Ready for the heat waves? When is the best time to replace your AC?

Kate Webb

August 16, 2021

Air conditioners have a lifespan of about 15 years—and that’s with routine maintenance. Whether your ac is very old, repairs are more and more frequent, or your home just isn’t comfortable anymore, replacement is inevitable at some point. But when is the best time to replace your ac unit?


When to replace your ac unit

If your replacement isn’t urgent, it is always best to replace your air conditioner during the off-season. In the HVAC world, the off-season is from late September to mid-November and from early March to mid-May. Scheduling an installation, a service call, or an air conditioning assessment in the winter or summer usually means higher costs and slower turnaround times. 


In the winter and summer, most HVAC contractors are extremely busy, so you may not be able to book the best air conditioner company or the best home services company. The price of HVAC also tends to skyrocket in the winter and summer. Lower demand for off-season installations can lead to some fantastic deals from equipment manufacturers, like special financing and rebate opportunities.

When should I get my ac serviced?

This rule also applies for service, maintenance, and testing central air conditioning. It’s safest to get your system checked when it’s not in use. If your ac requires repairs or new parts, you won’t be without cooling in the middle of a heat wave. Getting your annual maintenance in the off-season also ensures that your ac is in good working order once the warm weather arrives. 


Signs it’s time for an upgrade

If your air conditioner is on the older side (10 years+) it may be worth upgrading to a newer model. Older air conditioners don’t work as efficiently as they once did and could be costing you extra money on a monthly basis. Here are some signs that it’s time to look for a replacement:

  1. Your air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Even with regular maintenance, you will benefit from an ac replacement after about 15 years. Older air conditioners are more likely to have issues and they cost more to run. Plus, technology has improved dramatically in the past 10 years.
  1. You see an increase in your energy bill. When your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently, it uses more energy than normal, and costs more to run.
  1. Your air conditioner is louder than it used to be. Strange noises usually mean you need a repair or they’re a sign of a failing system. If your ac is on the older side, consider a replacement rather than another fix.
  1. Your home is hotter than it used to be. This is another sign that your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently. If your air conditioner isn’t doing its job, it’s time for an ac replacement.


If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your ac, you can schedule an air conditioning assessment. An HVAC expert will let you know if your ac has some life left in it or if an upgrade is the right choice.



Get more efficient with an upgrade

One thing’s for certain: a newer ac unit will automatically be more efficient than an older model. While the upfront cost of a new air conditioner may be higher than a repair, your monthly expenses will be much lower—especially if you go with a high-efficiency model.


Air conditioner efficiency is measured using a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating, which tells you the cooling output of an air conditioner divided by the energy input, for a typical season. Older air conditioners tend to have SEER ratings as low as 8 or 9, whereas new air conditioning units are required to have a minimum SEER rating of 13. Experts generally recommend you look for a new AC with a SEER rating of at least 15. If you splurge on an ultra high-efficiency unit, your new air conditioner can have a SEER rating as high as 21.


InHome’s experts are free any time to about when to replace your ac unit, testing your central air conditioning, or an air conditioning assessment. Get an instant quote, or contact us today.