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Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

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40 years of service

Sometimes it’s tricky deciding whether to repair or replace your old air conditioner. Like most machines, there’s an expected lifetime for every A/C unit.

The decision to repair your unit depends on many factors. It’s important to consider the age of your air conditioner and what sort of performance you get out of your current machine. Nobody wants A/C repair déjà vu. As much as our techs love putting a smile on your face, weekly visits might be a bit much!

There comes a time for every homeowner when a new A/C installation is the right choice. Knowing exactly when that is, requires a little guidance from your HVAC partner. Let’s discuss what factors should affect your decision to replace or repair your air conditioner.

If you’ve got an air conditioner that needs fixing or you’re considering upgrading your home cooling system, get in touch with our experts today to book your consultation.

How Old is Your Air Conditioner?

Just like a vehicle, your air conditioner’s health has a lot to do with its age. Chances are your air conditioner is running pretty consistently year over year through the warmer months. This makes it easy to gauge your system’s use over time.

And what if you don’t know the age of your air conditioner? Perhaps it was installed before you moved into the home. Or maybe you simply don’t remember. That’s OK, our HVAC experts can assess your air conditioner, run the serial number, and let you know the year, make, and model of your home’s A/C unit.

There are 2 questions that most homeowners need answered when they decide between repairing or replacing their A/C:

  • How much will my A/C repairs cost?
  • How often will my air conditioner need repairs?

How Often Will My A/C Need Repairs?

Generally speaking, air conditioners that are 10 years or older are due for a replacement. It’s normal for air conditions this age to require more frequent repairs.

Cooling systems start to break down, electrical circuits begin to show wear, motors become worn, and air delivery systems get dusty and eroded. If you have an older air conditioner, these things might all happen in succession. The repairs can be costly but are also inconvenient.

Just like an older car, repairs usually increase as your air conditioner ages. The exact frequency of repairs depends on the status of your A/C and how often you maintain your system. We do know that annual air-conditioning tune-ups are one of the best ways to extend the life of your air conditioner.

During maintenance service or repair, our technicians will always discuss the health of your air conditioner with you. They can forecast potential repairs in the future and give you realistic ideas about how often you can expect trouble.

How Much Do A/C Repairs Cost?

Again, the exact price for any given A/C repair is dependent on the model, the problem, and the age of your machine. The total cost can vary and also depends on the availability of parts.

If you own an aging air conditioner (10 years or older) and your repair cost is 1/3 or greater of the price of a new unit, we recommend an A/C replacement.

Certain changes in air conditioning technology and air conditioning regulations have made it more difficult and more expensive to replace certain parts of an A/C unit. This is another factor That can influence the total cost of your repairs.

Catching A/C trouble before it leads to more expensive repairs is one way you can lower your overall repair costs. Annual A/C maintenance is the most effective way to catch problems early. Check out our Maintenance Membership to join a program that stays on top of your air conditioner’s health.

When to Repair Your Air Conditioner

So, when is the time to start thinking about A/C repair or replacement? When your A/C isn’t working right of course!

Some A/C problems are obvious like strange loud noises or simply not having any cold air. But sometimes what’s wrong with your air conditioner can be subtle and go on for a while before you notice. That’s another reason that annual A/C maintenance is so important. Our A/C techs stay ahead of the problems you didn’t even know existed.

Signs You Need A/C Repairs

When your A/C is not running properly, there are often signals to let you know. Schedule an air conditioning repair if you notice any of the following associated with your homeschooling system.

  • A/C blowing warm air
  • Thermostat not working
  • Weak airflow
  • Strange/loud noises coming from A/C
  • Strange smells when your A/C is running
  • Your cool air is very humid
  • Freon or water leaks around your A/C unit
  • Increased energy bill

Signs To Replace Your A/C

There comes a time in every air conditioner’s life when repair after repair just doesn’t make sense. Eventually, you need to retire your air conditioner.

