Why The Life Cycle Of Your A/C System Matters

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As with almost any system in your home, knowing where an air conditioning unit is at in its life cycle makes a difference in how you'll deal with. The age of a system tells you a lot about its level of efficiency, expectations for long-term survival and need for maintenance. These are the concerns you should have at each stage.

New

You'll likely never be happier with a unit than just after the air conditioning installation contractor has fired it up for the first time. It can be tempting to be complacent at this stage because the entire point of getting a new system is to not have to worry about it. Resist that impulse and invest in regular maintenance of your A/C configuration from the beginning.

With consistent attention, a new air conditioning installation can be expected to operate reasonably well for between 10 and 30 years. The biggest factor that hurts long-term performance and survival is what happens to the outdoor components, particularly the condenser. This is why it's wise to talk with a contractor about optimal placement for your unit. By keeping it away from sources of moisture and debris, you may be able to get an extra 5 to 10 years out of your setup.

Aging

By the time an A/C unit has been in operation for about five years, you can start to think of it as getting old. You should ask a professional to take a look at the state of minor components, such as the duct system, to see that everything is still sealed and clear. An air conditioning maintenance contractor can also check to see that performance is still at desirable levels.

Old

The age of an A/C unit matters. Even if a setup is running close to as well as the day it was installed, there's a good chance that improvements in system efficiency over the last 20 years have gotten to the point you might want to consider an air conditioning replacement project. A contractor can help you determine whether it might be cost-effective to replace a system or keep fixing it.

You should keep in mind that you don't want to be stuck doing air conditioning replacement work in the middle of a heat wave. Talking with a contractor will help you get a sense of whether components are still available for your unit and plan ahead for system obsolescence.

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