Air Conditioning Repair: Is it Time to Repair or Replace?

When your air conditioning unit breaks down, one of the first thoughts that probably runs through your mind is: Will this be a simple fix or am I going to have to replace this? While the upfront cost of air conditioning repair is often lower, there are many instances where replacement is the better option. Here are some things to think about as you make the determination between repair and replacement.

Age of the Unit

While not always the case, it is often true that older units are more expensive to repair. They are not going to be covered by warranty any longer, and parts may be more difficult to obtain for air conditioners that are dated. Some repair companies recommend using what is called “The 5,000 rule”. Multiply the age of your equipment by the repair cost. If the total is greater than $5,000, replace the unit.

R-22 Use

Units that are still using R-22 coolant should be heavily scrutinized for replacement, particularly if the issue is a leak. Manufacturers stopped making these types of units in 2010 and the refrigerant itself will no longer be available after 2020. Because of this, R-22 repairs have become very costly, and more environmentally friendly and efficient compressors are recommended when these fail.

Energy Efficiency

The final factor to consider in your air conditioning repair vs. replacement decision is energy efficiency. If your energy bills have been steadily rising, it is likely that your system is not as efficient, and a new one could produce significant savings. Energy standards have changed in recent years, and the new Federal Standard is 13 SEER. If your unit is still a 10 SEER unit, it could be 30% less efficient than a new one if it is working properly. Also, by upgrading and replacing a unit, many people are able to take advantage of local incentives and federal tax credits.

Making the decision to repair or replace an A/C unit isn’t always an easy one. If your air conditioning repair estimate is very low, you may be better off simply repairing the issue. However, better efficiencies and a new unit with a warranty are important considerations when it comes to making the choice to replace. Your qualified technician can help you make the right choice for your particular situation.