Assuming you plan on living there for a long time...
Definitely junk it and get the highest efficiency model and best
installation you can get if you're in a place like Texas or Arizona.
Don't bother doing anything to it if you're in a place like the Pacific
NW where power is ~8 cents/kWh and you only use it lightly weeks out of
Everyone that has replied has some good points. You could say "if it ain't
broke....", but what if it breaks during the hottest time of the summer? 9
times out of 10 you are only going to get a hack or dishonest company (I
guess they are one in the same) to put in a new one with short notice. If
you are willing to sweat it out, you should take the time to get 3 different
contractors to give you a QUOTE (NOT an estimate). Ask your friends and
neighbors who they would use, and remember: The brand means very little
compared to the installer.
Then you have to look at how much you use it. Do you live in a hot and humid
area where it gets used a good 4 or 5 months (or more) out of the year? If
so, you COULD save quite a bit of money on your electric bill per month.
Let's say your current A/C is an 8 SEER (post your brand and model number
and someone here can tell you) and you replace it with a 16 SEER. If your
cooling bill is $100 a month, you'd cut that in half. You could
realistically save $250 a summer by updating your system. Then again, if you
only use it a couple months out of the summer, you may want to run it until
Then you have to look at the replacent cost. A 10 SEER unit is going to be a
lot cheaper than a 16 SEER, but there is quite a difference in the energy
savings. The best thing to do is to have the contractors give you quotes on
the different SEERs (say a 12, 14, and a 16). Ask for brochures on the
equipment. Most of the major manufacturers devote a couple paragraphs (and
graphs/charts) to explaining the savings on different SEERs.
Check the warranty on the units. A lot of the manufactorers are using
Scroll compressors that (most) have a minimum 10 year warranty. Then ask the
contractor what THEIR warranty is. Some companies will give you 2 years
labor , 5 years parts, and 10 years on the compressor no matter what the
manufacturer's warranty is. Other may give you one year. If a compressor
craps out in it's second year, it's still under warranty, but if the
contractor only gives you one year on their work, sure! You'll get the
compressor for free, but you may end up paying 6 or 7 hundred dollars (or
more!) just to change it out (labor, freon, etc.).
Then there is the R-22 vs. R-410A debate. When the 410 first came out, most
of the contractors rolled their eyes because they have seen the "replacement
refrigerants" before that never lasted. IMHO, I think 410 is here to stay. I
don't believe the hype that "R-22 will be scarce soon so you better get 410
or you could ending up paying an arm and a leg for a leak repair because the
price or R-22 is going to skyrocket!!!" I doubt that. I think their is so
much of it stockpiled now that the price will actually come DOWN (after they
phase it out) rather than go up. However, a lot of the manufacturers are
going to stop making the R-22 units sooner than the phase out will occur, so
there will come a time where the 410 units will be the only thing available
(or until some genius comes up with ANOTHER refrigerant! ;-] ). And at one
time, the 410 units were more expensive than the 22s, but that has changed
quite a bit. Some of the companies (American Standard/Trane) price them the
same. Bottom line: You could go either way when it comes to the refrigerant
type. There is nothing wrong with the 410 units, and if you decide on an
R-22 unit and are worried about the availability of R-22 when it is phased
out, don't. By that time you will either 1) need a new unit anyway, or 2)
Someone else be living in your house....;-]
Sorry I rambled on, but just wanted to give you a few things to think about.
Here are the main points:
1) Don't worry about the brand. The installer is MUCH more important.
2) Always get at least 3 QUOTES.
3) Have regular preventative maintenance (and your unit will live past it's
4) Wax on, wax off.........
Underneath us all
There's a world that we always forget 'til it moves us
Where the moon on the bay dances all alone
Ramone, he draw the razor swift, it slice the air
No more lovely dreams of those summer nights
Down in santo domingo
They laugh and play in the sleepy harbor town
So unaware of the danger that's around
Livin' on the fault line
Livin' on the fault line
Livin' on the fault line
Livin' on the fault line
No one can run when it finally comes down
Nobody knows what is stirrin' underground
While the city tumbled down
The palace was in splinters
Theodore was leaving town
My 3 ton GE AC was installed in 1973 and it is still running and doing the
job very nicely. The only eminence that has been required so far is what I
do at the beginning of each season--Remove the top grillwork, vacuum the
coils and clean out everything in sight and oil the fan motor. Inside, flush
out the A coil drain tray-use a solution of bleach and water to get rid of
the algae that sometimes clogs the drain hole. Run the system for a couple
of hours and measure the temperature at the furthest register. It has been
the same, approx 54F since it was installed, good or bad at least its been
consistent.. I recently had a new 90% furnace installed and had the HVAC
service people take a look at the A coil while the ductwork was open and got
the "It's OK" comment.
Granted I'm in the Northeast and AC is not required on a long term basis.
Overall. it's used on an intermittent basis 3-4 weeks of the year if that
much. Maybe it's not as efficient as a new one but it runs flawlessly and
easily cools the house down on a 90F day. Cost of electricity is not a
significant driver--our city has its own power plant and we not only get a
good rate but if we pay within a specific time frame we deduct 20% from the
bill. Getting a new unit, just for the sake of getting a more efficient
replacement doesn't make sense to me, at least now--when and if it fails,
that's another matter.
I would not replace it as you don't have enough run time to make it
worth while. If you have high humidity and enough length of each run
cycle it will do better on getting the humidity down than the new very
high SEER units.
<A HREF="http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioner-capacity-seer.html ">
Empowerment Communications -
Economic and Political Solutions Not Terrorism and Wars -
Citation on your statement that " it will do better on getting the
humidity down than the new very high SEER units"? This makes no sense
to me whatsoever. The temperature of the evaporator coil and airflow
rate determine the amount of moisture that is removed from the air, not
the SEER rating of the unit.
This is Turtle.
By you living in the Northern state the ideal of buy a new one for cost of
operation savings is just a personal thing and no real cost to operate savings.
Just run it and when you start any kind of trouble with it. Change it out. It is
nothing for a properly install hvac system to run 40+ years and work good. The
new stuff you buy now days you will only expect about 15 years or so out of
Run it and be happy.
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