Air Conditioner: Repair vs. Replace

Are you wondering if it is time to replace your air conditioner, or if it is worth your investment to repair? Then this month’s installment of ‘The Advantage’ is a must-read for you! We are here to help weigh the options so you can make the best choice for you, your home, and your wallet.

There can be a lot to mull over with this decision. To help simplify the process, we have a great list of some of the first things you should take into consideration when deciding between repairing or replacing.

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  • Age of your unit – Energy Star recommends air conditioning units older than 10 years be replaced. So if yours is under 10, lean toward repairing. They may very well last longer than 10 years, but will lose efficiency over time, costing you more in the long run with repair costs and increased utility bills due to decreased efficiency.
  • Maintenance history – If you know the maintenance history of your unit and it has been inspected regularly over its life, it will likely last longer than one that has not, so repair is definitely a viable option.
  • Moving – Determine how long you plan to live in your current home. If you intend on moving soon, a repair will likely be a more cost-effective choice.
  • Noise – Is your unit excessively noisy or does it turn off randomly? It may be over-exerting itself and in need of a check-up. Annual or semiannual routine maintenance plans can help prevent these problems before they occur and keep your entire HVAC system running more efficiently.
  • 5000 Rule – Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then you want to replace. If less, repair.

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  • Breakdown occurrence/energy bill – Has your air conditioner broken down multiple times while running over the last few years? Have you seen an increase in your monthly bill? Then it probably can’t handle your needs, and replacing may be in your best interests. Repairs can often add up and cost more than a new system altogether.
  • Changing temps – If your system is not keeping your home at a constant temp or within a few degrees of your setting, it can be caused by a number of issues. Having one of our HVAC specialists come out and inspect your system and possibly hire a qualified technician to run an energy assessment of your home is a great starting point. Ultimately, your unit may be going out and it might be time for an upgrade.
  • R-22 (refrigerant) – If your system requires additional refrigerant, you likely have a coolant leak. Topping off a system with R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, can cost over $100 per pound, and fixing the leak along with putting in several pounds of refrigerant can wind up costing anywhere from $550 to $1,000. If your unit takes R-22 and it develops a leak, replacement is likely your best option as repairing a leak, adding refrigerant, and replacing your compressor can cost you about the same as buying a new unit. Not to mention R-22 prices have soared in recent years due to the EPA’s eventual phase-out of the chemical. HVAC manufacturers quit producing units “charged” with R-22 in 2010, and production of R-22 will end in 2020. It will be replaced with a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, R-410A.

If you are still pondering, try visiting this website to check the efficiency and potential cost savings of your equipment. Still can’t decide whether to repair or replace? Give us a call or visit our website, and we would be happy to assess your system and give our professional opinion.