Temperatures are warming up and the days are getting longer. Soon, spring will give way to summer. Is your air conditioning system ready?
If it’s been acting funny or not performing as it should, you have an important decision to make. Do you need a full air conditioner replacement or will a repair visit be enough to do the trick?
It’s a predicament that many homeowners experience and finding the answer can be a little tricky. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the replacement vs. repair issue, sharing a few key signs that can help you know which way to go.
When Is an Air Conditioner Replacement Required?
Knowing whether to repair or replace your air conditioner can be a tough decision. While almost any issue can be remediated, there comes a point when the value of your current system simply isn’t high enough to justify investing in it any longer.
When this is the case, it’s best to go ahead and replace your system with a new one. Today’s models are designed to be higher-performing and more energy-conscious, which can help you save money down the road.
Considering going this route? Let’s take a look at a few key factors that should play into this decision.
If Your System is Outdated
If your air conditioning system is 10 years old or older and you’re experiencing issues with it, it’s likely time for a replacement.
The lifespan of a central air conditioner is around 15 years, with most older models giving out before that timeline. Before long, even the most well-performing system might begin to show signs of breakdown.
Moreover, there are myriad industry codes and ratings that have been updated since the time you installed your unit.
These include U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards, Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings, among others. Today, the standard unit has a SEER rating of 13.0, with some models reaching up to 25. On the other hand, an older unit could have a rating as low as 6.
An inefficient system can cost you substantially more in both short-term and long-term costs, rendering the replacement necessary.
If Repairs Are Frequent and Expensive
Do you have your A/C repair technician on speed dial?
If you’re calling for maintenance every other week, it’s likely that your system is nearing the end of its life. While a few minor repairs here and there are expected, you shouldn’t have to pour money into your system just to keep it operable.
One way to know when it’s time to cut ties? Consider applying the $5,000 Rule.
Take the price of the needed repairs and multiply them by the age of your air conditioner. If the price exceeds $5,000, then it’s time for a new unit. For instance, a 15-year-old system with a repair bill of $350 may need to be replaced altogether, as the result is $5,250.
If It Isn’t Operating Efficiently
Does it seem like your A/C unit is spinning its wheels trying to keep up with the demands of your household? If so, that’s a sign that it’s losing its efficiency and might need to be replaced.
If you’re noticing that your air conditioner is running at full speed all the time, making loud noises, or leaving some rooms hot no matter what the thermostat says, these are a few signs that a replacement is near. A sky-high energy bill is another symptom of this overwork.
Especially in older homes, the property’s original unit might not be appropriately sized for the modern needs of the house. For instance, a three-ton unit might have sufficed decades ago, but now it’s isn’t up to par. Instead, you might need a modern, four-ton unit designed to conserve energy at strategic times.
When Should You Repair Your Air Conditioning System?
While some situations will call for a total overhaul of your existing HVAC solution, others aren’t as dire. In many cases, your system might only need repair services to get it back up and running again.
Let’s take a look at a few of these scenarios.
If It’s Less Than 10 Years Old
Most of the time, a system that’s less than 10 years old is generally repairable. Of course, the exception to this rule would be an air conditioner that experiences a catastrophic failure without a warranty in place.
As long as you’re still within the one-decade mark, most of the efficiency standards and ratings for your system will be on par with the latest industry requirements. While there are newer models that incorporate smart home technology and other energy-saving measures, yours should still be compliant.
If Repairs Are Minor and Infrequent
Again, it’s time to apply the $5,000 rule. If your A/C repair costs are minor and breakdowns don’t occur that often, the sum should be below $5,000.
For instance, say you have a 10-year-old system and a repair bill of $250. Using the rule, the number is $2,500 and it makes sense to hire a technician to perform the necessary repairs. Had your bill been higher, it would have signified a more serious issue that would have made replacing the system a more viable option.
Find AC Installation and Repair Services You Can Trust
Whether you need a full air conditioner replacement or a quick service call, we’re here to help.
Our highly skilled team of licensed and insured technicians has the skills and knowledge required to help you make the right decision, every time. For more than 20 years, we’ve helped homeowners and business owners across the Tampa Bay Area navigate their air conditioning requirements, cementing our position as the region’s top service industry professionals.
For more information on our air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance services, feel free to contact us today.