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With the summer temperatures in Georgia, having an adequate air conditioning system keeps you comfortable during the hottest months. However, if you and your family have been relying on the same air conditioner for many years, you might start to notice increasing energy use and rising costs. Do old AC units use more electricity?
Many factors impact an air conditioning unit’s energy efficiency, some of which the Georgia Air Cooling & Heating experts cover below. And if you think you might be ready to replace your system, you can call the team for top-rated professional AC replacement and installation in Richmond Hill.
Do Old AC Units Use More Electricity: The Quick Answer
So, do old AC units really use more electricity? In short, yes. However, the reasons for increased energy usage differ widely.
Before upgrading to a new system, it’s important to examine why your HVAC system’s energy usage increased. It could be old age, but the condition of various system components and your maintenance habits matter too. These considerations will also affect how you choose the best replacement system if you want to avoid an early replacement.
Reasons Why Old Air Conditioners Use More Electricity
Why does an old air conditioning unit use more electricity than a new one? HVAC professionals like Georgia Air Cooling & Heating will start by inspecting your unit. They’ll want to identify the exact cause of increasing electricity usage before they answer this important question.
Compressor Wear and Tear
The compressor is the core of the air conditioning system. This crucial mechanism evaporates and condenses refrigerant to facilitate the heat exchange process. Without a functioning compressor, indoor climate control is impossible.
Over the years, your compressor can withstand some wear and tear. However, over time, this degradation will force your air conditioner to pull in greater and greater wattage to operate. At some point, it will cost the same to repair one as to upgrade your entire system.
Inconvenient refrigerant leaks can cause various issues for your system, from freezing coils to zero climate control. Low levels of refrigerant will also affect the system’s operation, increasing energy consumption. For example, low levels of refrigerant can force up your energy bills by making the system work harder to cool.
Lack of Maintenance
Getting preventative maintenance for your air conditioning system can prevent costly issues. The professionals make certain adjustments and tune-ups to your unit’s mechanical and electrical components to optimize functioning. Without professional inspections, you might not see problems developing, so even minor issues could cause your unit to chew through more electricity.
It’s not uncommon for Georgia’s homeowners to run their air conditioners for many hours of the day. However, constantly running your unit can burden your system over time. Overusing an air conditioner can quickly lead to excess energy usage.
Why not try varying your temperature settings throughout the day instead? It will give your system downtime and keep energy to a minimum.
Clogged or Dirty Air Filters
Your air filters keep your indoor air healthy. However, as your air conditioner functions, dust and grime accumulate on these all-important filters. The more contaminants that gather before you issue filter replacements, the harder it becomes for your air conditioner to cool your home.
Dirty filters make your system work harder and use more electricity to achieve the same cooling capabilities. That’s why experts recommend changing them at least every two to three months.
Lower SEER Ratings on Old Models
Do old AC units use more electricity even when they’re well-maintained? To answer that, we need to look at the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This figure provides an overview of energy efficiency at different times of the year.
As outdoor temperatures change, so does the responsiveness of your air conditioner. SEER ratings measure how effectively a system combats temperature extremes to maintain consistent indoor air. And most older air conditioners have lower ratings.
The SEER rating tends to rise with newer technologies. So, if you’re operating on an older system, it might be the lower SEER rating that’s responsible for excess energy use. Replacement will solve the problem.
Unit Lacks an Inverter
Newer air conditioners have an inverter that regulates the speed of the compressor unit to effectively manage power consumption. Old air conditioning units may not have an inverter, so a system upgrade could help you take advantage of this new mechanism.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Air Conditioner
Many homeowners wonder whether investing in a new air conditioning system is worth the cost. Beyond optimizing your energy usage, there are many other benefits of upgrading your air conditioner to a newer model.
Accurate Climate Control
When you turn on your air conditioner, you want it to be able to reach your desired temperature in a reasonable time. During hotter months, getting your home to optimal temperatures can make a significant difference in your comfort levels. Newer air conditioners can usually do this quickly.
So, with better technology and more environmentally-friendly operation, upgrading your system could make a major change in your indoor comfort.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Your home’s energy efficiency is the primary determinant of your monthly utility expenses and the efficacy of your home comfort systems. While preventative maintenance can temporarily increase efficiency, the only permanent solution is a system upgrade. And a more energy-efficient system means that you can expect seasonal temperatures to have less impact on your energy bills.
Savings on Energy Bills
The clearest benefit of getting a new air conditioner is the expected decrease in your energy costs. It’s partially from the increased efficiency but also the improved SEER rating. Newer technologies optimize home comfort systems and make their operation cheaper.
Fewer Repair Costs
Newer technologies for air conditioning systems offer innovative fail safes and operating standards that reduce the need for and cost of repairs. While you can still expect the unit to need regular maintenance, there will likely be fewer repairs for minor wear and tear. A new air conditioner will often cost far less to service, too.
Boosted Home Value
Homeowners looking to quickly increase the value of their property should consider an air conditioner upgrade. Plus, newer systems are more attractive to prospective buyers. That’s why upgrading your air conditioner remains crucial if you plan to put your house on the market.
Calculating Potential Savings From a System Upgrade
Do old AC units use more electricity? Is it still worth getting a new air conditioning system if what you’ll spend on a new unit is more than the extra electricity charges? What savings can people expect from their new unit?
In the long term, newer units will save money. While the dollar amounts can differ depending on state and local regulations, professionals use a simple formula for the expected percentage of savings based on SEER ratings:
- First, subtract your unit’s current SEER rating from the SEER of your new unit.
- Now, divide this number by the new SEER rating. The decimal should represent the overall percent change in your energy bill.
For example, if your current unit has a SEER of 9 and the new unit has a SEER of 15, then the calculation would be the following:
- 15 – 9 = 6
- 6/15 = 0.4 (the percent reduction in your monthly energy bill should be 40%)
Using this method can help you determine the best replacement system for your current unit.
FAQs: Old Air Conditioning Units and Energy Efficiency
Here are some frequently asked questions about old air conditioning units and how they perform:
How Much More Efficient Is a New Cooling Unit?
The exact increase in air conditioning energy efficiency will depend on many factors. However, a unit upgrade will typically result in noticeable decreases in your monthly energy expense.
When Should I Replace My Old Air Conditioning Unit?
As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend that you replace an air conditioner that is over ten years old. However, if your current unit starts requiring increasingly frequent repairs or completely breaks down, you could be due for an early replacement.
How Do I Find Out the Electricity Level My Air Conditioner Requires?
Most cooling units list the required wattage for operation somewhere on the unit. Multiplying that number with the number of hours you expect to use your unit per day will yield your expected electricity consumption.
Enlist Top-Rated HVAC Specialists From Georgia Air Cooling & Heating
When your old air conditioner starts to fail, you won’t want to wait too long before installing a new system. Professionals like Georgia Air Cooling & Heating use the best tools and techniques to integrate these new air conditioning systems into your home. With extensive experience and upfront pricing, we ensure every one of our customers feels just peachy, even in the hottest Georgia summers.
So, do old AC units use more electricity? Find out from Georgia Air Cooling & Heating’s top-rated HVAC service providers at (912) 513-3756 today!