So how are you supposed to know when it's time to replace your air conditioner?
Your air conditioner is more than 10 years old
In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 10-15 years. However, if you're in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10+ years (and uses R-22 Freon) it will often make more sense to replace it. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency with AC systems in the past decade alone.
Your air conditioner uses R-22 Freon
The production of Freon was phased out by the federal government on January 1, 2020. This popular HCFC-22 (R-22) refrigerant can still be added to your AC system when needed but it is very costly. This cost of Freon along with the cost of repairs should help you make your decision. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you'll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the current R410A refrigerant.
You notice your air conditioner is inefficient
If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 14. If your air conditioner's SEER rating is below 14, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit. A new high-efficiency system can help you save up to 40% on cooling costs. Have a technician help you make that determination.
You're facing expensive repairs
Any time you're facing an expensive air conditioning system repair, you'll want to weigh the costs of the repair against the cost of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your air conditioner is showing any of the other signs on this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.
Your home isn't as comfortable as it used to be
If you have a hard time keeping your home cool, this could be a sign of an aging air conditioner or even an incorrectly sized system. Your home's air conditioner is supposed to remove humidity from the air because humidity makes the space more uncomfortable. When it functions properly, the unit will maintain consistent temperatures throughout the house. When the cooling portion of your HVAC system isn't able to do these things, either your equipment is malfunctioning or there are issues with your ductwork.