A/C repair costs are on the rise, and new models are becoming more efficient. This leads many homeowners to wonder whether it is time to replace their aging units or have them repaired instead. The answer to these questions depends on various factors.
1. Is Your AC a Newer or an Older Model
The average lifespan of an AC in America is around 10 years, but in warmer climates that can be reduced to just eight or nine years. An AC that has been installed for more than 15 years is likely to be running at least inefficiently.
As one can imagine, older air conditioning systems are not only more likely to break down, but sometimes they need to have repairs done more than once every year. Replacing an old AC with a new HVAC system will more likely be cost-effective in the long run, but only if it is done prior to any repairs. The situation is a bit more complicated if we’re discussing a new model. In this case, it is probably best to double-check what your warranty covers and what it doesn’t. Keep in mind that a new model shouldn’t have too many problems for the first couple of years. If it’s already acting up after only a few years, you might want to talk with an expert about replacing it.
2. Is Your AC Under Warranty
If you currently have an extended warranty that is paying for repairs on your current unit, it might be a good idea to continue using the warranty and wait until it expires before replacing it. This will help you keep monthly payments lower than what they would be with a new unit and allow you to spend less on energy costs during the warranty’s term.
If the warranty on your AC expires, it might be a better idea to replace it with a new unit altogether. Warranties tend to cover parts and labor costs, but not other expenses such as taxes or installation fees. Also, if one part has been repaired more than once, the warranty is likely to be void.
3. Is the Repair Expensive?
Repairing a new unit before buying a new one is likely to be cost-effective, as long as the cost of having it fixed doesn’t exceed 40% of the total price tag. On this note, keep in mind that “repairs” might not mean replacing an entire unit. ACs are often modularized systems, where one part can be replaced without buying a whole new AC.
Although it can seem like the smart thing to do, replacing individual parts of your AC is not always worth the money. When deciding on this, keep in mind that you’re not only facing the cost of the part(s) in need of replacement, but also the labor costs.
4. How to Save Money on AC Repair
The best way to save money on an air conditioning repair is by hiring a professional. If you are not an expert, you might do more damage than good when trying to repair the AC yourself. Another way to save on repairs is to maintain your unit regularly. This will help you avoid having to make multiple expensive repairs throughout the life of your AC unit.
If you keep your air conditioner maintained regularly, then you can expect to have it repaired only a few times before needing to replace it. With that said, if your unit is old and has never been maintained, then it might be a smart idea to consider replacing your A/C rather than having it repaired if you’re on a tight budget.
5. Is the AC Being Properly Maintained
In order to determine whether your AC needs replacement or repairs, you will first need to know what has been done up until now and how often it has been serviced. If the filters and the unit were cleaned regularly, then you can try having it serviced before investing in a new one.
In the case of a unit that has been serviced regularly and is still having problems, you will need to do some investigations on your own. Check for any visual damage to the unit and see if there is a mold or mildew issue going on. If it looks like repairs will be expensive, you might just want to replace the AC instead.
6. When To Replace Your Old AC
Generally speaking, an air conditioner should be replaced if it’s old (about 15 years or older), has had multiple repairs, or you can’t afford to keep it maintained for an extended period of time. If the unit is not working correctly due to old age, then there’s no point in repairing it because this will only delay having to replace your air conditioner at a higher cost. Also, if major components are broken, then you should consider replacing the unit, as it will cost more to repair than if you were to simply buy a new AC.
7. Is Your AC Suitable for Your Home
Another way to see if keeping or replacing your AC is more cost-effective is to consider the square footage of your home and the insulation available. A larger house with poor insulation will require a more powerful unit that is likely to have higher expenses for energy use.
If the AC system you already have is not strong enough, it might be wise to replace it with a unit that is more suitable. On the other hand, if your AC is too powerful for your house, it will cost a lot to keep on. However, this might not be as much of a concern with newer units that use less energy.
8. How to Get the Best Return on Your AC
There are some things that you can do to ensure that your AC replacement will be cost-effective in the long run. One of these is considering a warranty with lower monthly payments, which might allow you to save more money. The best way to get the most for your AC investment is to buy energy-efficient models that are ENERVAT Star® certified. Also, be sure to compare prices online for your new unit before making a purchase, so you get the most for your money.
While you should consider all of the things mentioned here on your own, this is not an easy question to answer. The best way to determine if you should repair or replace your air conditioning system is to contact a professional for assistance. They will often give you a fair estimate on the work to be done free of charge, and this should help you make your decision.