Determining Between AC Replacement or Repair
By Alfred Ardis
Having your A/C working during the summer months is important. If you have your system serviced throughout the year, then you can catch any major problems before they cause your unit to break down. With some AC replacement or repair issues, it might be easier to just replace the unit instead. So when is it time to replace the unit instead of just fixing it?
AC replacement or repair is common for units that are less than ten years old. In systems this new, parts are still easy to obtain. That means they will cost less than trying to find parts for an out of date unit. In addition, your technician will be more familiar with the technology that is already installed.
Fixing the problem also is cheaper than replacing it. On average, you will spend $4,000 in order to replace your unit completely. Repairing the system costs on average $300 to $600, which is a significant savings.
You can use the age of the unit, multiplied by the cost of the repair to determine if it is best to simply replace it or call an AC replacement or repair technician. If the total comes to more than $5,000 then it is time to replace your system. For example, if your system is only 10 years old and the repair cost is $300, then the total comes to $3,000 making it better to fix the problem rather than replace it.
Of course, AC replacement or repair only works if the system stays fixed for a significant period. You do not want to have to continually replace the same part because the unit is just not working right anymore.
If you use the $5,000 rule and determine that the maintenance call multiplied by the age of the unit is more than $5,000, then replacement is best. In addition, knowing what your unit uses as its refrigerant can help you determine if you need to replace the system. Older units use chlorofluorocarbon, which is damaging to the environment. Models made after 2010 use a different type of refrigerant that is not harmful to the ozone.
In addition, older units are not as energy efficient and can use 30 percent more electricity. Even if the AC replacement or repair cost multiplied by the age is less than $5,000. You may still want to consider a replacement if the system is more than eight years old because of the energy usage; you will save money on your electric bills.
It is a good idea to listen to your contractor when he or she assesses the condition of your unit. He or she knows more about how long any fix will last and if it is worth the added expense of replacing the system.
You should also look at other reasons your unit may not be working efficiently. Things like poor insulation and bad ductwork are big proponents of poor cooling. If your ducts are leaking, you can actually lose up to 30 percent of the air before it reaches the room. Fixing these problems can help your air unit work well.