When should I replace my AC unit ?

A central air conditioner is a multi-sectional unit for climate control in large buildings, combining the functions of ventilation, cooling, heating, and air purification. Despite a licensed brand is usually durable, one day you could face a challenge of replacing central AC unit, which is not cheap. However, if you hire a reliable contractor, the expenses will pay off quickly. Best Heating Cooling & Air will replace the air conditioning system in record time, without causing unnecessary inconvenience, and the estimate will pleasantly surprise you!

When is Time to Replace the Central Air Conditioning Unit?

Deciding when to replace central AC unit the homeowners consider the average service life up to 20 years. However, we advise replacing the unit after 15 years of service, when the risk of a functional collapse grows higher and depreciation makes any fix useless.

If the model is withdrawn, you hardly could find the necessary spare parts. In addition, innovative units save energy with 20-40% less electricity consumption than the analogs produced before 2006. There are other pros in favor of replacing the air conditioner, which make it clear that such a need may arise in the near future.

  1. Frequent breakdowns. If you call maintenance more than twice a season, be ready that your unit depreciates quicker.
  2. Fluctuating room temperature. A well-maintained air conditioner can balance significant temperature and humidity fluctuations, unlike a depreciated unit.
  3. Unusual whirs and odors. Those are a signal of a dysfunction – knocking, clicking, grinding, and howling. Musty odors in the room indicate clogged drains and mold.
  4. A hike in electricity bills. Fan dysfunction overloads the engine, which in turn, consumes more energy while working. The motor overheating accelerates depreciation. In the case of the old models, it would be cheaper to install a new assembly than fix a motor.
  5. Moisture and dust. An increased level of those rather indicates a weak airflow and inappropriate functioning, then inappropriate cleaning.

How to replace the central AC unit?

Appropriate installation is a basis for the smooth functioning of climate control eliminating many dysfunctions in the future. Therefore, only the experts should install air conditioning systems, the certified contractors with sufficient technical and human resources.

BHC&Air is Colorado’s leading air conditioning expert. Our qualifications are confirmed by the NATE certificate and licenses for all types of HVAC services. If you need a high-quality central AC unit replacement at an affordable price, within your deadline, and without the inconveniences, we are ready to accept your request.

Replacing a central air conditioner step by step

A professional approach to the replacement of climate equipment involves thorough planning, a clear structure of operations, and timely reports to the client about all stages of the project. The client is the one who gives approval. Prior to kick-off, we discuss project details to specify all key points:

  • expectations, goals and priorities of the client;
  • operating conditions of the equipment;
  • technical characteristics of the system;
  • scope, schedule, and timeline;
  • project budget and cost engineering.

The BHC&Air consultant will also help to choose the climate control assembly among the branded equipment. Our collaboration with Xcel Energy facilitates discounted sales. After the contract is signed, we take measurements of the premises and check communications and ventilation. The engineering department develops a system design according to those figures.

If necessary, replacing the central air conditioner goes in line with the reconstruction and repair of depreciated pipelines. Such project costs on average $2500-7000. Based on the project documentation, the installation team assembles, connects, and sets up of the unit in stages, which we are going to describe in detail.

Disassembly of the Unit In Use

When disassembling an old air conditioning system, it is important to follow the wise structure of works and consider the safety measures according to the EPA when working with freons. The refrigerants used in older air conditioners often contain toxic compounds and ozone depleting substances. Firstly, the air preparation unit is dismantled for easier access to key nods. Secondly, the capacitor is disconnected from the wires and the freon supply. Thirdly, the rest of the unit is disassembled and removed.

Before starting dismantling work, it is necessary to protect furniture and finishes from dust and chemicals. All furniture and electrical appliances are removed from the room where the air conditioner is planned, while the floor and walls are covered. By entrusting the replacement of the central air conditioner to BHC&Air experts, you will avoid inconvenience and headache as we will prop up the working space and take care of the clean room afterward.

Preparing for installation

It is unlikely that you will be able to choose a model of a central air conditioner that is absolutely identical to its predecessor in all aspects as climate technology manufacturers are constantly renewing the range and design. If the pipes, wiring, and insulation are in poor condition, you might want to retouch it. In that case, add about $3,000 to the contractor’s bill.

Therefore, the central AC replacement units implies partial or complete renovation of a wire net the cost of which would range from $500 to $2000. Depending on the type of the new air conditioner, different types of communications can be renovated:

  • freon route and air channels;
  • low-voltage and high-voltage wires;
  • protective and control equipment;
  • drainage system and condenser stand.


The installation of the air conditioning system begins with attaching air channels and control units such as throttles and air valves to the air preparation unit. The freon tubes and drains are connected next, followed by a connected power line. The diffusers, spades, and anemostats are done in the end.

There are two types of central air conditioning systems depending on the type of coolant. Those are the water- or ethylene glycol-fueled units with a chiller inside and freon systems with a compressor and a condenser. If a central air conditioner is planned for heating, the device is connected to a heating system or boiler sourcing heat.

