Air-conditioning systems are one of those appliances you rarely think about until something goes wrong. And if you’re caught without AC in the middle of summer when HVAC technicians are at their busiest, you could face some miserable days of heat at home.
Fortunately, there are some telltale signs homeowners can usually identify before an AC system breaks down completely. Are you seeing any of the following? Better get your air conditioner replaced sooner than later.
1. Your AC is more than 10 years old
Air conditioners wear out just like any other household appliance. A well-maintained AC system will last 10 to 15 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
However, systems that have not been maintained over their lifespan will not last the full 10 years. Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends having a tune-up by a professional HVAC technician to keep your system in good working order. The technician can inspect the unit’s components, identify and fix any issues and clean the indoor and outdoor coils.
2. Your energy bills are rising
Before you blame global warming for your rising energy costs, consider whether your high energy bills could be the result of faulty, failing or inefficient machinery. An AC system that is working inefficiently will run more frequently, using up more electricity while not adequately cooling your house.
Many utility companies provide comparison charts of how your bill has changed month over month and year over year. They also often provide an average temperature for each day of the month, information that can help you identify whether higher utility costs are associated with outdoor temperature or something else.
Newer cooling systems will also tend to be more energy-efficient than older models. Investing in an energy-efficient system could provide you dividends in the long run.
3. Your system uses ozone-depleting refrigerant (R22)
In 2020, the ozone-depleting refrigerant R22 will no longer be manufactured. Used as a coolant for air conditioners beginning with the first models produced in the 1950s, R22 has been found by researchers to be contributing to the thinning of the earth’s ozone.
Burbridge recommends homeowners have an HVAC technician inspect their system to determine what kind of refrigerant it uses. More recently produced models use ozone-friendly refrigerant, such as 410A.
“If their system uses ozone-depleting refrigerant and it needs any repairs, it doesn’t make sense to invest any money in it,” Burbridge said.
4. Repeat breakdowns
Whether your AC system has reached the end of its lifespan or not, having multiple serious repair jobs in a row could indicate it is near wearing out. Recall that systems last only as long as they’re maintained well, and some simply don’t last as long as others. If you’ve already fixed one issue and more are popping up, it might be best to cut your losses and replace.
Older air conditioners will also have more aesthetic issues. “Rust is a major problem, along with being noisier than newer models,” Burbridge said. “People with air conditioners that are near windows or backyard patios could benefit from the newer and quieter AC units built today.”
For more information on how to recognize when your cooling system needs replacing, contact Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in the Kansas City area today. Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
After July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated low-wattage motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, instead of the permanent split capacitor (PSC) induction blower motors normally used.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has updated their Furnace Efficiency Rating (FER) standards, mandating that these energy conserving motors be used starting July 3, 2019 in all new furnaces, with the expectation that these new standards will result in significant conservation of energy and reduction of carbon pollution.
For homeowners, this means the initial price of residential furnaces will be increasing due to the higher cost of the ECM motors. But though the initial cost for a new furnace will be going up, the DOE estimates these motors will save an average consumer about $340 to $500 over the lifetime of their furnace, even after accounting for the increased upfront cost, due to significant savings in energy costs.
ECM motors are expected to keep homeowners more comfortable, too. First, they provide more efficient airflow. Second, they reduce temperature swings in the home by allowing the fan to run for a longer time at a reduced speed. And homeowners will be more inclined to operate their furnace fans all the time, therefore cleaning the air consistently.
The net effect on the homeowner’s energy usage by the ECM motors may be reduced by as much as 46%, which depending on the home and the furnace model, could result in as much as $67.00 per year in energy savings.
Although the old furnaces with PSC induction motors may still be in stock for a short time after July 3, they will only be available while supplies last. Some homeowners may opt for repairing an old furnace, but it can be a costly decision when compared to the energy savings of replacing it with an energy efficient furnace. The question then is, “how expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth it?” Even for less expensive repairs, depending upon how old your furnace is, replacement may be a more cost-effective option.
