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Factors to Consider When Properly Choosing an AC Unit for Your Big Bear Home

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


Have you ever thought about what life must have been like before the invention of air conditioners? Indeed, summers must have been extremely difficult to endure, especially in sunny California, where it is hotter than in most other places in the country. It is not until the current AC system begins to malfunction that people spend time pondering the non-AC dilemmas of the past. 

The threat of losing the very system that provides so much reprieve in the heat of summer can put many people into a state of panic. But it doesn’t have to be so. This article will discuss everything related to replacing the air conditioning unit. First, we will discuss the basic cues that indicate a needed HVAC replacement, and then, we will go over the deciding factors when choosing a new unit. 

When is it Time to Replace Your AC Unit?

How can a regular homeowner without HVAC training know that their air conditioning unit is getting ready to go out of order? You can always speak to someone who specializes in affordable air conditioning installs in Big Bear, CA, but you can also consider the following signs as you think about the condition of your HVAC. 

Its Age

Most air conditioners last 15-20 years, depending on the unit’s manufacturer and maintenance. If you regularly change the unit’s air filters and have it tuned up at least once a year, your AC has a higher chance of lasting the maximum of its lifespan. Also, if your ductwork is in good condition, you will be able to get the most out of your central AC because it will support the system’s efficient operation. 

It Breaks Down Frequently 

Have you been experiencing frequent breakdowns in your air conditioning unit? If that is the case, it may be time for a replacement. As your AC approaches the end of its lifespan, the typical wear and tear will begin to show in more frequent repairs. The blower bearings will go out of order, and the refrigerant lines will leak more often. 


The most expensive and extensive repair is the compressor which is usually replaced. Compressors are the heart of the AC, and as such, they cost nearly as much as a new air conditioning unit. Thus, most technicians recommend replacing the whole unit when this issue arises. 

Your Energy Bills are Skyrocketing

Have you noticed an increase in your energy bills recently? Your old AC unit may just be the culprit behind those bills! Aging AC units lose their efficiency over time and require extra energy to cool and heat the home. As a result, your bills and wallet will reflect these effects. To save money in the long run, consider looking into affordable air conditioning installs in Big Bear, CA. 

Poor AC Performance

Another telltale sign that it is time for a new air conditioning unit is when it starts to perform poorly. Most air conditioning units are designed to simultaneously deliver consistent temperatures to every part of your home. If your rooms have inconsistent temperatures, especially when you have a central air conditioning unit, you must contact a repair tech for assistance. The most common reasons for inconsistent cooling include: 

  • Dirty air filters
  • Thermostat issues
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Clogged condenser unit
  • Blocked vents
  • Ductwork issues

Your technician will be able to perform a thorough assessment of your air conditioning system and will provide personalized recommendations for resolving the issue. 

It Makes Weird Sounds

Is your AC making weird sounds that can be loud enough to wake you at night? If that is the case, you will need to have the unit inspected and possibly replaced. The most concerning sounds that you should be aware of include: 

  • Grinding or screeching: indicates a problem with the unit’s fan or motor bearings
  • Hissing or bubbling: indicative of a refrigerant leak
  • Rattling or banging: caused by loose or damaged components
  • Clicking or buzzing: malfunctioning capacitor or relay
  • Loud or persistent humming: caused by issues with the electrical system of the AC


Do not allow any of these sounds to keep you up at night! Contact an affordable air conditioning installs service in Big Bear, CA, who will help you troubleshoot them. 

Poor Air Quality

Worn-out air conditioning units have a tendency to slow down in their ability to filter the air properly. Thus, you may begin to notice larger quantities of dust inside the home. Also, your air may begin to carry an unpleasant odor, such as the following: 

  • Burning smell: caused by an electrical problem in your unit. When this occurs, the AC must be immediately shut off, and a technician must be contacted for further assistance. 
  • Musty or moldy smell: this may indicate mold growth in your AC unit or ductwork. 
  • Rotten egg smell: gas leak within the unit (if powered by gas)
  • Chemical smell: caused by a refrigerant leak, which can harm the environment and anyone who comes in contact with it. 

Though these smells can be caused by other factors other than an aging or malfunctioning AC unit, it is worth noting that as the unit wears out, the issue of air quality will increase. It is best to replace the unit before it exacerbates health symptoms or dangerous situations, like an electrical fire. 

Deciding Factors for a New AC Unit

Perhaps by this point, you’ve pinpointed one or two signs that your AC is ready to be replaced. But what should you know about selecting your new unit before contacting affordable air conditioning installs in Big Bear, CA? Below, we provide a few top factors that your technician will consider when helping you choose a suitable unit for your home. 

Size of the Unit

One of the first factors to consider when choosing a new air conditioning unit is the size of your home. A unit is selected based on the square footage of the house to ensure that it delivers the perfect temperatures to each of its rooms. When the unit is too small, it won’t be able to cool the home as effectively. When it is too big, it will consume far too much energy and increase your energy bills. Poorly sized units also wear out quicker than expected.

Energy Efficiency

The efficiency of air conditioning units is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the ratio, the better your AC system will perform. This means that your AC can cool the home at optimal levels without making you spend copious amounts of money on energy bills. By the way, did you know that the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes tax credits for those homeowners who upgrade to high-tier efficiency units? Learn more about it on Energy Saver. 

Type of Unit

There are different types of AC units, with the main ones being a heat pump, central air conditioning, or a ductless multi-split. Each unit offers different features and advantages that suit various households. 


The unit you choose for your home will largely depend on the type you are replacing. For instance, if you currently have central air, you will likely replace it with a new central air conditioning unit. 


Each unit will also carry a different price tag, a significant deciding factor. Heat pumps cost more than central air conditioners, which will cost more than most multi-split systems. 

Noise Level

Some air conditioning systems are louder than others. The multi-split system is probably the loudest AC unit, while the heat pump system will always be the quietest since most of its components are hidden underground. 

Cost and Budget

The cost of your air conditioning unit will depend on the following factors: 

  • Its size – bigger homes will require bigger units.
  • SEER rating – high-efficiency rates cost more but will save you on energy bills in the long run. 
  • Manufacturer – some brands are more expensive than others, but we recommend going with the nation’s top brands as they perform better. 
  • Features – if you opt for additional features like a programmable thermostat, air purifier, or humidifier, you will pay higher costs. 
  • Ductwork – those who choose to install central air conditioning may need to have ductwork installed. This process is labor-intensive and time-consuming and will cost a lot of money. 

Installation Requirements

The installation of some air conditioning units requires more work than others. For example, if you just want a ductless multi-split installed in your single-room apartment, you will understandably pay less because the work is minimal. This is compared to the arduous tasks of installing a central air conditioning unit in a home that only operates on a ductless system. 


Heat pumps are installed underground and connected in a special way that allows them to use renewable energy to enhance your home’s temperatures. This will require digging and highly specialized work by techs who are trained for the job. As a result, installing a heat pump may not be as affordable as the other units. However, it will save you on energy bills down the line and help you contribute to energy conservation. 

Affordable Air Conditioning Installs in Big Bear, CA

Are you suspecting that your AC may need to be replaced soon? Contact Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating to learn about the AC replacement options available. Our techs will provide you with an assessment of your current unit and estimate the costs for a brand-new air conditioning system. Give us a call today at (909) 787-986.


Related Content: 10 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Homeowners in Bear Valley

If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.