Understanding the Hazards of Using an Old Air Conditioner

image of an old air conditioner that needs an ac replacement

Air conditioners require significant investments, so homeowners try to hold onto them for as long as possible. However, keeping them beyond their prime years may lead to negative experiences. Owners should be diligent in maintaining these machines to prolong their lifespan. They should also be aware of mechanical limits. A replacement becomes necessary at some point. Are you familiar with the hazards of using an old air conditioner?

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Understanding the Dangers of Using an Old Air Conditioner

Keep reading to explore some of the dangers of using an old air conditioning unit.

Bacterial Infections

ACs are popular in hot and humid regions. They can lower indoor temperatures and relative humidity, providing long-term relief from outdoor conditions. The machines make summers bearable, but these are not immune to the environment. The heat and moisture inside them are ideal for bacterial growth. Most microorganisms multiply on the air filters, but some are deep inside the units. Bacteria can spread around the house through the ductwork and infect the family. Routine cleaning may not be enough to solve the problem in old machines. It is better to get a fresh start with a new unit.

Related Article: Why Are My Lights Flickering When My AC Turns On?

Respiratory Health Risks

image of a child having asthma attack depicting respiratory problems due to air conditioner

People have different levels of immunity. Some individuals don’t get sick despite repeated exposure to pathogens and allergens, while others immediately experience symptoms. Family members who have asthma and bronchitis are more susceptible to these hazards. Air conditioners should improve air quality by blocking dust, dirt, pollen, dander, and other airborne particles. However, old ACs are less efficient in performing this task. The ducts may also have hidden leaks allowing unwanted particles to get inside the system and spread around the house. An air conditioner replacement is the best option if repeated cleaning does not stop the symptoms.

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Sick Building Syndrome

Buildings have unique characters. It is not just about their architecture or their interior design. It is about the feeling you get when you walk inside them. Some make you happy and relaxed, while others make you sick and lethargic. They call the phenomenon “sick building syndrome.” It can be highly detrimental for businesses because their workers have low productivity and high turnover. Homeowners should also be wary about developing this condition. If the entire family keeps falling ill, you may be dealing with poor air quality due to an old air conditioner. Replace it to feel the difference.

Related Article: What is a High-Velocity Mini Duct HVAC System?

Increased Risk of Fire

image of an air conditioner on fire

An old air conditioner is likely to have worn-out parts and frayed wires. Pushing them to perform despite the degradation is asking for trouble. Heat may build up inside the system until it reaches a dangerous level. Exposed wires can cause a short circuit. You may end up dealing with a fire that can damage other sections of the house. Once they get going, they may spread too fast to put out. The best way to deal with fire is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Eliminate hazards like old ACs.

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Danger to Ozone Layer

Modern home appliance standards provide excellent protection against dangerous chemicals. It wasn’t always like this. Decades ago, low standards led to the use of volatile chemicals as refrigerants, and these turned out to be a bane for the environment. They destroyed the ozone layer and caused high levels of UV radiation to enter the atmosphere. Old refrigerators and air conditioners have these. Governments banned the chemicals, so you can no longer solve leak problems in your aging unit. It is better to switch to a modern AC with safe and eco-friendly refrigerants.

Related Article: When to Call Emergency HVAC Services

High Energy Bills

image of homeowner paying bills and air conditioning costs

Another reason to switch is the high energy consumption of your old AC. Past models had low efficiency, to begin with, and it further deteriorated with age.

You don’t have to dread seeing your energy bill every month. A modern air conditioner consumes only a fraction of the electricity your old air conditioner currently uses. A replacement AC unit will instantly lower your bills and justify the cost of installation. Do you know neighbors who recently bought a new AC? Get their feedback on costs and savings. They can provide numbers that may convince you to switch.

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Poor Air Conditioner Performance

Old air conditioners may not deliver the cooling performance you want. They no longer have the power to generate enough cool air for an entire home. They may cool some rooms but not others. It is not an ideal situation if you happen to occupy one of the hotter spaces. You might need to move to a cooler room for relief in the summer, but this is not always possible. It is also inconvenient. The problem is not going to get better. Expect the performance to worsen over time. The only solution is to replace the aging air conditioning unit.

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Frequent Cooling System Failures

image of homeowner feeling hot and sticky due to air conditioner malfunction

Old HVAC systems are unreliable. They fail to deliver during crucial moments, like the peak of summer when it is scorching hot. They may not lower the interior temperature enough to bring comfort. They may even fail and break down. These episodes become more frequent over time. It could take a few days to schedule repairs, leaving your family vulnerable to the heat. Pets, children, and seniors are susceptible to heat stroke. Get a more dependable air conditioning system for your home.

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Costly Air Conditioner Repairs

Cooling system breakdowns are not just annoying. They are also expensive. Old ACs are likely to have several defective parts, including vital components. These may cost thousands to fix. Frequent breakdowns can quickly burn a hole in your wallet. Spend your money better by acquiring a new unit. Ownership becomes stress-free since it is fresh out of the factory and supported by a warranty. Be diligent with HVAC maintenance so you won’t need repairs for many years.

Related Article: 10 Reasons Why Your AC Unit Isn’t Blowing Cool Air


Everything has its limits. Air conditioners have long lifespans, but they eventually need to retire. Tell-tale signs include persistent health issues, high energy bills, poor performance, and frequent breakdowns. Holding onto an aging AC comes with hazards you cannot ignore. It can be more costly than what you are trying to avoid. Do the right thing for your family. Get a replacement unit and enjoy a fresh start.

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McAllister Energy is the leading provider of heating and cooling services in southern New Jersey. Our team is made up of highly skilled and certified technicians specializing in HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, replacements, and more. We take pride in delivering top-quality services to all our clients. 

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