To help you make the best choice possible, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will help you assess when and if you should replace your furnace. Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
We at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are proud to have earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2018. This is the 12th year in a row that Anthony PHC has earned this esteemed award.
The Angie’s List Super Service Award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List for the year, and reflects our consistently high level of customer service.
“Service pros that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award represent the best in our network, who are consistently making great customer service their mission,” says Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”
As an Angie’s List Super Service Award 2018 winner, we have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List and undergo additional screening.
Anthony PHC has been listed on Angie’s List since 2005, and we have won the Angie’s List Super Service award every year since 2007.
Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. We are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. At Anthony PHC Kansas City, we are honored to be considered a top-rated service professional by Angie’s List, and we extend our thanks to the thousands of homeowners who have rated us highly on Angie’s List. To visit us on Angie’s List, click here.
Keeping your home warm is an essential part of preserving a comfortable living environment, but it can also represent many hazards such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution.
The National Fire Protection Association reported a total of 54,030 home structure fires involving heating equipment between 2011 and 2015. Central heating units and water heaters accounted for 21 percent of those fires.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 150 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that is not caused by fires. Known as a silent killer, CO has no smell or taste, so neither people nor animals can tell when they are breathing it.
Get your furnace checked for safety by a highly-trained heating specialist
It’s a smart idea to have a highly-trained heating specialist like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling perform a safety inspection on your furnace. Their technicians will do the following:
- Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks with a state of the art inspector camera.
- Test for any dangerous gas leaks such as CO.
- Test the ignition system for safe and proper operation.
- Test the safety and control circuits.
- Ensure the exhaust is venting properly.
We often run coupons for safety inspections during the winter months. Check our coupons page for our current specials.
Watch for signs of a cracked or non-functioning heat exchanger
A gas furnace’s heat exchanger is the furnace component that actually heats the air. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious safety issue, as the gases being burned off, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, could leak into your home, causing illness or, in extreme cases, death. Getting an annual furnace safety inspection will help spot cracks in heat exchangers. But homeowners should always keep an eye out for these warning signs of an improperly working heat exchanger:
- black carbon buildup (soot) inside or outside the furnace cabinet, a sign of incomplete combustion
- Excessive moisture in the space and on the windows (water is a byproduct of combustion)
- unpleasant odor similar to formaldehyde
- water on the floor at the base of the furnace
- flu-like symptoms experienced by family members
Clean your furnace
Like other appliances around the home, a furnace will function more safely and efficiently if it’s clean. Check the pilot light and main burners on your natural gas furnace to ensure they are burning blue. If they burn orange or yellow, contact a heating specialist to have it serviced.
You can also call a highly-trained heating specialist like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to have your furnace thoroughly cleaned before the winter months when you’ll be using it regularly.
Install and/or check carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a “silent killer” because you can’t see, taste or smell it in its natural form. If it is inhaled in high concentrations or slowly over time, it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.
If you have natural gas heating in your home, it’s important to install CO detectors on each floor to ensure your family’s safety. Since CO doesn’t rise like smoke does, safety experts recommend installing CO alarms at knee level, which is about the height of a sleeping person’s nose and mouth.
Also consider installing “smart” detectors that will send alerts to your phone when you are away, so your pets and elderly family members stay safe when you’re not at home.
Change your furnace filter
Clean filters allow your furnace to run more efficiently and help prevent dust from circulating through your home. If you don’t know how to change your filter, schedule a visit from a heating specialist or check for videos online that walk you through the process.
Keep area around furnace clear
Garages and closets are prone to gathering clutter, but it’s important to keep the space near your furnace clear of boxes, trash, open laundry soap, paint thinners and gasoline containers or other combustible items. Keep this up year-round, whether you regularly use your furnace or not.
Keep supply registers clean and open
While it may make sense, in theory, to close supply registers to unused rooms to save on heating bills, heating specialists suggest otherwise. A furnace needs constant, consistent airflow to function properly, or it may use up the oxygen in your home. Closed supply registers can allow water pipes to freeze even though the frozen pipe is not in the room with the closed supply register.
