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How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace My AC?

An AC replacement can be a really big investment – that’s probably why we avoid it for as long as possible! But eventually our needs outweigh our wants and we have to go ahead and start the process. So, how do we know when that time comes? When is the best time to replace an AC system?

There are some key signs that indicate your central air conditioning is on its way out. Read on to see if your AC system exhibits any of these signs!


By far the biggest indicator that you need a replacement air conditioner is the age of your existing unit. The average lifespan of AC systems is only about 10 years – it can be less in extremely hot climates or more if the system has been maintained very well. Most AC professionals will recommend that any AC system which has an additional issue and is over 10 years old just be replaced. It’s simply more cost effective. 

Smells or Noises

A functioning air conditioner should deliver clean or neutral-smelling air. Any kind of foul or smoky smell can point to a problem with the wire insulation. Musty smells can mean mold or mildew has started to grow inside your system. If you’re smelling smoke or any other unusual smells, it’s time to replace your unit.

Similarly, if you’re hearing any scraping, grinding or squealing from your unit, it’s not normal. A functional unit may make occasional noises when turning on and off, but any of the above sounds indicate a serious problem. 


Less efficient air conditioners – often older units – will become less and less effective at their jobs. They struggle to cool your home, using more energy to do the same job. Also, you as homeowners are feeling less cool air coming through the vents. You may begin to turn the thermostat down more often, using more energy. Your energy bill may suddenly rise drastically – an unwelcome surprise at the end of the month. 

Newer models of AC units have extremely high SEER ratings – or ratings of efficiency. Replacing your old unit with a higher SEER system can greatly reduce your energy bill. Plus, they are much better for the environment!

R-22 Refrigerant

All AC systems use a liquid called refrigerant to cool your air and deliver it to your home. However, in 2010 the federal government began phasing out the R-22 refrigerant (Freon) due to its effect on the ozone layer. In 2020, R-22 refrigerant was discontinued from production. It is replaced by R-410A (Puron).

What this means is that all older AC systems that need repairs involving the R-22 refrigerant will be paying a lot more for the decreasing stock that exists. If your system does need a repair involving the old refrigerant, consider investing in a new system altogether to avoid the rising costs of R-22. Plus, using R-410A is better for the environment. 

Air Strength and Quality

Houston summers can be brutal, so if your AC seems like it barely does anything against the heat, you may have a problem with your airflow. You could have a blockage in your ducts, which an AC professional can help fix. However, this can also signify an issue with your compressor. Usually, replacing the entire unit is more cost-effective than just replacing a compressor.

Some people forget that AC systems are meant to cool AND filter the air in your home. An increase in air particles like dust or in humidity levels could mean your system is no longer ventilating properly. This could allow pollutants and allergens into your home. A replacement can be crucial to some homes that house people with asthma, allergies or respiratory conditions! 

Contact The Pros Today!

If your AC is showing any of these signs AND is older than 10 years, you should definitely start the replacement process. For any younger units that have these problems, contacting an expert air technician will help determine if your issue is repairable or not. Mission AC is dedicated to the community and making sure we provide top-tier service for your Houston AC Installation. Contact us today.


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