If you remembered to have your annual spring air conditioning tune-up in Maryland, you probably had a problem-free summer of cooling. That’s what these regular maintenance visits are designed to do: prevent repairs from cropping up, stop abrupt breakdowns, and keep the AC from becoming more expensive to operate.
Before your air conditioning system goes off for a few months, it’s a good time to analyze its performance during the previous season and look forward to the future. And the future may be a new air conditioning system installation.
Your AC’s Age
The most important factor to know about your air conditioner when it comes to analyzing its past performance is how old it is. On most air conditioners, the manufacture date is listed on a plate located on the back of the condenser (the outdoor unit). If you can’t find a manufacture date, write down the serial number information and call us. We can use the number to tell you the age of the system.
Most air conditioners can last between 10 to 15 years provided they have regular maintenance. (Chop that number in half without maintenance. Just another reminder of why this is a vital service.) When your AC is in the 10–15-year range, take other indications of wear and inefficiency more seriously. If the AC is over 15 years old, we recommend having a replacement soon so you’ll get ahead of other potential problems.
The Cost to Run the AC
The standard cost to run an air conditioner is between 6¢ to 88¢ per hour, depending on numerous factors, such as its size. If you have a 4-ton air conditioning system (approximately 48,000 BTUs) of cooling, you can expect to pay around 64¢ per hour to run it. You can look over your history of bills over the years to get a good sense of how much you’ve been paying on average. If the cost is rising—such as paying more than $1 an hour to run the AC—it’s a sign the system is declining. Repairs may fix it, but if the AC is getting old, it’s a good time to replace it.
The Frequency and Cost of Repairs
An air conditioner should need few to no repairs during the first half of its service life. As it gets older, the frequency will increase, but if you are calling for repairs more than once a season, that’s too often. If the cost to keep the AC running annually with repairs is more than $500, that’s also a sign you’re throwing money away on a dying system. It’s better to invest in a newer AC than to keep repairing the old one.
Did the air conditioner keep your house as cool as you expected it to during the summer? If not, what was wrong? Was it something you were able to fix with professional help? Did the problem come back afterward? Is cooling around the house uneven? We know that’s plenty of questions to ask, but paying attention to any slip in cooling quality from an air conditioner will tell you it’s time to get help, either to repair the system or plan a fall replacement.
At Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc., “We Take Pride in Your Comfort.” Schedule service to repair or replace your AC today.