“It’s also possible to damage your furnace by closing too many air registers,” according to Angie’s List. “Closing off registers creates less airflow, which forces the furnace to work harder. It’s also possible that limited airflow may cause the furnace to blow air that is too hot and trip the limit safety switch in the furnace.
Replace older furnaces
Like an old car, an old furnace that requires costly repairs is signaling that it’s near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced soon. Even if your furnace has a few years left in it, it may not be cost efficient to keep it if your energy bills during the heating season are high due to the furnace’s poor efficiency.
Newer furnaces are cleaner, operate more safely, produce less pollution, and are built to meet modern building codes. If your furnace is over 18 years old or if it is requiring frequent repairs, it may be time to replace it.
In addition, after July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, which are expected to save homeowners significant money on electricity bills.
ECM motors are also expected reduce carbon pollution and keep occupants more comfortable, too. First, they provide more efficient airflow. Second, they reduce temperature swings in the home by allowing the fan to run for a longer time at a reduced speed.
For more information on how to safely maintain your furnace or to determine whether it’s time to replace it, contact us today at 913-268-4669 or submit our contact form.
Having your furnace work correctly is imperative to make sure that your energy bills stay low, and that your home stays the comfortable temperature that you need it to. Unfortunately, your furnace may break down for several different reasons. It is important that when you start having furnace problems, that you seek Kansas City furnace repair as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse.
In fact, some people think that they may be able to wait out their furnace repair, only to find out that they waited too long and the repair cost has gone up greatly. This is due to some problems causing other issues in your furnace. You may have multiple areas that need to be repaired. Most furnace repairs can be done affordably if it is caught before they get too bad. Read on for the 10 most common furnace problems that you may face.
1. Lack of Maintenance
Your furnace needs to have proper maintenance done to it. It is a good idea to have it maintained at least once a year. For furnaces inspections of the heating system is generally done in the summer months before it turns cold. This is done to ensure that when you turn your heat on in the winter months, it works as it should. You will need to have a Kansas City come out to do maintenance on your furnace.
They will take a look at it to ensure that there are no problems. They will also do things like clean the coil and change the filters. During the maintenance check, your HVAC technician can take a look to make sure that no components of the unit are going bad. Not having proper maintenance is detrimental to your furnace’s health. You will want to make sure that you get a service maintenance agreement as soon as possible.
2. Dirty Filters
If your air filters become clogged, this can cause your furnace to work harder than it should, and it can cause you and your family to breathe in less than quality air. Filters need to be cleaned frequently to ensure that this does not happen. Typically, you need to change your filter every 6 weeks. For some types of filters, this is not as frequent. To find out the recommendations, ask your technician or look at your service manual.
3. Wear and Tear
As your HVAC starts to age, you may start dealing with some problems with wear and tear. The older a furnace gets, the more problems you will start having. You may have things like a noisy furnace, and issues with furnace cycling. You may also find that it does not heat your home as well. When this happens, you will need to get a furnace repair KC or you may have your furnace replaced if the damage is severe.
4. Pilot and Electric Ignition Problems
Problems with the pilot control or the electric ignition can happen with a furnace. This is probably one of the most common problems that people see. The ignition or pilot will need to be replaced, and a technician that is experienced in this, will have no trouble doing this quickly and affordably.
5. Malfunctioning Thermostat.
Another common problem is a malfunctioning thermostat. The malfunctioning thermostat may need to be replaced or it may just need new batteries. Over time, thermostats can wear out and a new one will need to be put in its place. Having a malfunctioning thermostat can mean that your house stays cooler than what it should, or your furnace may not run all. In some cases, the thermostat may call for the furnace to run too much. This can cause an increase in your energy bills as well as too much strain on your furnace.
6. No Heat
Times when the furnace does not heat at all. This can be for a broad variety of problems. It is imperative that if you have an issue with the furnace not turning on or heating, that you call a technician immediately. Calling a technician immediately will allow them to come out to your home and fix the issue. Most of the time an issue can be fixed relatively quickly so that your home is heated effectively.
