First, let’s review how a standard air conditioning unit works…
No matter the size or efficiency rating every AC unit consists of the same essential components:
During proper operation, warm air flows over the refrigerant in the coils. This causes the refrigerant to turn into gas. This gas travels through the compressor and applies pressure to increase the temperature of the gas significantly. Coils located within the condenser draw wasted heat from this process and send it out of the system. This cools the refrigerant back into a liquid and chills the air. Then, the cool air travels through your ductwork and your home.
One of the most frequently asked questions customers ask is, “how long will this last?” Our answer is it completely depends on a few factors.
On average, a full central HVAC system can last anywhere between 10 to 25 years. Your usage, the type of equipment and maintenance affect the ultimate life expectancy. Most importantly, proper maintenance plays a huge role in prolonging the life of your air conditioner.
Several factors may reduce the lifespan of your air conditioning unit, including:
At Homesense, we strongly believe in prevention. While your system still functions properly, commit to regular maintenance to prolong the life of your HVAC system. Three key maintenance checks to add to your calendar are:
Over the years, we have seen many reasons for air conditioning systems to break down or operate poorly. Here are some of the primary issues which cause malfunctions for air conditioners:
Outdated air filters easily become clogged and restrict airflow throughout your entire unit. This decreases the system’s ability to cool the air inside your home. We highly recommend you clean or change your air filters at least four times a year (use the seasons as a reminder), or even better, once a month.
Refrigerant is what your air conditioner uses to remove heat and humidity from the air in your home. Your system can sometimes develop leaks in the refrigerant lines, meaning insufficient refrigerant circulates through the system to properly cool the air. There are also some potential warning signs which indicate you may be leaking R22 or R410A refrigerant. For example, your A/C may blow lukewarm or hot air. You may hear a hiss or bubbling noise coming from a leak in your refrigerant line.
Additionally, your refrigerant line may have ice on it. To test for leaks and diagnose the problem, there are three leak tests to consider: (1) Electronic Leak Detector Test; (2) Nitrogen Leak Detector Test and Bubble Test; and (3) Dye Test. Unfortunately, fixing a low refrigerant problem isn’t just replacing the refrigerant. To fully remedy the issue, an HVAC repair technician needs to find the leaks and repair the holes in the lines. This is often a time-consuming process, especially when there are multiple leaks.
The capacitor stores energy and enables currents to pass through so your system can turn on and off when desired. Without a properly functioning capacitor, your entire HVAC unit cannot turn on. Capacitor failure is a more common issue, and can usually be fixed for under $300.
When dust, grime and dirt build up on your condenser coil, the air conditioner can’t expel enough heat from the system. Consequently, it forces your system to constantly run in an effort to cool your space. Many times it overheats your compressor and causes it ultimately to fail. A compressor failure often leads to a recommendation to replace. This is probably the biggest and most expensive part in your air conditioner or heat pump, and the repair is labor intensive.
There are several reasons why your air conditioner may experience blocked airflow:
• Leaky Air Ducts. This is the most common cause of bad airflow. It allows air to escape and your HVAC unit works less efficiently.
• Clogged Air Conditioner Coil. Dust builds up on your air conditioner coil. This reduces the amount of airflow your furnace distributes.
• Dirty Fan Blower. When dust builds up on the fan blower it reduces its efficiency. This prevents proper air distribution throughout your home.
• Broken Air Ducts. Disconnected or crushed air ducts also cause bad airflow because air cannot properly circulate throughout your home.
• Incorrectly-Sized Heating and Cooling System. The size of your air conditioning system should be determined prior to installation. If the system is undersized or oversized, you may experience airflow issues. You may also experience short cycling and strain on your equipment.
Your evaporator coil, located inside the blower cabinet, may freeze and prevent your air conditioner from working properly. This coil sucks hot air from inside your home and moves it outside. If your refrigerant levels are low, the evaporator coil can’t gather enough hot air to cool your house. Over time, moisture collects around the coil and freezes. This prevents refrigerant from flowing freely throughout your system. Sadly, homeowners cannot do much to repair a frozen air conditioning unit. We strongly recommend turning your AC unit off, and calling an HVAC professional to remedy the problem.
