If you live in a warm climate such as Oklahoma or Northwest Florida, one of your first concerns should be to keep your family cool during the warm-weather seasons. Here is some important information regarding air conditioner life expectancy, how to extend life expectancy, and why to get a home inspection.
We discuss air conditioner life expectancy in every inspection report. We provide the age of each system we inspect (when there is a legible label on the equipment). Inspectors perform a visual inspection of the system and test the system to determine if the system is functioning properly. We do this by comparing the temperatures between the return air side of the system to the supply side. Generally, the difference should be between 13 and 25 degrees.
When outdoor temperatures are too cool, inspectors do not run the air conditioning system. Per manufacturers, cooling equipment should not be operated when outdoor temperatures are below 65 degrees within the past or future 24 hours. However, a licensed HVAC professional can use special equipment for testing A/C systems during cold weather.
How Long Will the Air Conditioner Last?
Just because its an old air conditioner, does not mean it can’t cool a home. All of our inspectors have stories of testing HVAC equipment from the 1980’s that is still working exactly like it should.
What home buyers need to understand is that inspections are a “snapshot in time”. Meaning, it may not be cooling the home tomorrow. A good inspector will always educate his customers that inspectors cannot predict the future. Contrary to popular opinion, at the conclusion of a home inspection, we do not give it a pass or fail. We simply provide a much more in depth look at a home for the purchaser of our inspection.
Built In Obsolescence
An added variable is the reality that “they don’t make them like they used to”. Just ask anyone over 4o years of age or anyone with experience working on or replacing equipment. “Built in obsolescence” is part of most expensive purchases in American culture today. The idea stems from the manufacturer’s perspective. That is, if they build something to last too long, they won’t be able to sell enough products to stay in business. For example, cable manufacturers discovered years ago that if they put cayenne pepper into the exterior coating on cable that squirrels wouldn’t chew it and damage it. Guess what happened. It worked great! So well in fact that their sales of cable plummeted. Long story short, cayenne pepper is no longer part of the cable manufacturing process.
Another consideration regarding air conditioner life expectancy is the placement/location of the unit and what region the unit is located in. Air conditioner condensing units take much more of a beating from the environment than their counterparts located in the interior of a home. Units that are protected by shade have a better life expectancy than those exposed to the evening sun or located on rooftops. Units located on inland homes have a better life expectancy than units located on coastal homes that are exposed to humid, salty air for their entire lives.
It’s important to locate the unit on a level surface above the soil grade and have a guttering rain diverter over the unit (if applicable). Also, keep vegetation from growing near or on the unit. The inspection report will call out any of these issues that need to be addressed in order to extend the life of the air conditioner.
It’s important to spend a little extra money on the seasonal maintenance of your air conditioner at the beginning of every Spring/Summer cooling season. Hire a licensed HVAC professional to service and inspect your air conditioning equipment. They will inspect for potential and existing issues, clean the equipment, check the refrigerant levels, and change the filters.
Get an Inspection
After you have been inspecting homes for years, you start to see patterns. I’m sure that’s common in any industry. We’ve been in business since 2015. One of the first patterns we noticed from the start, and it continues to this day, is a common practice to put a home up for sale when the major equipment is at or past its life expectancy and due for an update. This includes heating/cooling systems, roof coverings, well and septic systems, water heaters, and kitchen appliances. Knowing this is a common practice should encourage all home buyers to prioritize getting a home inspection, no matter what the real estate market is like at the moment.
We Cover All the Bases!
Contact us for all your inspection needs:
Home Run Inspections, LLC
www.HomeRunInspections.com – – Schedule Online 24/7!
Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Piedmont, Bethany, El Reno, Tuttle, Mustang, Moore, Norman, Midwest City, Del City, Choctaw, McCloud, Shawnee, Harrah, Newalla, Jones, and more.
Serving the Northwest Florida Panhandle metro and surrounding areas including Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, Shalimar, Freeport, Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Panama City Beach, and more.
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