7. Not Enough Heat
Your furnace may be working, but it is not working well enough. There may be heat, making it into a few of your rooms, but your house is simply not warm enough. This could indicate an issue with your heat pump, or even your heat strips. This could also indicate there is an issue with your ductwork. A technician can come out and inspect your entire system to find out the problem. Never try to fix the problem yourself as you may miss something or you may damage your furnace.
8. Frequent Cycling
If your furnace cycling is going off and coming back on every few minutes, there may be an issue with your sequencer, thermostat or other issue. It is important to take care of this issue as soon as possible as left untreated, the heat may go out altogether. Frequent furnace cycling can also cause higher than normal power bills.
9. Constantly Running Blower
In some cases, your blower may run constantly and this will indicate an issue with your furnace that needs to be addressed quickly. A malfunctioning blower can quickly cause your power bill to go up and it can also cause issues with other parts of your furnace. If you hear your blower running constantly you will need to call for a furnace repair KC.
10. Noisy Furnace
If you have a noisy furnace, you could have issues with your fan or other components of your furnace. This noise may be so loud you hear it outside the home, or even inside all around the house. It can be a minor annoyance or a major one. Hearing a noise can eventually lead to the furnace not turning on, as well as additional common furnace problems. While you might think that is okay, and that you can deal with the noise, it is always best to have it checked out just in case. A minor noise can turn into a big noise, and cause even bigger furnace problems down the road.
If you are in need of a Kansas City furnace repair, call Anthonys Heating and Cooling today. They are proud to serve the entire Kansas City, MO area. They are well known for their quality service and affordability. They also offer 24 7 services to help make sure that you stay warm no matter what. If you suffer from one of these common furnace problems, call Anthonys Heating and Cooling today so that they can help you get the heat running in your home correctly.
Your energy bills are probably driving you crazy and have led you to look for ways to cut on these costs. Admittedly, your old water heater is one of the biggest contributors to that high energy bill, and replacing it could mean considerable savings. Tankless water heaters are a modern type of heater that work towards helping you achieve that goal.
Anthony PHC Kansas City helps you upgrade to an instant water heater.
What is wrong with Your Traditional Heater?
Your traditional tank heater provides you with hot water after having to heat the entire tank’s capacity – between 30 and 50 gallons. While you might use up all of that capacity on occasion, most of the time, however, you will barely utilize half of it on a single use. The issue here is that you have used a lot of energy to heat the entire tank’s capacity yet you do not use all of it. This equates to wasted resources and it is certainly reflected on your energy bill.
As such, this is the main reason you should focus on upgrading your water heater, as the old one is woefully out of date. Therefore, the longer your traditional tank heater continues to rest in a utility closet or basement, the more likely you will be wasting electricity.
Moreover, traditional heaters are made to last for a decade at most. Our experts at Anthony Plumbing, the premier Plumber in Kansas City recommend replacing the heater before it starts displaying performance issues to save on heating costs.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
This is a type of heater that provides hot water only as it is needed. Also known as instant heaters, they do not produce the standby energy losses you are likely to find with traditional heaters, thereby saving you money. For a tankless water heater that makes 40 gallons or less of hot water every day, owners enjoy about 34% more energy efficiency over traditional heaters. For those who utilize a lot of hot water (more than 80 gallons) every day, this efficiency is around 14 percent.
How Does It Work?
The tankless water heater usually heats water directly without requiring the use of a storage tank. When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water starts traveling through a pipe and into the unit. Here, the water is heated using either a gas burner or electric element as it passes through. Consequently, a tankless water heater is able to deliver as much instant hot water as you need and not a drop more. This saves you the burden of having to wait for a storage tank to fill up with hot water.
Most tankless heaters produce hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons (7.6 – 15.2 liters) per minute. However, there are levels among tankless heaters as gas-fired heaters are able to produce higher flow rates than electric models. Nevertheless, due to their instant nature, a single heater typically serves a single source. Thus, it may not be able to supply enough hot water for multiple or simultaneous uses in large homes. For instance, running a shower and a dishwasher at the same time can prove to be too much to handle for a single heater. However, this problem can be quickly fixed by installing two or more tankless water heaters and connecting them in parallel. This will allow your household to run multiple hot water uses concurrently.
