If your air conditioning unit is close to ten years old or older, you may want to consider replacing it rather than repairing it. Heating and cooling costs account for approximately 44% of utility costs, and if you pay more than the average for your area, your air conditioning system may not work effectively. Air conditioning units can last a surprisingly long time, but they can also break unexpectedly. You can expect to replace an air conditioner unit every 10 to 15 years, unless you have problems with the unit.
Air conditioning efficiency is measured by what is called a SEER rating or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. If your air conditioner is less than 10 years old, well maintained, and hasn't experienced any major faults, it may be best to repair the unit. The compressor is located inside the air conditioner and pumps the refrigerant to and from the heat exchange parts, the indoor and outdoor coils. Ultimately, however, you decide if you want to repair or replace your air conditioning unit.
These noises are often the reflection of a serious problem, such as a belt slipping out of place or the motor bearings being broken, which could result in a more expensive repair or the need to replace it if not fixed right away. Depending on how old the system is, there are many advances in home comfort that could completely transform the air, such as dramatically improved efficiency, variable speed and capacity units, innovations in indoor air quality, zoning technology that allows you to control temperatures in different parts of your home, and smart thermostats with the amazing ability to monitor the sensors of all your HVAC equipment to react, diagnose, and fix problems. The time to replace the air conditioner depends on whether you start to notice that your cooling system is working less efficiently than before or that you notice that the temperature is not being adjusted properly. While this is an aesthetic consideration, not related to the operation of the air conditioner, it can be important.
If you decide to repair it, simply call your HVAC contractor and tell them you're ready to take care of the repair. Not only do air conditioners break down, but there are certain components of every HVAC machine that will have a higher failure rate under normal operating conditions. In addition, maintaining the system by eliminating debris, changing filters regularly, and eliminating air leaks can preserve the lifespan of the air conditioning system. Eventually, if you realize that you're paying to have the same system repaired multiple times, it might be time to throw in the towel.
If you don't plan on selling it anytime soon, having the peace of mind of having a new unit and an extended warranty may be reason enough to consider replacing the air conditioner. And all of the latest advances can make the air only feel the way you want it to feel.