With adequate maintenance, your air conditioner can last 15 years or more. But even the most well- maintained air conditioner will need to be updated down the road.
When you’re getting started planning for air conditioning installation in the Bay Area, we realize that cost is at the top of your list of questions. The bright side is that buying a new air conditioner may be more economical than you are aware, due to rebates, our special offers and financing for qualified customers. You’ll also get better energy efficiency, which will typically pay off over its life span through cheaper electricity bills.
Here’s what to prepare for when you’re getting a new air conditioner.
When to Replace Your Air Conditioner
Knowing when to repair or replace your air conditioner can be difficult. Here’s what our pros recommend.
- Your air conditioner is more than 10 years old. While some might work longer, the majority of air conditioners last for around 15 years with regular maintenance. We suggest planning for air conditioning replacement around the 10-year mark. Even if you get a new one when it’s only a decade old, the U.S. Department of Energy says this swap could save you 20-40% on cooling costs.
- You’ve avoided routine maintenance for many years. Similar to a car, you cooling system needs annual air conditioning maintenance. Skipping this crucial service can result in reduced efficiency, more recurring repairs and even a shorter life span.
- Your air conditioner requires frequent or expensive repairs. Needing air conditioning repair is often the consequence of skipping maintenance. But as your air conditioner ages, it’s more likely to suffer a catastrophic malfunction. When repairs are more than half the cost of a new air conditioner, you should get a new one.
- Your house feels unpleasant. If your home feels too sticky or you’re having hot and cold spots in specific rooms, your air conditioner might be struggling to keep up. This is a clue it’s time to replace it.
- Your cooling bills are expensive. Your air conditioner gets less efficient as it ages. As a result, it may need to operate more repeatedly or longer to keep your house at your desired temp. Newer air conditioners have the latest energy-efficient technology to keep your home comfy and energy costs down.
- Your air conditioner has R-22 refrigerant. If your air conditioner was replaced before 2010, there’s a good chance it uses Freon. Also referred to as R-22, this refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its detrimental effects on the environment. You can carry on with using your air conditioner, but if it were to have a refrigerant leak, repairing that would be extraordinarly expensive. This is since R-22 is only available in limited, recycled amounts.
- Your air conditioner is less than 10 years old. If your air conditioner is newer, it’s smartest to repair it.
- Repairs aren’t common or reasonable. The best way to stop unanticipated repairs is to have annual work completed. But when repairs are only needed intermittently or are economical, repair your air conditioner.
- Your air conditioner has a valid warranty. Most air conditioners come with a 5- to 10-year limited warranty that usually covers the compressor. Your exact warranty length is up to your manufacturer, but it offers valuable protection in the event of a major failure. If your air conditioner is protected by warranty, we recommend fixing it.
Air Conditioner Cost
Most homeowners spend around $4,631 on a new air conditioner, based on national averages compiled by HomeGuide. Air conditioner cost averages often range from $3,350 to $5,912, but your precise cost could be different.
There are several factors that influence your total cost, like:
- The air conditioner model you install, as more energy-efficient ones are pricier.
- The size your space needs.
- If you need to install new ductwork, which can happen if your ductwork is dated or damaged.
We give free estimates at Contra Costa Heating & AC so you can be sure you’re getting a fantastic deal. And with our wide range of air conditioners, there’s an energy-efficient model that fits just about any budget.
Air Conditioner Size
Air conditioner size is crucial. A system that’s too small will have difficulty keeping your residence cool. And one that’s too big may turn on and off too often, or short cycle. This behavior can inflate your energy costs and wear your air conditioner out faster. This may also create temperature instabilities and make your home feel less comfortable.
At Contra Costa Heating & AC, our techs have many years of experience in correctly sizing and installing the right air conditioner for your house. The right size depends on how big your home is, plus several other factors. Some of the most standard sizes include:
- 2 ton, which cools up to 1,000 square feet
- 3 ton, which cools up to 1,600 square feet
- 4 ton, which cools up to 1,900 square feet
- 5 ton, which cools more than 2,000 square feet
Other things that can affect air conditioner size are:
- The temperatures in the Bay Area
- Ductwork quality and age
- How many windows your house has and the style, because expansive or picture windows might be more inefficient
- If your home has more sun or shade
- Insulation quality and thickness
- How many people are in your household
Your air conditioner’s efficiency is tied to its SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This number measures how well it transforms electricity to create cooling. The greater the number, the more efficient the air conditioner is.
When you’re getting a new air conditioner, it’s essential to realize:
- Older air conditioners are classified around 8-9 SEER.
- Updated air conditioners start at 13 SEER. Ones installed in the southwest and southeast must be no less than 14 SEER due to U.S. Department of Energy requirements. As of 2017, these SEER rating requirements have saved homeowners trillions of dollars.
- ENERGY STAR®-certified air conditioners begin at 14.5 SEER.
- Higher SEER-rated air conditioners come with additional features to help you save more. These features may include variable-speed cooling. Instead of running at full blast all the time, these air conditioners can fine-tune blower speeds based on your cooling preferences. This results in quieter and more energy-efficient comfort. While an air conditioner with a better SEER rating is often more expensive, it may be eligible for valuable rebates. And the energy savings over its life span may help it pay for itself.
Start Your Air Conditioning Installation with Contra Costa Heating & AC Today
When you’re preparing for air conditioning replacement, the company who installs it is just as critical as the model you go with. Contra Costa Heating & AC is one of the top names for air conditioning installation in the Bay Area. From helping you find the right solution for your home to reviewing financing options to professional installation, collaborating with our pros is a breeze. Reach us at 510-343-9841 to get started right away!