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Repair or Replace?

repair or replace
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let’s face it, outside of major remodeling and the roof your air conditioner is likely the most expensive purchase you will make when it comes to your home. When your air conditioner stops working you are faced with making rapid decisions on how to proceed, especially if it is the middle of summer and 91 degrees in the shade. Today, I want to take a look into the world of whether replacement is the best option for you, or whether you should get repairs made to your unit.

When it comes to the life span of air conditioners here in the sunshine state the norm is 12-15 years. So, rule number one is if your unit is past the 10-12 year mark of age, don’t repair it. I like to use a car analogy here, if a car has 100,000 miles on it and the transmission goes out, you certainly could put a new transmission in it, however everything else still has 100,000 miles on it. It is highly probable that something else on our very old car is going to break in the immediate future. The same holds true for our 13 year old AC unit, sure you could make a repair to it, but if you do expect something else to fail shortly.  Another good rule of thumb is if the repair cost is going to exceed 20% of the replacement cost of the unit you should take a hard long look at replacement as an option.

When is repairing always your best option? Generally speaking, the starting point is if the unit is under 10 years old. Most of the manufacturers of AC equipment provide a ten year warranty on all the major pieces and parts, so you should be just paying for the labor to repair the unit if it is still under warranty. Obviously if the unit needs a minor repair that is only a couple hundred bucks and it is below 10 in age that is a no brainer, make the repair and get cool again.

The next thing to consider when debating repair or replace is how long are you going to be staying in your home. If it is a short-term home I usually advise my clients to make repairs to the unit, again depending on age. The flip side of that coin is that if you are selling the home and the unit is older, most home inspectors will advise potential buyers that the unit needs to be replaced. This then becomes a haggling point over the price of the home. The buyer will come back and say, “Well, I have to put a new air conditioner in this house, so you need to take $6,000 off the price for me.” It is kind of a Catch 22 when it comes to older air conditioners and selling a house, you either replace the unit and get your asking price or reduce your price and let the new owner worry about it.

The last thing many home owners are faced with is the budget. I fully understand that nobody woke up on a random Tuesday morning and said, “Gee I feel like spending $6,423.18 on my house today.” I get it. This becomes the last question when it comes to repair or replace. Proactive individuals will have planned for replacement time while reactive people may not be in a position of replacement due to finances. If you are that reactive person take a hard look at the age of your air conditioner and please consider the aforementioned life span of air conditioners. It will save you a punch in the face that you need a new one on that random Tuesday.

Alright my friends, thanks for being here, I appreciate you. Until next time, I went to print something at the office the other day and somebody changed the name of the printer to Bob Marley, when I inquired as to why, the boss said because it is always jammin’.  Sigh…………..   

House Whisperer out!!


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