how old is my air conditioner?If you’re wondering how old your air conditioner is, it’s likely because you’re wondering if it is more cost-effective to just replace it than to repair it. A large part of that calculation is about how old the unit is, and therefore how likely it is to need major repairs again soon (or how likely it is to give up the ghost altogether). Even if you didn’t buy your air conditioner yourself, you can still find out how old it is. Here are a few ways to do that.

Check the Nameplate

Every air conditioner should have a nameplate or some kind of identifying mark. Check out the condenser’s outside cabinet, and you may find a dedicated nameplate. It is usually towards the back of the unit. This plate should include a manufacture date or an MFG date. This lets you know when the unit was made, and therefore how old it is.

If there is no nameplate, you should look for a model and serial number somewhere on the air conditioner. Punching those numbers, plus the name of the air conditioner, into a search engine may get you some results that tell you when the air conditioner was manufactured. If not, you should be able to call up the manufacturer, tell them the numbers, and get an answer about when they made your air conditioner. Don’t just settle for the general year range when they started or stopped making your type of air conditioner. You want the year your specific unit was made.

Look at Receipts and Paperwork

Those who did purchase their air conditioner and kept their receipt can find out how old the air conditioner is pretty simply. Even without a receipt, other paperwork may give you an idea. For example, if you have the air conditioner’s manual or any other paperwork from the purchase, it may say the date the unit was manufactured.

You can also reach out to your HVAC technician for some information. For example, if you have had a maintenance plan with the technicians who installed the unit, they may include the date they installed the unit on their maintenance report or quote. Or, they may be able to look into their records to tell you when they installed it—if they still keep their records from so long ago.

If you still can’t find out how old your air conditioner is, then you should reach out to your HVAC technician and ask them to take a guess. They may be able to narrow it down for you based on experience, and their knowledge of what kind of air conditioning units were made when.

So, Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

Air conditioners that are 15 years or older should definitely be replaced. For units that are between 10 and 15 years, it all depends on their performance and cost. If their performance is suffering, or they have had expensive repairs each year, it may be time to simply get the unit replaced. Additionally, if you need to replace the compressor on an air conditioner, it is such a large portion of its cost that you may as well replace the whole thing.