If your air conditioning is no longer working properly, you have a few different options. In some cases, fixing the issue can be as simple as just making a few quick repairs or doing some routine maintenance. However, there can be some situations where it is better to just replace the entire unit. When you are trying to decide whether you should repair a broken AC or replace it altogether, you need to carefully consider these factors.
Age of the AC Unit
Your first step in figuring out what to do about a malfunctioning AC unit is finding out the age of the air conditioner. The average air conditioner has a lifespan of somewhere between 10 to 15 years. After it hits 15 years, air conditioner units will begin to break down more and more. Therefore, you might want to consider replacing it altogether once it is over 15 years. Even if you can easily fix the current issue, you will most likely end up having another problem very soon.
Cost to Repair the Air Conditioner
If you still are not sure whether you should replace the entire air conditioner or not, consider asking an air conditioning professional to give you an estimate for the repairs. If repairing the air conditioner would be far more than the cost of buying a new one, then you should obviously just replace it. However, you also need to consider the age of the air conditioner. Just a few hundred dollars in repairs might not be worth it if your air conditioner is very old. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the cost of the repairs times the age of the unit. If this figure is more than the price of a new air conditioner, you might as well replace it.
Your Current Utility Bills
In some cases, the long term savings of a new unit will outweigh the prices associated with replacing it. Newer units tend to be far more energy efficient. Even if your old AC unit is working just fine, you might need to consider replacing it if you notice your utilities are rising rapidly. Repairing an older unit might make it slightly more energy efficient, but it still cannot save as much energy as modern ACs.
The Unit’s Ability to Cool the Area
In most circumstances, a repair can make the air conditioner function properly again, but it cannot actually upgrade the unit beyond its original capabilities. Things like having more people living in your home or renovating it to change the size might mean that your air conditioner is no longer capable of cooling the entire home. In these situations, you will need to go ahead and get a new one that can actually deal with bigger spaces and higher temperatures.
Keep in mind that you should never try to repair or replace an AC unit by yourself. Units contain refrigerant and other components that can be dangerous when handled by those without proper training and a license. If you notice issues like lowered airflow, strange noises, or refrigerant loss, schedule a visit from an air conditioning specialist to find out if you need to replace or repair your air conditioning.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.