Reasons to Go Tankless
1. Avoiding Down Time
If you run a business whose core operations depend on providing the customers with hot water as part of the experience, going tankless is a necessity that directly connects to the bottom line.
A tankless system is nice to have if you do not use a lot of hot water. However, if your demand is high and your establishment depends on the availability of hot water, then a tankless system is a must have as you cannot afford to have down time if your hot water tanks run out.
As such, rather than limiting your business’s capabilities to the capacities of your storage tanks, a tankless water heater provides you with an infinite supply of hot water. Establishments such as salons and spas would benefit greatly from this system as it ensures that their customers are fully satisfied and not told that they cannot be afforded some services due to the unavailability of hot water.
Additionally, eateries such as restaurants may have to close their doors due to health reasons if they do not have enough hot water. A tankless system, therefore, ensures that your establishment never suffers from such scenarios. You may also create a system with several units so that even if one needs maintenance, the others will pick up the slack so that your system is not compromised.
2. Saving Space
Traditional heater tanks are voluminous contraptions. They gobble up so much space that they need to be installed in the basement, utility closet, or any other dedicated mechanical room for water heating.
Tankless heaters, on the other hand, are not as bulky as traditional tank heaters and are compact enough to be placed anywhere within the home. The advantage here is that you can place the heater as close as possible to the source. This allows for proximity that eliminates the need to wait for hot water while also eliminating wastage. It is next to impossible to install the traditional tank heater in spaces where you can fit a tankless model.
3. Increasing Home Value
In addition to ensuring that your home or establishment consumes water much more efficiently, installing a tankless heating model will become a selling point if you decide to put your house on the market. As such, you can consider the upgrade as a long-term investment. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, energy efficient upgrades such as tankless water heaters are among the top things that buyers are looking for in a home today. And because tankless water heaters can work efficiently for more than 20 years, using that reliability as a leverage point when selling your home does not hurt either.
4. Easy Maintenance
Traditional heaters often require replacement at the first sign of failure. Tankless heaters, however, rarely require replacements, and if they do, it is for individual parts that aim to extend their life.
The most important component in the tankless water heater is the heat exchanger; this component requires periodic flushing. This flush can either be done annually or every 3 – 5 years depending on the level of water hardness of the place you live. Talk to a plumber in Kansas city to advice you on this.
If you have been looking to cut on your energy bills, replacing your old water tank heater and upgrading to a tankless heater is the way to go. Traditional tanks are outdated in every sense of the word; they are bulky, slow, and unreliable in addition to facilitating energy wastage.
Tankless water heaters, however, provide you with instant hot water at the required volume. This ensures that they eliminate energy wastage. This allows you to make as much as 30 percent savings on your heating bills. Moreover, they are small so they can fit in any space.
Installation and Plumbing Services
So now if your ready to buy a new tankless water heater, the only thing left you require is help with the installation. Look no further than Anthonys give us a call and we can help you out in no time! But are you also looking for a reliable plumber in Kansas City? Anthony Plumbing has been the premier plumber in Kansas City for over 50 years. We realize the cost effects of outdated technology on your energy bills and we can help you upgrade to an efficient design that helps you save costs. In addition to plumbing services, Anthony Plumbing also offers heating services to ensure that you do not have fixtures causing energy wastage in your home.
Contact Anthony PHC Kansas City for all your plumbing services needs when looking for a plumber in Kansas City. We will be glad to help.
It’s the Warmth of the Sun In Your Garage
Add more comfortable living space to your home instantly! It’s easy with the installation of our Auto-Ray infrared garage heater. Our garage heater uses NO electricity. It runs on natural gas, using infrared technology, and can heat a 2-3 car garage for pennies a day. Just think, no more frozen blocks of snow still on your wheel wells in the morning. No more warming up the car for 10 minutes before you leave. Our garage heater is also a great idea for an out-building or a detached work shed. It also helps those rooms above the garage stay warm. We invite you to visit our showroom to see the garage heater in action. Beat the cold!
