To Replace or Repair an Air Conditioner, Which One is Better?

Life is full of hard decisions. Your air conditioner shouldn’t be one of them. We understand it’s hard to determine which is better, to replace or repair an air conditioner.

When the time comes to invest in a new unit or fix the one you already have, there’s a lot to consider. This includes the size of your unit and your home, the cost of repairs, the condition of the unit, and its overall performance and efficiency.

The pros at Service Champions are here to help you make the best decision for your home and budget.

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Important Considerations

How Long Are You Staying at the Specific Home?

If you’re planning to move in the next few years, replacing your air conditioning unit with a new one may not be the best investment.

A well-maintained AC unit could add value when you sell. You’re also going to want to get a unit that’s the appropriate size for your new home, so keep this in mind when you consider replacing your current AC unit.

That said, if you’re planning on staying in your current home for a long time, getting a new AC unit with an extended warranty – and no need for costly repairs – is worthwhile, especially if your unit is getting up there in age.

How Old is My AC Unit?

A typical air conditioning unit has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. If you maintain your AC unit well, you could get a few more years on top of that.

In general, if your unit is over 10 years old, the warranty is expired, or you’re needing constant repairs – especially expensive ones – purchasing a brand-new AC unit may be the more cost-effective choice.

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However, if your AC unit is less than 10 years old, you’ve maintained it well, and it’s not having issues that need frequent repairs, you may be better off paying for small repairs to extend the life of your unit.

What Are the Costs of My Energy Bills?

Even with the best maintenance, an older air conditioning unit will run less efficiently than a newer system. All AC units have a SEER rating to determine energy efficiency. Units from the 90s required a SEER rating of at least 10, but this requirement changed in 2006 to 13, then 14 in 2015. Now, modern AC units must have a SEER rating of 20 or greater.

If you begin to see the costs of your energy bills going up, replacing your unit with a newer and more efficient one could be a smart investment.

Does My Current AC Meet My Needs?

The size of your AC unit plays a big role in the energy efficiency of the system and the comfort it provides. Ideally, your air conditioner should meet the needs of your home’s size as best as possible.

If you choose a system that’s too large, you will use more energy than necessary, and it will not properly dehumidify your home. Conversely, if the system is too small, it will run longer and harder than it should without properly maintaining the set temperature.

An AC unit that’s improperly sized for your home should always be replaced, even if it’s new and in good condition. Otherwise, you may wear out the unit while still struggling to maintain comfort in your home and reasonable energy bills.

A professional HVAC technician can advise you on the proper size unit for your home, doors, and windows, as well as the local climate and temperature extremes, to give you the most bang for your buck.

When You Should Repair Your Air Conditioner

If you have a newer AC, it doesn’t make sense to just replace it instead of making the necessary repairs.

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Generally, HVAC professionals follow the “$5,000 rule.” This means you multiply the age of the unit by its repair costs. If the number is under $5,000, it may make more sense to repair problems as they come up, rather than springing for a whole new system.

When You Should Replace Your Air Conditioner

Remember that $5,000 rule? If your repairs exceed $5,000, it’s more cost-effective to replace your AC unit, rather than forking over money to fix a problem.

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Another sign you should replace your unit is if it needs constant repairs. Even if the repair costs are low each time, they can add up quickly. If your unit is always running into problems you need to fix, it may be best to cut your losses and spring for a brand-new AC unit.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current AC unit to a more efficient model, or you need repairs to keep your older system running at its best, contact the pros at Service Champions!