Why You Need to Know the Age of Your Air Conditioner and How to Figure It Out?

One thing every homeowner should know is the age of their air conditioner. Whether you are buying a home or have lived in your current one for several years, it is important to know how many more years you can expect from your air conditioner before it will need to be replaced. If you’re buying a new home, this might be something you want to take into consideration in negotiating the purchase price. Or, perhaps you want to start setting a few dollars aside each month so you’ll be prepared financially to invest in a new air conditioner when that day finally comes.

What is Your “Air Conditioner”

When most people refer to their “air conditioner,” they are usually referring to the unit that sits out home. In the heating and air conditioning industry, and here at Blue Best, we refer to this as the condensing unit. You also may hear people refer to it as the “A.C.,” “cooler,” or “compressor.” In most instances, they are all references to the same thing. For purposes of this article, we’ll just refer to it as the “air conditioner.”

How Do You Determine the Age of Your Air Conditioner?

Determining the age of your air conditioner is usually quite simple, but it will require that you take a walk outside to see your unit. Once there, you should be able to identify the make or brand of your unit. Daikin, Goodman, and Lennox, are among some of the more popular brands, but there are many in the industry.

Next, look for a sticker on the unit that contains a number of words and phrases. The stickers are usually located near the bottom of the unit close to the refrigerant lines (i.e., the copper pipes leading out of your home).

Then, inspect the sticker for the serial number of your unit. The serial number is usually 10 to 14 characters long and includes several numbers and letters. It often follows the word, “Serial,” “Serial No.,” or “S/N.”

The first four digits of most serial numbers will tell you when your air conditioner was manufactured. For example, if your serial number was 5914L30221, the “14” tells you that your air conditioner was manufactured in 2014.

If the format of your serial number is different, you can usually find information about how to “decode” the serial number on the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can call the specialists at Blue Best and we would be happy to help you determine the age of your air conditioner.

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You can usually distinguish the serial number from the other information because the word, “Serial,” “Serial No.,” or “S/N,” and consist of a series of letters and numbers.

Understanding the Type of Refrigerant Used in Your Air Conditioner

The number of years you can expect out of your air conditioner depends on a number of factors, including the make and model, usage, environment, and how well it has been maintained over the years.

Not every outside condensing unit will give you all of the information you need but I would say about 95% of all outside condensers have all the information you need if you know where to look. There is usually in big letters a brand name and that is helpful to your technician and to the homeowner that by itself will let you know a lot and by that I mean you can look up longevity or how to care for a certain brand or clean the outside coils, but this information should be easy to find.

If you look towards the bottom of the outside condensing unit you will usually notice a small sticker and it is often located at the bottom where the refrigerant lines (or copper lines from your home) meet and tie into the outside unit, if it is not there just look carefully around the unit and you will find it. The sticker is usually about 4×6 and will contain mostly information that is important to our technicians at Blue Best, but has some very valuable information for customers and consumers. The most important information for both the customers and our team at Blue Best is what type of refrigerant do you have? There are currently two types of refrigerant in the United States R22 or better known as Freon or R410A or better known as Puron. The EPA has been phasing out R22 for many years. In 2013 production was cut by 63% and 2020 was the cut off. R22 is what you will find on your sticker if you do that but it will be in very small print. So if you have an outside condensing unit that is R22 be aware that the refrigerant cost is extremely high if you need it and if you need refrigerant you may consider a new unit that has R410A. The two types of refrigerant are non interchangeable. R22 is an oil based refrigerant and R410A is a liquid based and trying to mix the two is like trying to mix oil and water (not a good combination).

On that same sticker will be a serial number. The serial number is usually fairly long and this will tell you how old the unit is if you can decipher it. The first 4 numbers usually read like a birthday for instance 5914L30221 would be a 2014, without guessing (jake you should look this up) but most of them read like this a good percentage of the time. However some read with 4 letters first and you must then Google the specific brand and the code for instance with the York brand the first 4 letters will be letter of the alphabet and will contain #1 the plant it was manufactured in #2 the month it was made #3 the year #4 the type of unit but it will all correlate with their coding system that you will have to look up WHGY2222 and those first four letters are the key. Most air conditioners have a life expectancy of between 10-16 years if you are wondering.

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