Call us today to schedule a free estimate at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (286-4669) KS or MO. Or click here to schedule a visit.
- Efficient Infrared Heat – Directly heats people and objects which in turn heats surrounding air to desired temperature.
- Economical – No electricity required
- Instant Heat – Includes adjustable thermostat for individually controlled warmth
- Large Capacity – Heats 500-600 sq. ft. (2-3 car garage)
- Convenient – Easy to operate
- Quiet, Clean, Odor-Free Operation – natural gas or propane
- Maintenance Free – No moving parts to service
- CSA Certified
- Limited 1 Year Warranty – On gas control
- Limited 3 Year Warranty – On burner
WHY INFRARED HEAT?
Infrared heaters work just like the sun. Infrared rays heat the object directly, not the air around it. When the object becomes hot, it heats the surrounding air and any other objects. With infrared heat, people, machinery, objects and floors all become heat reservoirs — leading to greater fuel and cost efficiency.
Should I Repair or Replace my Air Conditioning System?
When deciding whether to repair or replace your AC system, there are really three things you need to consider:
1. Which is the most Cost-Effective route?
2. What is my family’s Comfort level?
3. What are my Convenience needs?
At some point in the life of an AC system, repair costs outweigh the long-term cost savings of replacement, and it depends upon the unique circumstances of each homeowner as to when that tipping point is designated.
But Cost, though a huge consideration, is not the only one; Comfort and Convenience can be the deciding factors if you are trying to avoid the time and headaches associated with routine repairs on older equipment, or if you have family members in your household who cannot tolerate stretches without comfortable conditioned air.
1. COST CONSIDERATIONS
At some point replacing your AC system will be more effective in the long run, and there are several factors to consider when pulling the trigger to replace. The experienced Comfort Advisors at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are best equipped to help homeowners through this decision-making process, and homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of the free consultations we provide.
There are two instance, however, when replacement is almost always recommended:
when your system uses R-22 refrigerant
when your system is 15 years or older
If Your AC System Uses R-22, Plan your Replacement Strategy Now
If your cooling system uses the refrigerant known as R-22 and you’ve had to add refrigerant recently, then it is time to replace. Refrigerant doesn’t get used up – the only time you have to add refrigerant is if you have a leak. And if you have a leak, you will have to add more and more refrigerant each year.
Also, the price of R-22 is climbing every year. R-22 refrigerant contains chlorine, which eats away the ozone layer when leaked into the atmosphere. Because of this, R-22, also known as HCFC-22, will be illegal to produce starting in 2020, and the only way to acquire it will be through recycled or stockpiled supplies which will be prohibitively expensive to purchase.
The last AC systems using R-22 were manufactured in 2010. So if your AC system is one of these, it is already old enough to consider replacement. Refrigerant leaks likely happen to systems as they age. Refrigerant circulates under high pressure and therefore wears down the inside of the tubing. Because AC systems last only 10-15 years on average, it is time for your R-22 unit to be replaced, especially if it is leaking refrigerant.
How Do I Know if My AC System uses R-22?
Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends homeowners have an HVAC technician inspect their system to determine what kind of refrigerant it uses. Age of the system is one determinant – no R-22 units were manufactured after 2010. But systems using R-410A, the ozone-friendly refrigerant, have been manufactured since 1996, so just because your unit is old it doesn’t mean that it uses R-22.
It is occasionally possible to determine what type of refrigerant your system uses by locating its manufacturer’s data plate. These are labels found either on the side of the condenser (outside unit) or air handler (inside unit). Some manufacturers make it easier for you by putting a separate sticker on the condenser with the refrigerant spelled out in tall letters; R-410A also goes by the name Puron®, which is the name Carrier uses.
Can I Wait One More Year?
If you want to wait it out one more year and try to save money by pumping R-22 into your old unit until it is no longer available, you may end up spending a lot more next year than you save this year, as the cost of R-22 is increasing significantly every year until the 2020 phase out.
