Whether to repair or replace your AC unit depends on various factors, such as the age of the unit, the extent of damage or wear and tear, and the cost of repair versus replacement. A professional HVAC technician can evaluate your unit and provide a recommendation. Here are 7 factors to consider while you’re making your decision.
Age of Your Unit
When determining whether to repair or replace your AC unit, one of the most critical factors to consider is its age. Air conditioners, like other household appliances, have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. Regular maintenance can extend its longevity, but ultimately, the components will wear out over time.
If your AC unit is approaching the end of its lifespan, it’s likely more cost-effective to replace it rather than continuing to repair it. Investing thousands of dollars into fixing a failing component may only result in another breakdown in a few months. A full replacement can not only save you money in the long term but also provide peace of mind knowing that you won’t experience frequent breakdowns.
If your air conditioning unit is aging but still has some life left with proper maintenance, it’s essential to consider its efficiency. Inefficient units may end up costing you more in the long run than replacing them with better models.
To measure the efficiency of air conditioners, SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings are used. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is at cooling your home with less energy, ultimately leading to reduced energy bills. For instance, if your current unit has a 9 SEER rating, upgrading to a 16 or 17 SEER model could save you a considerable amount on your electric bills.
When considering whether to replace your unit, it’s important to also check the humidity levels in your home. Air conditioning units come in various sizes, measured in tons, and the size you require depends on several factors, including the size of your house. Some people install larger units than necessary, believing that more AC power is better than not having enough.
However, this is not always the case. If your air conditioning system is not operating at peak capacity or is improperly sized, the humidity levels in your home may not be optimal even if the unit is still cooling your home to some degree.
A noisy air conditioner can be a major annoyance, especially if the condenser is located near a bedroom window. The sound of the unit turning on in the middle of the night can be jarring and disrupt sleep. To avoid the noise, some people may choose to keep their bedroom warmer than they would like.
If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time to consider replacing your old air conditioner. Newer models are designed to be much quieter than older ones, which can give you the peace and quiet you need in your home. This can also be important if you live in close proximity to your neighbors or if your condenser is in a shared space.
The placement of your current AC unit, particularly the condenser, is another aspect to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace it. Older units can be large and unattractive, and the condenser may have been installed in an inconvenient location on your property. You may be trying to conceal it with fencing or wishing to utilize that space for another purpose.
With advancements in technology, modern AC units are generally smaller and offer alternative installation options. You may be able to relocate your condenser to a more practical location, or move it away from your bedroom windows entirely. This can enhance the comfort of your living space, both inside and outside.
The decision to repair or replace your AC unit also depends on your personal timeline, particularly how long you plan to stay in the house. If you plan to live there for the next decade or two, it makes sense to invest in a new, more efficient unit that will save you money on future repairs and provide a more comfortable living space.
However, if you’re planning to move within the next year or two, it may not be financially wise to replace the unit, as you’re unlikely to recoup the investment. In this case, repairing the current unit to ensure it is in good working condition for selling the house may be the best option.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the question of whether to repair or replace your unit is how much the repairs will cost. In some cases, you may have one minor part of your unit break down. These repairs might only cost you a few hundred dollars, rather than the thousands it would take to put in a whole new unit.
Benefits of Replacing
If you do decide to replace your central AC unit, you’ll discover there are a few benefits. As we’ve already discussed, your new unit is likely to be more efficient, quieter, and better suited to your house. You may be able to move the new unit to a better location in your yard or alongside your house, and you can address some systemic problems in your home’s cooling system.
But perhaps more importantly, getting a new unit will give you peace of mind. Most units come with a one-year labour warranty and a five- to ten-year parts warranty on the major components of the system. You can rest assured that, for the duration of those warranties, you won’t have to pay for another expensive central AC repair.
The question of whether to repair or replace your unit will depend entirely on your specific situation. If your unit is approaching the end of its lifespan, if it causes daily problems around your house, or if a major part has broken, it might be better to replace it. This is also true if you plan to stay in the house long-term. Ultimately, speaking with a qualified local HVAC professional can help you make the right decision for your home and needs.