Air Conditioner Repair or Replacement? Here’s How to Decide

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As we settle into the heat of midsummer, the idea of giving up our air conditioner for even one day probably sounds like a nightmare to most people. But what if your AC unit stops working as well as it should or at all? When that happens, you have a tough choice to make – should you repair or replace your air conditioner?

To help you decide between repairing or replacing your AC unit, here are five questions to consider: 

How Much Are Repairs Costing You?

One of the biggest signs that it might be time to replace your AC unit is that it’s been breaking down frequently and needing more costly repairs. One way to help decide between an air conditioner repair or replacement is to determine if the cost of a replacement is worth more than the cost of repairs. 

Consider the cost of all the repairs you’ve paid for in the last year. If your AC unit is ten years or older, then you can expect this repair trend to continue. If the cost of your AC unit repairs is too high, then it might be time for a replacement. 

You can also try using the $5,000 rule, which is a method to help determine if the cost of your repair is more than buying a new AC unit. $5,000 is just a benchmark number, so it’s best to use an amount that reflects the air conditioner replacement you would actually buy. 

Once you know the estimated cost of a repair, multiply that amount by the age of your AC unit. If the result is less than $5,000 or your estimated air conditioner replacement cost, then you might choose to stick with a repair, If the cost is higher or the same as a replacement, it might be time for a new AC unit. 

In the end, it’s a matter of whether you want to save money right now, or in the long run. 

How Old is Your Air Conditioner?

The average lifespan for an AC unit is 15 to 20 years, but even if your air conditioner is only ten years old, you can save 20-40 percent on cooling costs by replacing it. But remember, age isn’t the only factor; things like routine HVAC maintenance can extend the lifespan of your AC unit. 

If your AC unit is ten years or older and you’re noticing the need for more frequent repairs, higher energy bills, or less than optimal cooling, then it might be best to opt for an air conditioner replacement. 

What’s Your Airconditioner’s SEER rating?

Not all AC units are equally efficient, and if you’re running a system with a low seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating, then your AC unit is likely using too much energy to cool your home, leading to higher electricity bills. 

Some older AC systems have SEER ratings as low as 6, while today’s standard requirements are a minimum SEER rating of 13 in the north and 14 in the southeast and southwest. If your AC unit’s SEER rating is far below the current minimum, then you’ll save more money in the long run through lower electricity bills and higher energy efficiency with an AC unit replacement. 

What’s the Condition and Maintenance History?

If there’s something wrong with your AC unit, but breakdowns don’t happen frequently, or if your only considering an AC replacement because of age, then it’s important to consider maintenance history. HVAC maintenance is essential to boosting energy efficiency and increasing the lifespan of your AC unit, and how you’ve taken care of your system can be helpful in choosing between a repair or replacement. 

If you’ve regularly serviced and cleaned your system and avoided common air conditioning mistakes, then your ac unit may stay in good shape, even if its ten years old, meaning you can opt for a repair over a replacement. 

Does Your Air Conditioner Keep Your Home Comfortable?

Do you feel like your AC unit never keeps your home comfortable? Or if it does, it’s only in certain rooms? An efficient AC unit should keep your entire home comfortable with ease, but many components from regular wear and tear to poor maintenance can keep your AC system from doing its job. 

If you’re constantly feeling a lack of comfort in the temperature in your home, no matter how much your AC system is running, then chances are the money you lose on higher cooling costs make a replacement more worth it than a repair. 

It’s especially important to ask this question if you’ve recently gone through a home remodel but kept the same AC unit. If you’ve added a room or extension to your home, then your old AC system may no longer be large enough to keep your home comfortable. 

Whether you need an air conditioner repair or replacement or want help deciding between the two, the pros at AirXperts are here to help. Contact us today, for all your HVAC needs! 

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