Waiting will also put you in the same boat as all of the others who are waiting until the last minute, and prices go up when demand is high. And even if you are lucky enough to get a reasonably priced replacement system, the wait for available technicians to install it might be long. And the last thing you want to do is be faced with weeks without air conditioning during the summer heat.
What if I Can’t Afford to Replace Right Now?
Replacing a central AC system can cost several thousands of dollars, more than many of us have saved up. This is where financing comes in. Fortunately, there is financing available for just about any credit score. The one bright side to incurring an extra monthly expense is the reduction in energy costs that you will receive when a new system is doing the cooling. New cooling systems outperform old ones significantly, no matter what their Energy Star rating is. Click here for financing options at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
Can I Get Away with Purchasing a Lower Cost AC System?
The cost of AC systems depends upon cooling capacity and SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how much cooling a system puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. In theory, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the system operates. But paying for a higher SEER rating does not necessarily mean that you will incur enough reduction in energy costs to make up for the higher price.
Size matters – if an HVAC company says you can get away with the same size system as you currently have, be skeptical. If you just purchased your home, don’t assume the AC system installed is necessarily the best size for your home. Size requirements can change when changes to your home are made as well, such as additions, insulation changes, and asphalt roof shingles.
If your cooling system is too small it will run constantly and not lower the temperature to your desired set point. Alternatively, if you install one that is too big, it will turn on and off constantly, and not dehumidify the home. This makes the home feel like a cave – cool and damp. It is most cost-effective to purchase a unit that is the correct size for your home.
Homeowners should use the assistance of well-trained experts like those at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in order to choose the most cost-effective AC system over the long run.
If Your AC System is More than 10 Years Old, Consider a More Efficient Model
Cooling systems wear out just like any other household appliance. A well-maintained AC system will last 10-15 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If your system is older than 15 years, replacement is recommended. But even if it is only 10 years old, replacing can save you money and peace of mind over waiting for it to fail over the next 5 years.
It is important to know that even AC units younger than 10 years old can fail if they have not been maintained properly over their lifespan. Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends having your cooling system tuned-up by a professional HVAC technician annually to keep your system in good working order. The technician can inspect the unit’s components, identify and fix any issues, and clean the indoor and outdoor coils. This will increase a system’s efficiency as well. If you have just purchased your home, try to obtain maintenance records, as they will inform you on the system’s potential either to fail soon, or last another several years.
Rising Energy Bills are a Red Flag that Your AC Could be Failing
Before you blame global warming for your rising energy costs, consider whether your high energy bills could be the result of a faulty, failing or inefficient AC system. An AC system that is working inefficiently will run more frequently, using up more electricity while not adequately cooling your home. Once an AC system reaches this point, its chance of failing completely increases rapidly.
Many utility companies provide comparison charts of how your bill has changed year over year. They also provide an average temperature for each day of the month, information that can help you identify whether higher utility costs are associated with outdoor temperature or something else.
Repeat Breakdowns – Another Indicator to Cut Your Losses and Replace
Whether your AC system has reached the end of its lifespan or not, having multiple serious repair jobs in a row could indicate it is close. Recall that systems last only as long as they’re maintained well, and some simply don’t last as long as others. If you’ve already fixed one issue and more are popping up, it might be best to cut your losses and replace.
Older AC systems will also have more aesthetic issues. “Rust is a major problem, along with being noisier than newer models,” says Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. “People with AC units that are near windows or backyard patios could benefit from the newer and quieter AC units built today.”
Climbing R-410A Refrigerant Costs – Bad News for Those with Leaking AC Systems
If you thought R-22 was the only refrigerant with a rapidly increasing price, think again. The price of R410-A has doubled in the last year, and price is expected to keep increasing. If your system has a refrigerant leak, your needle has just moved toward the replacement side of the decision making equation.
As stated above, leaks don’t go away, they get worse over time. And since the cost of refrigerant is ever-climbing, keep in mind that you will be paying a lost more next year than you paid this year to keep your system cooling. Not only will the refrigerant price be higher, but the amount you need will be greater due the leak getting bigger.
