How Do I Know if My AC Needs Replacing?

Home inspector, repairman, adjuster examines air conditioner units at a customer home. He is using his digital tablet to record results.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep our country, more people are under stay-at-home orders for extended periods. This means it’s more critical than ever for Portland homeowners to be sure their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are providing plenty of comfort in the upcoming months.

With warmer weather arriving in the Pacific Northwest, our team at Columbia NW Heating and Air Conditioning wants to help you recognize the signs you need to replace your air conditioner. Here are some of the most common symptoms you may experience.

Symptom One: Old Age

Most air conditioners have an average life span of about 15 to 20 years, depending on the level of use and degree of maintenance. If your air conditioner is more than two decades old, you want to keep an eye out for developing problems and issues.

Symptom Two: Mysteriously Rising Energy Bills

If your local utility company has not increased its rates lately, but your monthly energy bills are significantly higher than the previous year, it may be an HVAC problem. Older air conditioners and furnaces are notoriously inefficient and will cost more to run.

In some cases, professional maintenance—inspection, cleaning, and tune-up—may resolve some of the efficiency issues. However, you may want to consider investing in a new air conditioner. Remember, you will recoup some of the purchase price over time through lower utility bills.

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the best air conditioners available today use between 30 and 50 percent less energy to produce the same level of cooling when compared with air conditioners manufactured in the 1970s.

Symptom Three: Exhibiting Bad Behavior

On that first really warm Oregon day, when you turn on your air conditioner for the first time and notice the air is not quite as cold as you remember it, your system may be displaying the beginning of some problems. Poor performance is definitely a sign of an air conditioner on its way out.

Be sure your thermostat is set correctly and you have taken care of basic maintenance by changing your air filter, as well as scheduled tune-ups. If you are still noticing you can’t cool your house as quickly or consistently as you would like, it may be time to contact one of our Columbia NW Heating and Air Conditioning experts.

Symptom Four: Producing Odd Sounds and Smells

Air conditioners that need replacing seem to have their own way of telling you something is wrong. If you start noticing unusual smells coming from your unit or funny noises like creaking, grinding, or banging, you may want to investigate. If you don’t notice anything clearly blocking your air conditioner’s functions, contact our experts to conduct a more thorough inspection.

Symptom Five: Imbalance in Humidity Levels

One additional advantage of having an air conditioner is that it can help regulate your home’s humidity as well as its temperature. This is important not only from a comfort standpoint but also for your indoor air quality (IAQ).

If your humidity levels drop too low, you may experience discomfort such as a dry throat or more distress with allergies or a respiratory illness. On the other hand, if your humidity levels are too high, you may encourage the growth of mold, fungi, or even viruses and bacteria.

Some Oregon homes may require the addition of a humidifier or dehumidifier, but ensuring that your air conditioner is in good working order is the first step.

Symptom Six: General Feeling of Being Unwell

Although there can be many reasons for feeling unwell, stay attuned to your overall health. If you are noticing signs of illness that seem to be never ending and not tied to things like seasonal allergies or the flu, cold, or virus, you may want to have your indoor air quality tested.

Some indoor air pollutants like radon can cause long-term health problems. Others, such as a buildup of allergens like dust, pollen, or smoke, may be mitigated by high-quality air filtration or air purification systems. All these solutions can work in tandem with a well-maintained air conditioning system.

Contact Us for All Your Air Conditioning Needs

Our professionals at Columbia NW Heating and Air Conditioning in Portland, OR, are well-versed in helping you determine whether your air conditioner truly requires replacing or just needs a tune-up and maybe some minor repairs. Call us today at 503.543.3624 or request service online to speak with one of our team members or to make an appointment.

Need HVAC Service?

Schedule your appointment online
or call us at 503.543.3624!