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8 Old Air Conditioner Dangers and Potential Hazards

There are many risks linked to running an old air conditioning unit.

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If your air conditioner is showing signs of wear and tear, there are many risks involved with keeping an old air conditioner running in your home. In addition to an old system being prone to malfunctions and diminished efficiency, it’s also more likely to just stop working altogether.  

An entirely new air conditioning unit can be expensive and is a significant financial investment. Many people are reluctant to go through with a new unit, especially if your current one doesn’t look that bad. You may have convinced yourself to put up with the old air conditioner for a while longer, just to save yourself the money and the hassle. However, there are many risks for keeping an old air conditioner.  

Below are 8 dangers of old air conditioner that may persuade you to replace it with a new one as soon as possible: 

1. Old Air Conditioners & Bacteria

Hot temperatures make these air conditioning systems suitable breeding grounds for bacteria.

Not only will an old air conditioner work with less efficiency, there are significant health risks posed by running an old AC unit. Rain and hot temperatures make these air conditioning systems breeding grounds for bacteria. Old units tend to build up bacteria, fungi, and pollen over time. These microorganisms continue to increase over the period that the system is in use. 

Although not all types of fungi can produce infections, there are plenty of dangerous types that find their way into the airflow and intake ducts. To minimize these old air conditioner dangers, routine cleaning and maintenance should be performed on a regular basis. 

2. Respiratory Health Risks Related to Old Air Conditioners

Old air conditioners make pre-existing respiratory problems even worse.

While there are many people that have strong, healthy immune systems, not everyone can withstand poor air quality. For people suffering from medical conditions such as bronchitis or asthma, where an old AC unit can be a threat to their health. They can be highly susceptible to lung infections or asthmatic flare ups. 

Since your AC unit pushes air throughout your entire home, it is easy for bacteria to spread through the air, reducing the air quality. If they continuously breathe in these harmful toxins for a long period of time, it will only make their pre-existing respiratory problems even worse. A way to fix this and lessen the risks is to repair, clean or replace old air conditioners.  

3. Old Air Conditioners Contain Ozone-Depleting Refrigerants

Older air conditioning units may contain ozone-depleting refrigerants.

A lot of air conditioners in homes older than a decade are original systems. Your AC unit could be and most likely is older than your current kitchen appliances. While a lot of old technology contains volatile chemicals that are horrible for the environment (think Freon in retro fridges). This can go for your AC unit as well. Many old air conditioners contain ozone-depleting refrigerants, which are unsafe for home use.

In the last few years, a lot of these old units have been phased out, but many older homes still have old air conditioners that contain harmful chemicals. Modern air conditioning systems contain much more environmentally friendly and contain ozone-friendly refrigerants.

4. Old Air Conditioners Are a Fire Hazard

An old air conditioner with degraded electrical wiring may be a major fire hazard.

The mere fact your air conditioner is old means it probably has outdated parts, such as broken fans or faulty heating pipes. If these parts aren’t working properly, excessive heat may accumulate within your AC system, causing temperatures to rise to a dangerous level. This will increase your chances of the system catching on fire. 

The electrical wiring in air conditioning systems will also deteriorate over time. The wiring is often hidden somewhere within the unit, making it difficult for you to check it yourself. Because they’re hard to diagnose, these issues can go unnoticed very easily. It only makes sense that old wiring systems can be a major fire hazard.  

5. Sickness Caused by Old Air Conditioners

Sickness is caused by a buildup of airborne microorganisms in old air conditioning units.

If you ever walked into a building and felt like it was making you feel sick, you have experienced a phenomenon called the ‘sick building syndrome’. This sickness is associated with a range of unrelated symptoms that include skin irritation, headaches, breathing problems, nasal congestion, and fatigue.

The sick building syndrome is caused by a buildup of airborne microorganisms in air conditioning units. Some people are more sensitive to these effects than others, especially if they have a pre-existing condition.

6. Old Air Conditioners Equal High Electricity Bills

The electricity bill of an old air conditioner is higher than a new one.

Besides the physical danger of an old air conditioner, the fiscal risks are also worth mentioning. The older an air conditioner gets, the less energy efficient it becomes. The electricity bill of a 10-year old air conditioner is higher than that of a newly installed one.

Newer air conditioning units tend to be more efficient in energy consumption. Some of these new air conditioning units are equipped with energy saving features that had not been discovered when the current air conditioner was installed. Replacing your old AC unit means you get to enjoy the advanced features that will save you money on utility bills.

7. Temperatures Could Become Unbearable

Temperatures in your home could get unbearable due to an old air conditioner.

It makes sense that old air conditioners may not run as they once did, and its true. Due to factors such as wear and tear, an old air conditioner can’t perform the way it used to. This means temperatures in your home could get extremely unbearable, either too hot or too cold. Apart from making your home uncomfortable, an old air conditioner means you’ll spend money on operating a system not doing the job it was built to do. In this case, making the investment in a new unit would be the best option. 

8. Old Air Conditioners Break Down Easier

An old air conditioner will be prone to constant breakdowns.

Even if your AC unit has been working well the last 20 years, it’s no excuse to keep it. As old air conditioners can contain a variety of toxins, chemicals and more. Your air conditioning unit won’t last forever. After consecutive years of hard work, the parts will eventually start wearing out one way or another. Some of these repairs may be minor, while others could be a lot more serious and severe.

Either way, spending money to constantly repair an old air conditioning unit is not wise. You are better off disposing the old air conditioner and replacing the system altogether.

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