Do Air Conditioners Lose Efficiency Over Time?

JC Mechanical’s energy efficiency experts can keep your air conditioner in excellent condition—call today to learn more! 

Air conditioners are essential for keeping you cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer. Plus, they are one of the most reliable home appliances, with an impressive average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. However, that doesn’t make them immune to encountering a few problems throughout the course of the unit’s useful life.

But do air conditioners lose efficiency over time if you keep up with maintenance? Below, JC Mechanical’s guide explores some of the possibilities. As Denver’s reliable air conditioning repair experts, they also provide a few tips to keep your cooling unit running efficiently.

do air conditioners lose efficiency over time

Measure an Air Conditioner’s Efficiency From the Start

On every air conditioner, you’ll find an energy guide to the overall efficiency rating of that particular unit. Experts measure air conditioner efficiency via British Thermal Units, which indicate the heat the unit removes per hour. A federal energy guide label will also list the Energy Efficient Ratio of room AC units or the SEER figure for central air conditioners.

Generally, the higher these ratings, the more efficient the unit will be. So, installing the most efficient model possible for your home or business will mean using less energy to cool the place down, which will also save money on utility bills long-term.

Understand How Air Conditioners Lose Efficiency Over Time

Air conditioners do become less efficient over time, but it’s not as bad as you might imagine. As a unit ages, it undergoes wear and tear, whether it’s run for one summer or ten. While you can’t turn back the clock, you don’t necessarily have to see your air conditioner efficiency decline with each passing year.

Although you can’t stop all the wear and tear from happening, there are some steps you can take to reduce the rate of deterioration. For example, you could always schedule an annual tune-up service with a licensed professional.

It’s even possible to keep your cooling system fully functional and highly energy efficient for up to 20 years with this kind of routine maintenance from experts like JC Mechanical. The following tasks may be part of this maintenance:

  • Inspect every part of your unit, from the condenser coil to the wire connections
  • Clean off any grime and test to see whether all components work
  • Suggest repairs or replacements that could restore more efficient function

Scheduling regular maintenance checks will greatly improve the life expectancy of your unit.

Don’t Underestimate a Unit’s Clogged Air Filters

Families will track plenty of dirt and dust into a home. Add several other people or pets to the mix, and in no time, the air conditioning system’s air filter will be caked in dirt, other particles, fur, and various allergens. Unfortunately, this buildup of particles on the filter’s surface will limit the air that can pass through it and force your air conditioner to work harder.

Any cooling system will use far less energy to run when it has a perfectly clean filter in place. So, check your filter regularly, and don’t wait long to replace a dirty one. Clogged filters make your air conditioner less efficient, but they also impact your property’s indoor air quality.

Are you breathing musty, uncomfortable air? Poor air quality can lead to major respiratory issues and other health issues. If you aren’t sure how often to change your filter or which kind to use, be sure to reach out to an HVAC expert like JC Mechanical before your health suffers.

Remember to Check for Cracked Air Ducts

Do air conditioners lose efficiency over time? Yes, cracked air ducts are commonly a problem. The pathway connects the cooling unit to your home’s vents, so cracks or gaps mean leaks and less control over your comfort.

Ductwork issues are harder to diagnose than a dirty filter. However, if you notice spikes in your energy bills or difficulties reaching your desired indoor temperature with the air conditioning running, a duct leak may be to blame. A professional HVAC technician like JC Mechanical will need to inspect your system for cracks or holes that are sending temperature-controlled air into walls or ceilings instead of to your vents.

Is your air conditioner working overtime to cool your home? You’re throwing away money every time you flip on your HVAC system. Rather, call certified technicians for duct sealing services to save in the long run and restore your air conditioner’s energy efficiency.

Clear Debris Away So That It Doesn’t Infiltrate Your System’s Outdoor Unit

Most property owners don’t pay much attention to outdoor condensers. Out of sight, out of mind. However, its state is a good indicator of how efficient your air conditioning system is.

Does the condenser have constant exposure to dust, dirt, and other pollutants? These particles accumulate between the fins, impacting how the condenser coil releases heat. The result will be a much less efficient system and more frequent repair needs.

Thankfully, you can easily prevent this issue by monitoring your condenser as often as your air filter. Experts like JC Mechanical also advise that property owners clear away all the leaves, twigs, and other debris within a two-foot radius of the unit to reduce the risk of damage.

A Lack of Maintenance is Not Worth the Risk of a Breakdown

Do air conditioners lose efficiency over time without proper maintenance? Of course. But even simple tasks like swapping out air filters or clearing away debris from your outdoor unit can help.

Every bit of maintenance contributes to keeping your cooling system running smoothly. Doing nothing will steadily raise your energy costs and force you to replace the unit earlier than expected. So, do your part by keeping up with DIY cleaning, but be sure to schedule a professional tune-up at the start of each cooling season too.

Look For Other Ways To Improve Your Energy Efficiency

In addition to all the tips above, you can reduce your overall energy efficiency by doing the following:

  • Use a programmable thermostat for customized temperature control to ease the strain on the air conditioner
  • Block sunlight from your windows during the hottest part of the day to keep the rooms cooler
  • Limit the use of your oven, clothes dryer, and other heat-producing appliances to minimize the need for cooling

Don’t Delay the Job When You Need to Replace Your Air Conditioner

No unit lasts forever, but how can you tell when it’s time to replace your air conditioner? Take into account its age and overall performance. For example, if your unit is five years old and runs perfectly, but you notice a slight increase in your energy bills each year, it might benefit from more regular maintenance.

On the other hand, a 12-year-old system that requires frequent repair is likely past its prime. It will make more financial sense to invest in a brand-new unit.

Do Air Conditioners Lose Efficiency Over Time? Not With Local HVAC Experts on Hand

Now that you know the answer to “Do air conditioners lose efficiency over time,” you can take steps to keep your cooling system in great shape. Why not let the specialists at JC Mechanical treat your unit with regular AC maintenance, repairs, or even a replacement unit? All systems become less efficient over time, but proper maintenance makes a considerable difference.

Reach out to JC Mechanical at 720-779-7263 today to schedule a consultation and keep your cooling system in top condition. We can also help you upgrade to a newer model that’s much more energy efficient and will save you money.

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