When it comes time to make a major decision about either repairing or replacing your air conditioning unit you often must rely on the advice of professionals and hope that this advice is reliable. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for less than honest contractors to suggest that an AC unit be replaced when there is really still plenty of life left to it. With the decision of either replacing or repairing your AC unit potentially having major financial consequences, it is important to make sure you are repairing when possible and replacing when the cost of repairs would not be worth it. We get called out to inspect units regularly for a second opinion, so we’ve put together a guide to help you in making the decision to either repair or replace your old air conditioning unit.
Can It Be Repaired?
We often get asked the question “can it be repaired instead of replaced?” Just to be clear, anything can be repaired. But just because it can be repaired doesn’t necessarily mean it should be repaired. Think of your old AC unit just as you would an old car, you want to continue to repair it with minor repairs to get as much life out of it is you can but when the cost of repair begins to exceed the value of just replacing then it is time to part ways.
Consider Your Air Conditioner’s Age
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your AC unit is its age. Generally speaking your AC unit should last between 10 and 15 years, but there are a couple of factors that can cause your unit to last shorter or longer. In states like ours where we rely on our AC units much more frequently than northern states it is more common for an AC unit to last between 10 and 13 years. AC units that are regularly maintained also tend to have longer lifespans than those that are not regularly maintained. If your AC unit is more than 10 years old and it breaks down, it may be a good idea to start thinking about replacing your unit before you have to start investing money into one repair after another, but of course there are factors other than age to consider as well.
Consider The Cost To Repair
The next thing you want to consider after considering the age of your unit is the cost or repairing the unit. Of course, it is easy to say not to repair the unit if the cost to repair it won’t be worth the investment, but how do you determine if the cost of repair is worth the investment or not? The reason you need to consider the age of your unit first is because it can also affect whether or not the cost to repair is worth it. A high repair cost on a newer unit is likely to be a better investment than a high repair cost on an older unit. A popular rule used to determine whether the investment is worth it is the $5,000 rule – if the age of your unit multiplied by the cost of the repair is greater than $5,000 then you may want to consider replacing your unit.
Consider The AC Unit Repairs Themselves
How often is your current AC unit needing repairs to be done? If your AC unit is needing frequent repairs, then it might be a sign that it’s time for a new unit. If the unit is breaking down within months of repairs, or even year after year, then it is needing repairs too frequently. Your AC unit should not need repairs completed on it more than once in a two-year period. If your unit does require repairs, rather than general annual maintenance each year, it is likely a sign that your unit will continue to experience more break downs in the future and the cost of those repairs can add up fast, making replacing the unit a much better investment. You should also consider replacing your unit if a major component like the compressor or condenser fails and it is no longer covered under warranty.
Efficiency Of Your AC Unit
The final factor you should consider in deciding whether to repair or replace your AC unit is the efficiency of your current unit. Is your current AC unit running all day? Are your heating and cooling costs increasing? Is your unit just not able to keep every room in your home reasonably comfortable? Newer air conditioning units are designed more efficiently and are better able to handle the demands increasing temperatures and environmental factors place on them. We suggest investing in a newer Energy Star certified efficiency model which can help lower energy costs as well.
If you are unsure whether it is time to repair or replace your current AC unit, or if you just need to have your current unit maintained, contact the professional technicians at C & S A/C Services today!