for humidity – If the room seems humid with the A/C unit on, the evaporator coil is losing its effectiveness. Other coil problems include mold or icing. If you see any of those issues, it is time to upgrade to a new system.
- How is the Meter Running? – Each unit and system has a SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, which determines your system’s efficiency. When a system or unit reaches the ten-year mark, its SEER drops quite a bit. Each incremental drop in SEER equals as much as a nine percent decrease in efficiency. The first thing you may notice is an unexpected increase in watt usage, resulting in a higher electric bill. If you have ruled out all other possibilities and your utility bill is inordinately high, your air conditioning is probably dragging you down.
While it’s easier to tell in the summer if your air conditioning system is due for an upgrade, that’s also when you need it the most. Doing your due diligence early in the season can help you avoid the worst case scenario.