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6 Signs You Need a New AC Unit

During the dog days of summer when temperatures rise into the 90s and the humidity is stifling, you need to rely on your air conditioning unit to be up to the task of cooling your family down. But what if your system breaks down unexpectedly, leaving you sweating and uncomfortable in your home?

Unfortunately – even if you are diligent about yearly air conditioner tune ups – your AC unit won’t last forever. While ACs are prone to breaking down with little notice, there are a handful of signals to look out for that could indicate your unit is on its last leg.

Signs Your AC Unit Could Break Down

Here are six signals that your AC might be about to stop working:

1. Your Air Conditioner Is Aging

According to, most central air conditioning units last about 20 years with proper maintenance – with 12 years serving as its mid-life point. Failure to routinely maintain your system will result in a much shorter lifespan. Older furnaces, though, aren’t as efficient, and the technicians at Star suggest considering replacing your AC unit between 12 and 15 years.

If an expensive repair occurs and you don’t have a home warranty, then it may be more cost effective to replace an aging unit rather than repair it. If your air conditioner is 10 years old or older, you can save 20 to 40 percent of your cooling energy costs with a new energy-efficient model, according to

If you have questions about whether or not to replace your unit, give the trusted technicians at Star Heating & Cooling a call to discuss your options.

2. Unusual Noises or Foul Smells

Unusual or loud noises may be warning signs your AC unit has reached the end of its lifespan. ACs should not make noticeable squeaking, screeching or grinding type noises.

Some causes for noises could be issues with the motor or even debris caught in the fan. Schedule a maintenance call with your HVAC technician to discuss whether its an easy repair or a sign that replacement is on the horizon.

Air conditioners aren’t supposed to have a smell to them, so if you notice a burning or smoking smell, have a technician come out and assess the problem.

3. Frequent Breakdowns

If your HVAC company is on speed dial, you likely need a new air conditioning unit. If the system is aging and not covered under warranty or by a home warranty, consider replacing it.

AC repairs can add up. In the long run, you’ll save money on expensive repairs and on your monthly energy bills by switching to an energy-efficient unit.

4. Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Your Home Properly

Over time, your home’s air conditioner loses efficiency and struggles to keep up with demand. One of the most common warning signs is when the unit takes several minutes for cool air to start coming out through the vents. This may be a sign the AC compressor is about to break down. It could also signal a clog in the ducts, which is causing the air to come out poorly. Either way, you’ll need to have it inspected.

If rooms in your home are cooler or hotter than others, it could be a sign that your cooling system may need repaired or replaced.

5. High Energy Bills

If the energy bills have skyrocketed in recent months or years, your system is probably working too hard, and it may be time to upgrade equipment or replace the unit entirely. 

6. Leaking or Moisture Around the Unit

Excess water or moisture around the unit should be inspected immediately. One common cause for this is a refrigerant leak, which should be immediately fixed by a technician.

Contact Star for All of Your Air Conditioning and HVAC System Needs

If you’re experiencing issues with your AC unit, contact the professionals at Star Heating & Cooling today! Our Nate-certified technicians will diagnose your air conditioner and provide you with sound advice on your best course of action. Whether it’s time for a new air conditioner or just a repair, the friendly staff at Star has you covered.