The thermostats regulating the coolant flow to radiators depending on temperature increase the energy efficiency of the system. The cost of basic manual models is $50-100, automatic ones are more expensive – $400-500 and more, but they offer a large selection of features for better comfort. The temperature sensor significantly reduces energy consumption. A liquid thermostat saves up to 31% of energy, gas-fueled alternatives – up to 36%, and automatic units – up to 46%.

If the environment is harsh, the assembly is added by amortization units. Central air conditioners remove up to 90% of particles, but if the level of air pollution is high, specialized air cleaning equipment is a must. Works at electricity disruptions require a voltage stabilizer to prevent short circuits in the network.

Start of Work

Prior to the operation, it is necessary to set up the software controls according to the weather conditions. When the assembly is complete, a trial session occurs with a vacuum and assessment, which test the key parameters of the system:

  • air flow intensity;
  • refrigerant level in the heat exchanger;
  • drainage system work;
  • air temperature flow.

The trial reveals the issues to fix. The procedure is outlined by the act of acceptance to sign by the client and the supervisor of the team, thus starting the warranty service. BHC&Air gives the clients a full guarantee for all services, but this is usually not necessary. In case of systematic maintenance and the subscription service for the central air conditioner, your unit will be working with no disruptions for a long time.


The disassembled parts must be taken away to avoid fines. BHC&Air will tackle this task and our team will leave the working space clean. The construction litter is thrown away, while we deliver disassembled air conditioner to recycling points.

Mistakes when installing the central AC unit

Performing replace of the central AC unit must ensure no violations of the installation rules and regulations to the system and its design. Otherwise, do not expect an appropriate performance. The main mistake the clients make at the stage of deciding on the climate control type is purchasing an air conditioner similar to the previous model, omitting the changes in the layout of the premises.

The heat balance in a building is changed after redevelopment or expansion of the space, which must be considered at the stage of HVAC reinstallation before changing the unit. Only expert engineers who know climate technology and navigate the market must perform fitting and other types work.

Inexperienced designers can offer inconvenient options of air conditioning assembly, omitting the important. The air conditioner sectioning must be projected to avoid direct airflow at people, while the outdoor sections cannot be installed far from windows as that makes it difficult to maintain the unit, without expensive services of industrial climbers. The outdoor unit must be placed at some distance from the trees and other obstructions to not disrupt a smooth airflow, while the thermostat must be at some distance from the heat generating items.

It would be unwise, to start repairs in the summer, when the demand for contractors’ services is plunging which results in slow processing of the requests and the prices for repair work are increasing. Thus, it is better to plan the replacement of the air conditioner for the off-season – spring or summer. Installing and propping up the system may evolve the issues and breakdowns when performed with low expertise. The following may become the source of the inconvenience for the residents:

  1. The air conditioning units on sandwich panels placed the steel roofs. The vibrations during the work of the air conditioner are accelerated due to resonance and such a noise may play on your nerves. If you have no choice, use good quality insulating materials and stands.
  2. Improper drainage system. The drainage goes down separately along the slope not to hold the moisture in, which may result in submergence. The sewer is connected made through a dry seal or the siphon to avoid an unpleasant odor.
  3. Poor nitrogen sealing. Inappropriate nitrogen sealing of the freon tube and pipes not pressurized properly with nitrogen are the most common reasons for refrigerant leaks and compressor damage. Bending pipes without a pipe bender leads to creases disrupting the refrigerant flow, which may result into depressurization of the pipeline.
  4. The system is too loose. If the caps are poorly sealed and the size of the air channels is too small and obstruct the airflow, it may result into cool air leaks, accelerating depreciation of the unit.
  5. No sealing while commissioning. If installers replace sealing by bleeding off a small amount of refrigerant to save time, the amount of the air in the system disrupts its proper functioning.
  6. Inappropriate length of the freon tube. If it is too long, the pressure drops down in the pipes, which can damage the compressor. If it is too short, the refrigerant does not evaporate. Liquids in the compressor cause water hammer and damage the valves. The higher the capacity of the system, the longer tube must be applied.
  7. The outdoor unit is not covered with the canopy. Advanced equipment needs protection from mechanical impact, clogging and residue, which is the basis for preventing dysfunctions and extending the life of the assembly.

Do it yourself or leave it to the professionals?

Non-experts shouldn’t perform replacement of the central air conditioning as the design of the unit is too complicated for a non-specialist to be able to figure out all the specifics, even if he watched  by some relevant videos on You Tube. To fix mistakes after the installation, you will spend huge amount of money compared to the cost of the conditioner. In addition, it may lead to reassembly and suspend the warranty.

Get a service from a qualified contractor, and replacing a central AC unit will go smoothly and cost less in the long run. BHC&Air is waiting for your request. Call us and we will discuss the details of the project, prepare a contract so you will get a high-capacity air conditioner matching your taste and preferences.