Is it time to replace my system?
The best time to replace your system is when YOU are planning on it, not when the system finally fails and you rush into a decision without careful consideration.
The useful life of a system is usually 8 to 10 years in Florida for the compressor in the outdoor unit. Heat pump compressors tend to fail earlier than air conditioner compressors because they are used year round.
As your system begins to wear out, you will encounter refrigerant leaks in your Evaporator or Condensor coils and even motor failures. Sometimes, the compressor in the outdoor unit will short . All of these are expensive repairs and it may prove more cost effective for you to replace your system rather than repair it.
Regardless of the reason you are choosing to replace your present system, there are four factors you should consider:
IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
The US Department of Energy sets the standards for rating the energy efficiency of heating and cooling systems. The rating number is an indication of how much energy (electric or gas) it takes to produce one unit of heating or cooling. (See Energy Efficiency Definitions.) The terminology differs for air conditioners/heat pumps and gas furnaces.
Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps:
Efficiency in air conditioners and heat pumps is measured in terms of its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). “SEER” is similar in concept to “MPG” (Miles per Gallon)—the higher the number, the more efficiently the system uses electricity.Since 1992, the Federal mandate for the minimum rating has been 10. Before that time, it was 8, so units that are over 14 years old are usually rated at 8 SEER.
Since January, 2008, manufacturers are no longer permitted to produce equipment that has a SEER of less than 13. With an efficiency increase of 38% coupled with higher electrical rates, it becomes easier to see why you may want to replace a system that still works with a new, higher efficiency system.