But with an A/C replacement comes a more energy-efficient machine, less necessary service, and the peace of mind that you’ll have cool air all summer long.

Here are some reasons you should go for a new A/C installation the next time your home’s cooling system needs another repair.

Constant Repairs

Does it feel like you’re calling your HVAC service tech every other day? Then your air conditioner might be on its last legs. Even small repairs start to add up.

The cost of A/C repairs is more than just money. It also eats up your time, adds extra stress to your week, and even a speedy service call can leave you without a comfortable living space for a little bit.

But focusing on the monetary price of an A/C repair, the cost should never exceed 1/3 the price of a new air conditioner, especially if you have a machine that’s 10 years or older.

Constant repairs equal constant headaches. The medicine for this migraine is choosing an A/C replacement when your air conditioning repairs are happening too often.

High Energy Bills

A new A/C installation is going to set you up with a system that’s more energy-efficient than the one you have in your home right now. New cooling technology makes machines more efficient and government regulations force manufacturers to improve the way they cool your home’s air. This means your home’s energy bills will be lower.

As your air conditioner ages, its cooling efficiency may slowly decrease. This can be evidenced by a rising utility bill. So pay attention to your energy bill if it continues to slowly rise. Even if you’ve had A/C repairs completed, a new machine can save you money in the long run.

So let the long-term cost of ever-increasing energy bills factor in your decision of repairing or replacing your air conditioner.

Past Its Prime

An athlete has their prime performance years before they fade into the twilight of a career. Your air conditioner starts to fade after its prime as well. Air conditioners typically stop operating effectively after about 10 years. In some special cases, an air conditioner may last up to 15 years or longer.

But once an air conditioner starts to break down, it’s past the point of no return. There’s no second wind when it comes to an HVAC cooling system. Once an air conditioner is past its prime you can expect repair frequency and cost to gradually increase.

An older machine that isn’t working properly is often best replaced. Our service specialists perform diagnostics on your air conditioner and let you know how much gas is left in the tank. And they’ll explain what type of performance is realistic based on your A/C system’s age and health.

Outdated, Expensive Technology

Cooling technology has come a long way over the last 20 years. Efficiency is increasing, and some cooling chemicals are altogether becoming extinct.

R-22 Freon is a refrigerant chemical previously used in residential air conditioners. Due to scientific studies that have exposed its negative effects on the environment, R-22 Freon is no longer being produced in the United States.

The scarcity of this product is making it more difficult and more expensive to acquire. So what does this mean about your home’s air conditioner? It means that if your older A/C unit is having cooling issues, the price of fixing it is going up.

Air conditioners 10 years or older are likely to be using R-22 Freon. Replacing your machine is inevitable. Deciding on a new A/C installation today gives you the peace of mind that the technology in your home can be easily serviced and is not harming the environment.

Our HVAC experts can tell you whether or not your air conditioner is using R-22 Freon the next time they visit your home.

The Short Answer

Should you repair or replace your air conditioner? Well, every home’s cooling circumstance is unique, and our service techs require thorough diagnostics to give you the best recommendation. But there’s a general formula to guide your decision making:

If your air conditioner is 10 years or older and the repair cost is 1/3 the price of a new air conditioner, you should go for a new A/C installation.

Installations you can trust or something

We know that deciding what to do with your broken air conditioner is a stressful decision. It’s often an unexpected choice and involves spending money. And the decision needs to be timely because the hot air never stops in California.

But our air conditioner technicians are here as a resource throughout the entire process. After scheduling an appointment, our HVAC experts diagnose your cooling troubles and give you all the information to help you make a wise decision. We provide flat rate pricing to guarantee the work and will always let you make the final call.

So before opting for a quick A/C repair because it’s hot out, consider all the factors that might mean an A/C replacement is the better choice for you. And if your home is not being cooled effectively and efficiently, it’s time to call our team to get back to total cooling comfort.

Thomas Howard

Written by Thomas Howard

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