There are a few reasons for the rapidly increasing refrigerant prices. One is a tariff on Chinese imports imposed in 2017; most refrigerant is manufactured in China. Another reason is a worldwide shortage of R-125 that occurred in 2017, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of R-410A and other refrigerants. And prices for refrigerant naturally raise in hotter weather due to increased demand, so homeowners that needed refrigerant added to their systems during the summer of 2018 were shocked to find the price increased significantly.
Although it doesn’t look like R-410A AC systems will be discontinuing anytime soon, it does look like the cost of R-410A will continue to increase, making replacement a more affordable option in comparison.
2. COMFORT CONSIDERATIONS
For some families, no amount of cost savings is worth putting their family at risk of being without adequate air conditioning. For homeowners with pets, children, or adults who are elderly, pregnant or have health issues, it doesn’t make sense to save a few bucks and hope your AC system will last another year with no major repair downtime.
Heat Can Harm Kids, Pets, Pregnant Women and Elderly
The temperature inside your home rises at an alarming rate when your cooling system stops working. It is no secret how miserable it is to be inside a 90-degree home, but to some it can be dangerous.
Pregnant women are understandably susceptible to overheating during pregnancy, but it is worth noting that the unborn child is at a higher risk of experiencing low weight and birth defects when subjected to extreme heat. Individuals with breathing problems and heart conditions experience a great deal of distress when subjected to heated air, especially when coupled with humidity.
The younger the child and the older the adult, the more susceptible they are to heat stroke and heat exhaustion and dehydration. These populations, like pets, cannot always discern or verbalize their discomfort until it is too late.
3. CONVENIENCE CONSIDERATIONS
Rather than take time off work and move all of your pets and family members to a hotel while your AC is down, or worry about them being home alone while you are away at work during an AC system failure, replacing your cooling system will do more than save money, it will save worry as well.
Even if you are a healthy adult who can easily “take the heat,” chances are you live a busy life and cannot afford to take a day off work to deal with a “hot house.” Nor are you willing to return from a long, tiring vacation ready to jump back into a busy work week and come home to an unpleasant sauna.
AC Systems Only Break Down in the Heat
As obvious as this sounds, this is worth remembering, because it is easy to forget how critical air conditioning is to your life during the cooler months. Whether your cooling system quits working because a simple repair is needed or because it has reached the end of its lifespan, NO time is a good time to be without air conditioning during a heat wave.
It is important to remember that HVAC technicians are their busiest during heat waves as well, so you might be facing more than the usual 24-48 hours without cooling if you have to wait for technicians to become available during the busy season.
Plan Your Replacement in Advance
By scheduling your AC replacement well in advance, you can plan your installation for a time when it is convenient for you. Some replacements can even be completed over the weekend if planned well enough ahead.
It is often best to purchase a new cooling system during the off season, when demand is less and installation technicians have more time. Look for AC clearance sales and have financing paperwork completed for when the perfect deal arises. Don’t make a heatwave-related AC emergency dictate the cost and timing of your AC replacement. Also, a complete system includes a furnace or air handler that moves the cooled air, so furnace replacement should be considered anytime cooling systems are replaced.
4. One More “C”… CALL if you Have Questions!
For more information on how to recognize when your cooling system needs replacing, contact Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in the Kansas City metro area. We have Comfort Advisors willing to share their wealth of experience and expertise with you for free. We will make the Repair vs. Replace decision-making process a breeze, and make the AC replacement process a happy one – GUARANTEED. Call us 24/7 at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
“ZONING saved my marriage!” Anonymous, Overland Park
By giving homeowners more control over how they heat and cool their home, a zoning system enables the creation of comfort zones that are customizable for each room or “zone,” which keeps all family members happy while saving money on energy bills at the same time. Instead of sending the same amount of heated or cooled air into all rooms when the furnace or air conditioner is turned on, multiple thermostats allow the system to send conditioned air only to the zones that need it and only when they need it.