How to Replace Your Home Air Conditioner

There comes a time when every air conditioner needs replacement. But how can you be sure that time has come for your system? It’s a matter of considering all the factors.

Air conditioner age is an important consideration, but not the only one.

Age alone is not reason enough to replace your air conditioner. According to, your central air conditioner’s lifespan is about 15 to 20 years. If your AC has been reliable and isn’t giving you trouble, it may be worthwhile to hold off on replacing it.

On the other hand, while a system can be kept operating for many decades, frequent repairs mean your comfort comes at an ever-increasing cost. In addition, most warranties expire about 10 years after the date of purchase, leaving you without coverage, just as these older systems are at a higher risk of breaking down.

How efficient is your air conditioner?

Older air conditioners use more energy to produce the same level of comfort as newer ones. Check your utility bills. If your air conditioner is 10 years old, replacing it may reduce your energy costs by 20% to 40%. If your system is older, then you may see even greater savings.

Comfort is another consideration. If you have rooms that are too hot or too cold, or if your home is too dry in the winter and too humid in the summer, it could be due to improper installation, poorly designed ducts, insufficient insulation, or a combination of all three.

If you buy a new air conditioner, what will be the return on your investment?

As your air conditioner ages, it will experience breakdowns and other issues which reduce its efficiency. These problems might be repairable, but balance the cost of these repairs with the investment of replacing your system.

Return on investment is worth considering. If you plan on being in your home less than two years, you may not get your investment back on a new system. Then again, when time comes to sell, an aging air conditioner can impact your asking price or even delay a sale.

Don’t wait for your air conditioner to fail to make a decision.

When’s the best time to replace your air conditioner? Before it breaks down, of course. A rushed decision is seldom a good one, as you don’t have the time to carefully compare prices and various features when you’re worried about the comfort of your loved ones.

And breakdowns increase as systems work their hardest during the summer. If you know your AC is aging, planning ahead for residential air conditioning replacement in Sacramento this spring allows you time to make a better choice. Start comparison shopping while the weather is still mild, and then call the experts at Gilmore when you’re ready to replace your air conditioner.

System age, price, repairs, comfort, safety, warranty, time left in your home, and return on investment—these are all important factors to consider when replacing your air conditioning system.

Tips for Buying Your Next Air Conditioner

Central air conditioning systems can last from 15 to 20 years. Sticking with an older unit may seem less expensive, but not when it comes to utility bills. When time comes to buy a new air conditioning system, there are 3 things to remember.

First, is your new air conditioning system sized properly?

Sizing your air conditioner is based on both the latent cooling load, which is the humidity of the air, and the sensible cooling load, which is your home’s air temperature.

That’s why we start by measuring floors, ceilings, walls, and windows. We check insulation in the attic, walls, and crawl spaces. We also check for leaky, disconnected, or crushed ducts, or ducts that are too small for the system and constrict airflow. All this data is necessary to calculate proper sizing. A properly sized air conditioner can maintain a 20 degree difference between the outside and inside temperature of your home.

But, did you know that most of the cooling process is actually dehumidification? An improperly sized system might cool your home, but leave an uncomfortable, clammy feeling. That’s a breeding ground for allergens and mold. Oversized air conditioners cycle on and off too quickly, using more energy and preventing removal of humidity. Undersized systems, on the other hand, may not be able to reach comfortable temperatures on hot days. And since they have to work too hard, they run up higher electric bills.

Only a correctly sized unit will provide optimal performance, operating life, and energy efficiency.

Now, while AC size is important, so is the location of the condenser.

For optimal performance, the condenser unit should be located in a cool, shaded place, ideally on your home’s north side, out of direct sunlight. It also needs unimpeded airflow, with at least 4 feet of clearance at the top.

It’s also important that the inside coil is located for easy access, so it can be reached for annual cleanings.

Finally, don’t be tempted by the lowest bid.

Use printouts of the cooling load calculations for each air conditioner to directly compare the attributes of each unit. Also, be sure to check the Internet for reviews of each air conditioning company. In particular, keep a close eye out for reviews that include details of what the reviewer’s experience was like months or years after their air conditioner was installed.

Cutting corners on your air conditioner or the installer will cost you more in the long run. Improperly sized or installed air conditioners will run much more efficiently than indicated by their ratings, resulting in higher than necessary energy bills.

When you’re ready for a new air conditioner, call the experts at Gilmore. We offer free consultations, and have the experience and technical expertise necessary to identify and properly install the air conditioner that’s right for your home.