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Why Replace or Repair My AC?

AC replacement
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AC Replacement versus Repair

Are you experiencing trouble with your AC? Is the system not running efficiently? If you have answered yes to either one of these questions then you need to decide whether you should be opting for repair or replacement of your air conditioner. While repair may seem cheaper at first, replacement could be more cost-effective in the long run. It is important to remember that both solutions are important in their own right, but that some companies may try to push a certain solution on you based on what is most convenient for them. It is therefore good to be able to assess the situation yourself and know which factors are relevant in making your decision.

Factors to consider:

  • Age: Most units have a lifespan of about eight to twelve years, after which they start to break down often and can become expensive to repair. Their parts may also become outdated and are consequently difficult to find. If you live near the ocean or in an area with a high salt content, the life expectancy of your unit may be even shorter. If your AC is around 8 years or older it may be time to opt for a replacement instead of repairing it next time it breaks down. However, repair may still be an option if you have consistently had it professionally maintained during this time, which will extend your unit’s lifespan.
  • Efficiency: Another important factor to consider is your AC’s efficiency. Completely restoring an air conditioner, as costly as it is, only guarantees the efficiency it had when it was first manufactured. Due to constant technological improvements and increasing energy standards, newer models are much more efficient than older models. This means that you could end up saving a lot on your electricity bill by replacing an old unit. AC’s that are older than ten years operate below 10 on the Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio (SEER), which is the amount of energy needed to cool your house. In 2006, federal law raised the minimum SEER from 10 to 13, meaning that the newer units use 30% less energy. You can even invest in units which operate at 16 SEER, translating into a 60% save on your gas bill, although these are usually much more expensive.
  • Insulation: You may want to consider your house itself and whether or not it is poorly insulated. If it is, then seeing to these flaws will allow your old unit to continue doing its job for another couple of years. You can approach your air conditioning contractor to assess and, if necessary, upgrade the building envelope.
  • Current condition: When you look at the current condition of your AC, you need to be considering things such as the quality of the brand, the quality of maintenance it has received, how many times it has broken down, etc. If you have professionally maintained your AC and it is a high-quality unit, you should not be discouraged by one or two break-downs. In such a case a repair would be worth your while.
  • Costs: A good rule of thumb is if the cost for repair of your AC is less than half its value and you haven’t been experiencing regular problems, repair would be in your best interest. If, however, the cost of repair exceeds 50% of its value, you may want to start thinking about replacement.

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