Every machine or device in your house has a lifespan, and the older a device gets, or the more it is used, its efficiency and output also drop.
An AC is not an exception. Generally, older ACs tend to be less efficient both in terms of energy consumption and cooling abilities. And that’s why it’s quite important to understand how to tell the age of an AC unit.
This will help you in making some crucial decisions about the unit. For instance, if an AC breaks down, is it economical to repair it or replace it altogether?
Well, most ACs have a lifespan of around 10-15 years. If your unit is nearing the 15 years mark, replacement might be the solution, although other factors like proper maintenance play a big role in increasing its usability.
Before we figure out how to tell the age of an AC unit, let’s explore why it’s important to know the age.
Why should you Know the Age of your AC
Is it important to know your AC’s age? Yes, it definitely is; as an AC user, here are some important reasons why you should have an idea of how old your unit is:
- Budget purposes: You may need to plan for a new AC if it has exceeded its lifespan.
- Decision-making: It helps determine the proper action to take, repair or replace. Once you know the age of your AC, you will know which route to take.
- Maintenance needs: This includes both preventive maintenance and repairs, and also includes the cost of maintenance for both categories.
- Energy efficiency: It helps you estimate the unit’s efficiency level at that specific age.
With this information, we shall now look at how to tell the age of your AC unit in the following three ways;
How to Tell Age of AC Units: Top Tips
1. Check the nameplate
Checking the nameplate is one of the main ways on how to tell age of AC units. The metal nameplate is located at the outdoor condenser unit of your AC. But, depending on your AC’s brand, the actual location usually differs.
Some brands have their nameplates at the top of the AC, while others have them at the back of the outside unit. The good news with the nameplate is that it carries useful information about the unit. This includes; the AC’s company name, model number, and the manufacturing date (specified as month/year).
Take a picture of the nameplate using your phone for reference. You can now look this number up on the web to get the details of your AC model.
2. Is there a serial number on your AC?
If yes, that’s the next place to look!
Your AC may fail to show the manufacturing date on the nameplate in some rare cases. If this happens, look up the serial number instead. With the unit’s serial number, getting the age of your AC is pretty easy.
All you need to do is note the serial number down, or even take a photo of it with your phone. From here, go online and search for your AC unit using the serial number. Since this number carries all the unit’s important information, getting its manufacturing date is easy.
The good thing with this method of determining the age of your AC is that each AC unit has a unique serial number. This means you cannot confuse your unit’s information with that of another unit.
3. Installation date
Another solution on how to tell the age of your AC unit is to get when it was installed. You will determine this as either:
- The installation date of your AC (applies to most households) OR
- The date that the original homeowner bought it from the builder.
To discover this, go through all the paperwork you received from your sales agent when purchasing your house. You will require the AC registration, invoice, and warranty which shows the installation date.
The installation date is usually within a few months after manufacture, so it is a good guide to determine the actual age of your AC. Learn more about AC installations here.
What do you do once you’ve learned the age of an AC unit?
You may be wondering what next now that you have this information about the age of your AC. And after you know how to determine the age of AC units, you might want to determine at what age you should look into replacement.
Currently, the average lifespan of AC is 10-15 years (as earlier mentioned). So, beyond that, you should consider replacing your AC.
But, you need to consider other factors if your AC falls between the age of 10-15 years before making the final decision. These include:
- The performance energy of your AC
- The number of times you have done repairs and the cost incurred
- The cost incurred in the running of the AC over a previous couple of summers
If your AC becomes too expensive to run and you have repairs amounting to more than $500 annually, then it is time you thought of a replacement.
Another consideration for replacement is the refrigerant your system uses. This information is found on the nameplate. If your AC uses R-22, then its definitely time to buy a new one, as it’s not recommended to continue operating any models with this type of refrigerant.
Indicators that it is time to bid your AC goodbye
Now that you know how to find the age of AC units, it is also important to know when replacement is necessary.
Skyrocketing energy bills
Escalating energy bills are indicators that there is a problem with your AC unit. If you are tired of spending more every month on energy, then it is time to opt for a more permanent solution.
You can repair or replace your unit if the bills become high when the usage can’t be changed. A technician can help assess if the AC has reached the end of its useful life.
Air conditioner age
The age of your AC is a major factor in determining whether it is time to let it go or not. Realistically, an AC that is over fifteen years needs replacement. An older system tends to be very inefficient and has a lower SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios).
You can also apply the 5,000 rule. It states that if the cost to repair multiplied by the age of the unit is more than $5,000, replace the AC. If the total is less than that, take the repairing route. Therefore, learning how to find the age of AC units is crucial for any owner of an AC system.
Frequent AC repairs
If you keep calling your HVAC technician for repairs, it is time to get a new one. However, if the repairs are minor, you should reach out to a Direct Air technician who will advise you on how to proceed.