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How Often Should You Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit in Big Bear?

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


An HVAC unit is integral to any Big Bear home as it directly corresponds to your comfort. It helps circulate fresh air in your home and removes dust and allergens. However, homeowners are usually curious about how often to replace their systems, especially considering that it’s a huge investment.

This article will discuss how often you need to replace your air cooling unit or if you need to replace it at all. We will also analyze all the factors to consider when replacing your air conditioner and how to extend its lifespan.

How Often Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner in Big Bear?

You should replace your HVAC system every 10-15 years. HVAC systems have an average lifespan of 10 and 20 years, after which they may stop working.

An air conditioning unit that’s more than ten years old may still work enough for you to be comfortable, but the reality is that the system has become less efficient.

Your unit can’t work forever, and unlike furnaces, it is exposed to harsh weather conditions all year. This makes it susceptible to faults. Modern systems tend to last 10-15 years with optimal function, while older ones last 10-12 years of excellent work. However, you can choose to replace your unit every ten years to be safe.

Also, if you notice a sudden increase in your energy bills, it’s a sign that your AC unit may be old enough for a change. Already, an average American household spends $1,346 ln heating and cooling. Further inflation of these figures is likely a reminder that your unit needs replacement.

Also, increased dust and inconsistent temperatures in different parts of your home may indicate that your AC unit needs to be replaced. Your air conditioning unit removes humidity and allergens from your home at a relatively regular temperature.

But, when you notice the inconsistent temperature in the rooms or a constant fluctuation from hot to cold, it’s a sign that your ductwork or the system has issues.

Other Signs You Need to Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit in Big Bear

Other factors may indicate you are due for a new air conditioning unit beside your unit’s age. Here are some of them below:

Frequency of Repair

Consider how often you usually need to repair your system. If you repair it regularly, you should consider buying a new unit. Spending money on frequent repairs is not wise as you may spend half of what it takes to get a new system on repairs.

Also, buying a new unit is best if the repair cost exceeds 50% of the buying price. You can call technicians for a repair estimate to help you decide.

Maintenance Culture

An air conditioning unit that’s been neglected will likely not reach the estimated lifespan. However, Big Bear homeowners who replace air filters on time, have annual AC tune-ups, and clean their units will enjoy them more.

So, people who ignore their units and forget about them after installation will need a change faster than those who keep theirs well-maintained.

Energy Efficiency

Your HVAC drastically impacts your energy bills, and the type of system can increase or lower your energy costs.

If your unit is very old, it’s most likely less energy efficient and may not copy with the *energy rules for HVAC systems. But newer systems already have these considerations, so they are legally compliant and will save you money.

So, if you live in an old home, it may be best to replace your system.

Refrigerant Type

Similar to how older systems are not energy efficient, they also tend to use the R-22 refrigerant, which can greatly damage the environment. Due to legislation, the U.S. has officially stopped producing freon to protect the ozone layer, so the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out R-22 refrigerants.

Since the R-22 refrigerant is no longer in production, finding a replacement if it’s damaged is frustrating and expensive.

AC Unit Operation

How your AC operates is a huge indicator of whether you need to consider replacing it. Your AC unit should serve the purpose it was made for without fuss. Here are a few things you can check

  • Does the temperature in your home fluctuate often?
  • Is your unit making loud or strange noises during operation?
  • Are your energy bills consistent or randomly increasing?
  • Are all the rooms in your home being evenly cooled?

If any of these is happening, your system’s operation is faulty, and you may need an expert to confirm if you need a replacement.

Exposure and Environment

Your unit’s environment can affect its operation and health. For example, the AC unit sits outside all year long and is directly affected by the weather in the area.

Big Bear’s freezing winter weather can impact your unit’s operations.

So, if your AC unit isn’t kept under a shade and you don’t clean the coil regularly, it’s likely to have a shorter lifespan.

Home Resale Value

One random reason you may consider getting a new air conditioning unit for your Big Bear home is if you want to boost the resale value of your home.

A modern energy-efficient HVAC system will make your house a better package when you put it on the market.

AC Unit Size

The size of your AC unit matters. An AC unit that’s too big or too small will substantially drive up your energy costs. Also, a unit that’s too large may fail fast. So, finding a replacement that suits your home’s energy needs and size is best.

Should I Repair or Replace My Unit in Big Bear?

If your system has developed a few faults, and you are torn between repairing or replacing it entirely, here are a few things to consider:

Age of the Unit

If your unit is still relatively young or less than eight years, it may be financially wiser to hold off on a replacement. You can still fix the necessary parts unless the issue is recurring.

However, if the unit is older and only has two to three years before the average lifespan of 15 years, it may be best to replace it.

Random Repair

If the fault with your unit is only a one-time issue, and you have access to professional help from a good HVAC company in Big Bear, it’s better just to repair the system.

But if you’ve had to pull multiple repairs over time, it’s best to replace the unit.

You should consult with the company to determine what the issue is. This will help you make an informed decision.

Tips For Getting an AC Unit Replacement

After deciding to replace your system, you must take active steps to ensure you get a system that suits your needs and lasts long.

There are different kinds of systems, such as Central air conditioning, geothermal units, portable units, window units, hybrid units, and ductless split units. You can determine which best suits your home with proper research and the help of a professional.

Here are some tips to get an efficient and optimal unit.

  • Buy a unit that’s compliant with energy standards to save money. Factor in the Energy Efficiency Rating and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (EER and SEER). 
  • Consider your home size and architecture when choosing between split and window ACs. Split systems are suitable for bigger homes, while window ACs are cheaper, easier to install, and noiseless.
  • Go for an air conditioner with a powerful dehumidification unit.
  • See if you can set different predefined temperatures.
  • Consider a cost that strikes a balance between key features and your budget.
  • Factor in the extra labor that a unit may require. For instance, portable units vent water into trays that you must empty periodically.
  • Look for convenient features such as performance data, programmable thermostat, timers, and sleep mode.

How to Maintain Your Air Conditioning Unit

As a homeowner in Big Bear, the true way to ensure you get the optimal lifespan out of your air conditioning unit is by maintaining it properly.

So here are some tips to keep your AC in optimal condition for a long time.

  • Keep your unit in a place with free space. Avoid keeping it where other devices are, especially if they are flammable.
  • Keep your AC unit in the shade to prevent it from working twice as necessary.
  • Change your filters regularly. Clean filters ensure your AC works smoothly and serves you all year long.
  • Keep your AC unit on at a low temperature for a longer period.
  • Constantly check for drafts and leaks. Leaks are expensive to fix and will prevent your air conditioner from working properly.
  • Check your ductwork for bends and leaks. This can prevent adequate air from getting into your home.

Final Thoughts

Your AC unit can last as long as 15 years for a new model and 12 years for an older one. However, you can generally start to notice differences in your unit’s performance once it hits the ten years mark.

Besides, a system that needs constant repair or increases your energy bills is no longer cost-effective, so the best option is to replace it as soon as possible.

However, there are several circumstances where repairing will be enough to keep your unit working, so ensure you consult a professional before making this expensive investment.

Call Bear Valley Plumbing Team for Air Conditioning Replacement in Big Bear

Bear Valley Plumbing and Heating is the best Big Bear heat and air conditioning company providing installation, repair, and maintenance for HVAC systems to homes and businesses in Big Bear, California. Visit our website to know more about the services we offer and how to contact us.

You can also request an urgent service as our experts are available all-day or request an appointment for a later date.

Related Content: 6 Reasons Why Heater Maintenance Is Critical for Your Big Bear Home


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