When your air conditioner breaks down, repairing it is the usual option. If your unit is constantly malfunctioning, wastes too much energy or is simply getting too old, now might be the time for a new central air unit. Here are some questions to ponder when deciding between repairing and replacing.
Are you happy with the system you have now?
Regardless of other factors, if your AC unit usually performs well enough, doesn’t cost too much to operate, and hasn’t required more than occasional low-cost repairs, replacing it probably isn’t necessary.
How often do you use your AC?
If you only run it now and then, repair is probably a better option than replacement unless the unit has suffered a catastrophic failure.
How old is your AC unit?
With regular maintenance, your AC unit should keep running efficiently for many years. Experts agree that air conditioning units typically last about 12-18 years, but there are exceptions. A unit that is properly maintained and only sees light use may last 20 years or longer. On the other hand, if a central air unit has been poorly maintained, used heavily, or was improperly installed initially, it may fail far sooner than 12 years. If your AC is more than seven or eight years old and needs more than the occasional tune-up, it’s probably a good candidate for replacement.
How efficient is your air conditioner?
If your system continues to cost you a lot to run even after its annual tune-up, you might think about upgrading to a new Energy Star model. Even if your older unit is performing adequately, it might be worth replacing in the interest of efficiency. According to the EPA, a 20-year-old system might cost 2x as much to run as today’s more efficient units.
How much will it cost to repair your unit?
If you’re faced with a hefty repair bill of $500 or more just to get your old system up and running again, it’s probably more cost-effective to replace it altogether – especially if it’s been in service a long time. The same goes if your system always seems to be letting you down; eventually, the smart choice is to replace it with a new, more reliable, and more efficient unit. If you do opt for a replacement, make sure you get an Energy Star verified installation. Doing this ensures that your new AC is designed and sized correctly for your living space, and is professionally installed by the qualified local technicians at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling!