When temperatures rise, your home air conditioner needs to be dependable. 

Staying comfortable is essential during the hottest months, so we teamed up with American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning to share these tips on whether to maintain or replace your AC.

DIY Maintenance

AC’s condenser unit
Plants growing on your AC’s condenser unit block airflow, which can lead to cooling problems. (TomSmith585, Getty Images Signature)

If your air conditioner is less than 10 years old, then some do-it-yourself maintenance can help improve its efficiency.

Grab some air conditioning tools and do some of these things to keep your home air conditioner running smoothly.

  • Replace the air filter every month to avoid unnecessary calls to a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician. After you remove the old filter, vacuum or wipe off the grill that holds the filter in place and insert the new filter. Then close the cover. 
  • Make sure the heating and cooling system’s ductwork is insulated. If your home and its ductwork are air-sealed properly, your home can cool much faster, and maintain that temperature much longer. 
  • Remove any debris and vegetation from around the outside condenser unit to maximize airflow. 

When to Call a Professional

woman talking to customers
If your best efforts to maintain your AC aren’t enough to keep your home cool, call a professional. (American Standard)

If you’ve performed seasonal maintenance on your home’s air conditioner and it’s still not functioning properly, it’s time to call a professional.

Also, if your home air conditioner malfunctions, or has damaged ductwork or exposed electrical connections, don’t try to fix this yourself. 

These issues must be addressed by a trained technician who can evaluate your system and make the best recommendation based on your needs. 

Time to Replace Your Home Air Conditioner

repairing new AC
When the cost to repair exceeds the cost of a new home air conditioner, it’s time to replace it. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Choosing to repair or replace your home air conditioner both cost. By weighing the options, you can determine what gives you the biggest return on your investment. 

If you have an older system, it may cost more to operate and/or repair, because it is not as energy efficient, and manufacturing for some of its parts may have been discontinued.

Most older units use the outdated refrigerant Freon, so eventually, you’ll have to upgrade to equipment that uses the latest refrigerant.

Does your unit frequently break down? Does it make odd noises or take a long time to reach the cooling set point? If so, you may need to seriously consider a replacement.

A good rule of thumb for determining whether to repair or replace a home air conditioner is to use the $5,000 rule. Just multiply the age of your equipment by the estimated repair cost. If the number you get is more than $5,000, consider a replacement. If less, repair it. 

In the market for a new air conditioner? Local rebates or tax credits may be available for purchasing an energy-efficient system.

First, call a professional to do a free in-home visit and learn about your options. To find your local American Standard Customer Care Dealer, visit their website at americanstandardair.com

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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