Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

With the start of spring comes the start of the warm season, and it’s only a matter of time before temperatures start to climb. Before long, people all around the area will be firing up their air conditioners and possibly be faced with the prospect of a system that has broken down. If you’re like most homeowners, a broken air conditioner brings up a question that nobody wants to have to answer: should you repair your air conditioner or replace it entirely.

However, what makes this question so off-putting is the fact that very few homeowners have the knowledge to determine whether a repair or a replacement is right for their needs. And until they know for sure, all they know is that there’s a chance they may have to spend thousands of dollars on a replacement while their home continues to go without the cooling they need. The only way to know for sure is to have your system professionally inspected and diagnosed by an air conditioning expert, but in the meantime, there are a few tips and tidbits that can help you get a better understanding as to what’s more than likely going to be the best solution for you.

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

The number-one way to tell whether your air conditioner should be repaired or replaced is to simply find the answer to one question: how old is your system? The average air conditioner has an expected lifespan of around 15 years, and can even reach up to 20 years if you maintain it well. However, if you go too far beyond this age, the wear and tear on your system means breakdowns are going to become more and more frequent. Repairs will continue to be more and more expensive, and the amount of energy your system uses will continue to climb higher and higher. In fact, when you add in the improvements to energy consumption that are constantly being made as new technology is developed, you could be losing out on quite a bit of money by continuing to repair and operate an old air conditioner.

However, if your system is still fairly new, then a repair is probably the option you want to go with. This isn’t always the case, but if your repairs are affordable and your system still has several years of expected life in it, then by all means you should consider a repair.

How Much Energy Does Your Air Conditioner Use?

This question is an easy one to answer: every air conditioner should have an Energy Guide printed on your indoor unit. On this energy guide is a rating known as a SEER value, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher this number is, the more efficient your system. If your system is a 10 SEER or lower, then you should consider replacing it. If the SEER rating is 13 or above, then replacement isn’t necessary and a repair will probably be just fine.

Alternatively, you can also take a look at your energy costs. If you compare an energy bill from operating your air conditioner this year to an energy bill from, say, five years ago, and you notice that you’re using far more energy even though you haven’t replaced your air conditioner or made any major changes to your home, then your aging AC is probably the reason for it. Replace it, and you should see a huge savings in your monthly utility costs.

How Much Does Your Repair Cost?

Whether or not you should repair your system will depend heavily on how much it will cost to actually conduct the repair. Here’s a rule of thumb: if the cost to repair your system is more than it will cost to replace it, then it’s a no-brainer: replace it and start over with a brand-new unit. Repairs of this magnitude are rare, but repairs requiring you to pay anywhere from 1/3 to half of the cost of a new system are not nearly as unheard of. If fixing your system is going to cost a huge chunk of what it would cost to replace your system entirely, then a replacement is probably going to be the better option. When you consider a new system will be more reliable, need fewer repairs, and save you money on energy, the choice becomes even clearer: replacement is a better idea more often than you might think.

How Often Do You Need a Repair?

Is this the first breakdown your air conditioner has ever experienced? Then there’s a pretty good chance that a repair will be the better choice unless your repair is extremely serious. More often than not, if your system is reliable and simply doesn’t break down, then it’s actually still in good health and will continue to last. However, if it breaks down on you quite frequently, say once or twice a year, then it is absolutely time to send your old system off to retirement. Before long, the cost of repairs will monumentally increase the cost of ownership and how much money you’re spending keeping your home cool every summer. Avoid it by replacing your system with one that’s more reliable and energy-efficient.

Are you interested in replacing your air conditioner? Talk to the experts at EnviroSafe Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Water Treatment! Dial (856) 878-2806 now to schedule a new system consultation. Get the cooling power you need to make working at home and sheltering in place more comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic.