Trying to figure out whether it’s time to repair or replace your air conditioner can be a tough decision to make. You may also consider moving out if you realize you’ll be paying too much for a repair cost. So, how do you decide if you need to repair or replace your old air conditioner?
With this kind of investment, the last thing you would want is to regret any decision you make. Fortunately, you can choose from a lot of variables with different opinions.
Some agencies say that you must replace your air conditioner if your system needs to have the older R22 refrigerant since it is too hard to get a hold of.
There might be times as well that you’re confident in your decision to replace your AC, but maybe you may still think about when is the best time to do it.
After all, you can have a better rate during the contractor’s slow months, right? These contractors are possibly cutting down prices to keep their installers up and running.
Here are the important factors that you should consider when deciding if it’s better to repair or replace your AC.
Air Conditioner Age
If your AC has existed for more than 10 years old, it may be the right time to check your savings. Some people easily replace something when it gets old. Can you imagine yourself being thrown out and replaced just because you got old and aging? That would be horrible!
Mostly, there’s an inspection sticker where you can find the age of your AC, and located on the side or front of the unit. If you can’t find any, you only need to call your local building department and ask when was the last time a mechanical inspection was conducted for your properties.
Most of the time, mechanical technicians can find the age on your air conditioner through its serial number. The first four digits of the equipment’s serial number typically indicate the week and year or the year and week, depending on its manufacturer.
Modern air conditioners are made with efficiency standards that are federally mandated. It means new air conditioner units are not only built to be more efficient, but they are also environment-friendly.
As of 2016, all AC should have 14 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating or higher. Even buying an air conditioner which has the minimum rating could save you a lot of money on your monthly energy bill.
The Repair Cost
The repair cost is the essential factor that you need to consider when looking for something new. If the repair cost will exceed more than $800, then it’s better to purchase a new AC.
However, if your unit is only six years old, $800 repair cost isn’t that bad of investment to extend the life of your AC unit for a few more years.
It’s better to consider both the age of your unit and the repair cost. If your air conditioner lived for more than ten years already and if you’re going to spend more than $800 to repair it, then you must think about replacing your unit. Besides, if the repairs will continue, the cost will add up over the years.
Also, take note of the 50% rule. If the repair cost reaches 50% of the value of your AC unit, then it’s time to replace it. However, you’ll have a hard time trying to figure out the value of your system.
You can also consider the $5000 rules. Take the needed repair cost and multiply by the age of your AC unit. If it exceeds $5000, then it’s better to replace it with a new system. Some of the most inexpensive air conditioner units start around $5000.
Use of R-22 Refrigerant
For how many decades, R-22 or Freon has been used in most air conditioners. However, the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA decided to phase-out R-22 nationwide because of the adverse effects it can bring to the ozone layer.
The production of R-22 will stop entirely by 2020. If you’re using an AC which has R-22 refrigerant, better replace it if you want a cost-effective unit.
How often does your AC breakdown or need maintenance? If your air conditioner has broken down and need to replace parts a lot of times during the last few years or if you happen to experience the same issue over and over again, a replacement might be your best option.
If your electricity bills keep increasing regardless of repairing the air conditioner, you might consider getting a new unit. Purchasing a new unit and upgrading to a more efficient unit can make you save up to 40% in cooling expenses, particularly if your house has a compressed building envelope.
Unbalanced distribution of temperature in your home with a new air conditioner system might indicate that there’s leaky ductwork. When an AC unit that’s more than ten years old and has ductwork that’s still in good shape causes uneven temperatures, then you might think about upgrading it.
Air conditioner warranties expire over a particular period. Newly purchased systems have warranties so it may help you save more cash on repair costs.
Does your air conditioner system turn off randomly, or is there any excessive noise coming from it? It only means that your AC needs to overexert itself to meet the cooling demands of your house. Consider replacing your unit in this case.
One of the hardest questions for homeowners to answer is, “Is it time to repair or replace my air conditioner?”. It can be difficult to answer because you are not yet sure if the timing is right already. If you replace it too soon, you might just be wasting your money when you only need to repair it.
But, when you decide to go to air conditioner repair service to fix it, and it got broken and dies after a year, then that’s another waste of money. The factors mentioned above are the things you need to keep in mind when you’re confused about whether to repair your air conditioner system or replace it.
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