Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner?
Consider the Age of Your A/C
An older, well-maintained air conditioner can still work, but it can’t compete with the newer, more efficient air conditioners when it comes to energy savings. Eventually, it will make more sense to upgrade than to keep using your old A/C.
Experts agree that the average A/C unit can last between 10 to 15 years. Whether you have a central or ductless air conditioner, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement once your cooling system hits the 10-year mark. Granted, with the right amount of proper care, some air conditioner units can last as long as 15-20 years and still work well. So don’t immediately replace your A/C without talking to a technician first.
A good technician will advise you on whether your current A/C unit is worth keeping, or if you’d be better off buying a new unit. You may also want to consider 12 common A/C issues and how to troubleshoot them.
Watch Your Energy Bills
New air conditioners are now more efficient than ever before. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the A/C unit will be. Speak with a technician about the SEER of your existing air conditioner, and compare that with what’s available now.
Aside from overall efficiency potential, there’s the actual efficiency that your air conditioner can achieve. That’s because as your air conditioner ages, it will become less efficient, especially if it isn’t being maintained properly.
When efficiency goes down, your bills will slowly go up. But if you notice big spikes in your air conditioning costs month after month, then you should think about getting an upgrade.
Frequency of Repairs Being Done Now
Older units aren’t just responsible for higher energy costs. Their upkeep can become expensive, not to mention tiresome. The occasional repair is completely normal; your air conditioner is moving and working, so it’s only natural that it will need a repair every now and again.
But multiple repairs during the summer months is definitely not good for you or your bank account. Not only do these repairs add up over a short period of time, but it tells you that there’s a bigger problem with your air conditioner that repairs simply can’t fix.
If you find yourself spending more time fixing your A/C than actually using it for its intended purpose, it’s time to put your money into buying a new one instead of keeping your old one alive.
R-22 Needs of Your Current Unit
If your A/C unit requires additional refrigerant, it’s a sign of a coolant leak. Topping off your unit with R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, can cost anywhere from $40 to more than $175 per pound — and that doesn’t even factor the cost of a service call. This means that fixing the leak and putting in several pounds of refrigerant can cost between $550 to $1000.
A unit that takes R-22 and develops a leak should probably be replaced because the unit’s compressor (which can cost up to $2000 to fix by itself) will die soon afterward. Repairing a leak, adding refrigerant and replacing the compressor can cost about the same as buying a new, low-end A/C unit.
Therefore, it’d be best to replace your A/C unit altogether in this scenario.
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