It’s not polite to ask people their age—unless they’re children, in which case they’ll probably tell you their exact age to half a year without you having to bring it up.
You never need to worry about offending your air conditioner by asking its age. But you may not know how to go about “asking.” This can be a problem if you’re debating whether to replace the system before next summer. An AC’s age is a vital piece of info for choosing “repair vs. replace.” If you didn’t originally install the air conditioner, you may have no idea how long it’s been in your home.
We can help. Discovering the age of a cooling system is simple once you know how. (Figuring out what to do afterwards is the tricky part!)
Finding the Manufacturer’s Date of Your Air Conditioner
Go to the outside cabinet of the air conditioning system. You’ll find a metal nameplate attached to it containing the system’s technical specs. On most units, the nameplate is fixed to the backside of the cabinet.
Near the top of the nameplate you should see the manufacturer’s date as a month and year. (Sometimes the manufacturer’s date is abbreviated as MFR DATE.) If you find this, congratulations: you now know the “birth date” of your AC. Easy!
But the manufacturer’s date may not be on the nameplate. In this case, take a digital snapshot of the plate. Using it as a reference, write down the model number, serial number, and brand. The manufacturer’s date is imbedded in this data, and if you know where to look or whom to ask, you can extract it. One way is to go online and type this information into a search engine along with the words “manufacture date.” What should pop up is a site explaining how to decode the serial number to find the manufacture’s date.
For example—and this is only for one manufacturer—you may learn that the serial number 7032TPW3F for your brand and model of AC means the unit was manufactured in the 3rd fiscal week of 2007, i.e. January 2007. How did you determine this? The 7 represents the year, and 03 is the fiscal week. If you want to be extremely specific, the 2 is the work day—but you don’t need to know this number unless you plan to throw your AC a birthday party.
If you don’t want to go into this level of Sherlock Holmes detection, call a local licensed HVAC contractor—like us!—and provide them the data. They can give you a fast answer about the air conditioner’s age.
Now that you know the age of the AC, you must figure out if it’s too old. This is a whole other in-depth topic, and we suggest speaking to our HVAC professionals to find out if you should have a new AC system put in before next summer or if continuing with air conditioning repairs in Chicago is the best plan.