If you are experiencing problems with your air conditioning then one of the first things you will think of it whether it can be repaired or if a replacement will be necessary.
In almost all cases a repair will be cheaper but this may not be the most cost-effective solution. The reason that most homeowners face the repair or replace dilemma is all due to uncertainty over timing.
You could get a replacement and then spend the next few years wondering if your old unit would still have worked. On the other hand, you could opt for a repair but then find out a few months down the line that this money was wasted because a replacement is actually necessary.
A replacement system will be expensive and if you do not want to pay this kind of money out then getting the system repaired can seem the best option but you should be aware that this is not always the case. If you are wondering whether a repair or replacement is the best option for you, then the following considerations can help you reach this decision.
Although there is no way to tell for certain how much longer an air conditioning unit will last, there are certain factors that may help you determine whether a replacement is necessary.
How Old Is The Unit?
The older the unit is, the more likely things are to go wrong and this will also happen more frequently. The National Association of Homebuilders advises that an air conditioning unit has a life expectancy of between ten and fifteen years.
If you have had your unit longer than fifteen years then it is probably definitely time to be thinking about a replacement. Many professional companies will use what is known as the 5000 rule to help them decide whether a repair or replacement is the best option based on the age of the unit.
This calculation involves multiplying the cost of the repair by the age of the unit. If the total of this calculation is less than 5000, then a repair will probably be the best solution.
However, if the total is more than 5000 then this is an indication that a replacement will probably be the best option. The basis for this calculation is that a new unit will usually cost in the region of $5000.
How Frequent Are The Repairs?
If you find that you are repairing your unit more often, then this could be a sign that a replacement may be a better option. The cost of the repairs will soon start to mount up and there is going to be a point when you just start throwing good money after bad.
The chances are that the repairs you are making may solve the problems for a short time but they are not a long-term solution. The 5000 rule can also be used here to weigh up the difference between repair and replacement but the frequency of the repairs will have to be taken into account.
Even if the initial calculation comes to less than 5000, if you are having to make this repair several times in a short period then it may not take too long to exceed this limit.
Have You Considered Energy Efficiency?
The energy efficiency of the unit is also something that you should think about when making the decision to repair or replace. If you have found that your energy bills have been rising lately then this could be a sign that your appliances are not as efficient as they could be.
Newer models of AC units are far more efficient than they were even just a few years ago. The amount of money that you could save depends on how efficient a new model would be compared to the one that you currently have.
The manufacturer of the new unit that you are looking at may have produced a guide that will give you an indication of how much energy the unit will use. This information can be used to work out how much money you can potentially save on your energy bills and you will then be able to work out how long it will take before the new unit has paid for itself in terms of the energy costs that you will be saving.
Does It Require Additional Refrigerant?
If you find that the refrigerant in your unit needs to be replaced frequently then this is a sign that there could be a leak in the unit. Finding where the leak is in the system and repairing it should be a fairly straightforward job for a professional AC repair company.
However, if they discover that the leak is in the compressor then this will be a very expensive repair to make. If you do find that you have to keep topping up the refrigerant on a regular basis then it is worth finding out what type of refrigerant you can use with your unit.
The most common refrigerant that is used in older units is R-22 but this is being discontinued by the EPA in favor of a more environmentally friendly product. This means that the price of R-22 has risen quite considerably in recent years and it is going to be quite expensive to keep getting this topped up.
In this situation, it may be a better option to get a replacement unit that uses the new type of refrigerant R-410A. Production of R-22 will stop altogether in 2020 and so if your unit uses this type of refrigerant then it will have to be replaced by then anyway. All new units that have been produced from 2010 onwards have will use the R-410A refrigerant.
How Long Are You Planning On Staying?
Another thing to consider is how much longer you think you will be living at your current property. If you are moving in the next few years then repairing the AC unit may be sufficient to get you to the point where it is no longer your concern.
If you plan to live in the property for the long term then replacing the AC unit does become a more viable option and it will be you that reaps the rewards from this. Even if you are moving within the next few years then there may still be some reasons why a replacement is a good option.
When you put your house up for sale then any potential buyers will probably order their own report on the condition of the home and the things within it. If there is a problem with the air conditioning unit then this may be uncovered by the report and this could lead to the buyers trying to negotiate a lower selling price.
The fact that a new AC unit has just been installed can be a very good selling point and you may be able to recoup some of the cost by getting a better price for your property. Your real estate broker will be able to advise you how much more you could expect to get for your home with a new system and this will allow you to decide whether it is worth doing.
What Does The Warranty Cover?
Unless your air conditioning unit is fairly new, then the chances are that the warranty would have expired some time ago. Therefore if any major parts start to fail on the system, then you are likely to have to cover the cost of this yourself.
Once the major parts of the system start to go wrong then you may start to wonder how long before other parts of the system also start to fail. You will know how much you are prepared to pay for repairs to your system before you decide that it is too expensive. You may choose to use the 5000 rule or you may have a different figure in mind.
How Comfortable Does Your Home Feel?
If you feel as if your air conditioning never gets your home to the perfect temperature then a repair may not offer that much of a solution. It may be that there is a different model AC unit that would be more suited to your property, or even a unit of a different size.
There is not a lot of point in sticking with air conditioning that is not really working the way that you would like it to. If you are considering buying a new unit then you should always do plenty of research to find out what kind of unit is best suited to the type of property that you live in.
This is one of the best ways to make sure that your new unit is going to be an improvement on the one that you currently have.
Are You Close To Retirement Age?
If you are thinking of retiring soon then you probably do not want to be thinking about things such as AC repair. You may not have as much room for maneuver in your budget if unexpected bills crop up as you would have had when you were still working.
If you have already had some problems with your unit or it is coming up to ten years old then you may decide to get a replacement before you retire. Although this will not guarantee that you will not face any repair costs it will make it less likely, especially if your current unit is quite old.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you may need to replace the unit again in another fifteen years and so you will need to work out how you will pay for this.
What Sort Of Climate Do You Live In?
Some people will find it difficult to make it through the summer without the coolness that an AC unit will provide. Other people may need heating to get them through cold winters. However, in climates that have mild winters and summers that do not get too hot, you may decide that you are able to live without an AC unit altogether.
If the cost of the repairs of your existing unit is getting too much and you do not want to pay for a replacement, then this is something that you may want to give some thought to. There may be other options other than a new unit that is open to you.
Speak to a professional company to see if they have any suggestions about something that could be used in place of a new unit, such as ceiling fans. If you find that you do not use your existing unit much throughout the course of a normal year, then a replacement may simply not be necessary.
One thing to bear in mind if you do decide on this course of action is that the alternative equipment that you have purchased may not be enough to cope if you experience a summer that is much hotter than normal.
If you have taken all these factors into account and are still unsure about whether a repair or replacement is your best option, then you should get some advice from the experts. A professional company that specializes in air conditioning repair will be able to give you their opinion about the options that are available to you.
It will be quite expensive to replace your air conditioning unit and therefore it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. A professional company will be able to give you their best estimate of the repair bills that you are likely to face in the next year or so and will also be able to advise about how much money an energy efficient unit could save you.
When all these factors are taken into account it may just be that replacing your air conditioning unit is the best choice. The same company can probably suggest the type of unit that you should get which will best suit your circumstances.
Even if you do not need to get the replacement just yet, after getting professional advice you will be better informed about when the replacement will be needed.