Not all issues with your air conditioner require a service technician to come out to your home for an inspection.
We suggest checking the following to see if you can make any of your own repairs:
If — after checking all these items — your system still needs repairs, here are several ways you can stay cool while waiting for an HVAC technician to arrive at your home:
While many HVAC companies focus on profit, we incentivize our technicians to repair existing equipment instead of trying to sell new equipment for no reason. Similarly, we don’t set mandatory sales quotes for our technicians. Selling you a new HVAC unit isn’t our goal. Our goal is to fix your air conditioner properly — the first time — so you can avoid issues in the future.
When you call Homesense Heating and Cooling, you can expect friendly customer service by our EPA or North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Certified Technicians, who are all capable of fixing most heating and cooling brands. At the end of our inspection, you’ll receive:
Locally-owned and operated, our team offers the best combination of quality, service and pricing for all of your HVAC needs. We service all heating and cooling needs across Central Indiana, including:
At Homesense, for all new system installations we register all Carrier equipment so that it qualifies for a 10-year extended parts warranty.
We also offer a 10-year extended labor warranty option, which provides you the peace of mind that your system remains protected.
In addition, we provide a one-year HVAC part warranty for all repairs made by our team of trusted Homesense HVAC technicians.
Most major brands will come with a 5-year part warranty standard, with the potential of an extended 10 year part warranty if the system has been properly registered.
If it is time for your air conditioning system to be replaced, here are some tips when shopping for a new unit.
While a heat pump looks exactly like an outdoor A/C condenser, the difference lies in the fact that both heating and cooling occur within the heat pump. On the other hand, an A/C condenser works with a split system, where cooling happens within the outside condenser and heating takes place within the indoor furnace.
In some situations, it can make the most sense for you as a homeowner to replace both your air conditioner and furnace at the same time, but not always. Here are few tips on when and when it may not be in your best interest to replace your entire HVAC system:
Shopping for a new air conditioning system can be a foreign process. After all, it’s not something regular basis — or at least we all hope it’s not. To help, here are five steps to help you get started in researching your local HVAC service providers:
When deciding between a standard vs. high-efficiency air conditioning unit, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences.
Similarly, both units effectively cool your home and offer similar life expectancy with good maintenance practices. Additionally, both use gas and electric power sources and work well with smartphone thermostat options.
Conversely, high-efficiency units include higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings, meaning more air gets cooled for less energy (and money) — usually provide payback within 3-6 years of your purchase. More specifically, the variable speed blower and dual heat exchangers use less electricity and gas, respectively, to increase home interior comfort, and the unit’s advanced control board also allows for predictive alerts to homeowners and HVAC companies when issues arise within the system.
So how do you know which one to choose? Here are three questions to consider when deciding between a standard vs. high-efficiency unit:
Did you know your heating and air conditioning system costs more than any other system in your home? It makes up about 48% of your total utility bill on average.
Learn more about our options for air conditioning systems here.
In addition to the air conditioning systems, you may need to consider replacement or adding other related heating and cooling products.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are one of the fastest growing components in the industry. They offer quiet high-efficient systems with the same capacity of the traditional ducted HVAC unit. We often recommend adding these systems in master bedrooms, sunrooms and finished attics.
The benefits of Ductless Heating & Cooling systems include:
Smart thermostats are quickly becoming the most popular option on the market. They are compatible with most smartphones and allow control of the temperature of your home from anywhere, anytime. Homesense carries the top brands — such as Nest, Carrier’s Cor thermostat and Honeywell’s Lyric thermostat. Because they control energy use, these options reduce costs and increase the comfort of your home year-round.
The benefits of a Smart Thermostat include:
The inverter controls the speed of the compressor motor in order to continuously regulate temperatures.
The benefits of an Inverter include:
At Homesense, we understand that few homeowners are prepared to spend the large cost of buying or replacing a furnace or air conditioner. That’s why we have partnered with Wells Fargo to offer 0 percent financing, as well as additional financing options for replacement of your HVAC unit. When ready, you can apply here.
If something is causing you to worry about the status of your HVAC system and you live in the Indianapolis area, give us a call at 317-670-0171. If you’re in our service area, we can perform a full inspection of your equipment and give you an estimate for its remaining years.