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Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

April 10th, 2019


An air conditioner is a complex mechanical system. Keeping it running is a long-term concern and home investment.

Getting your air conditioner maintained annually will extend its life, as will taking care of any necessary repairs as soon as you can. This may keep a system running 3-5 additional years.

In the long run, however, replacing your air conditioner becomes more cost-effective than repair. Knowing when you’ve reached this point is often a judgment call.

When you’re deciding between repair and replace this spring, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How Old is the AC? – The average air conditioning unit is operational for about 10-14 years. The closer you get to the far end, the better it is to go for a complete replacement. Use the 5,000 Rule: Multiply the cost of any needed repair by 10, and if the solution is 5,000 or greater, start looking for a replacement.
  2. How Often Do You Repair? – Aside from an occasional maintenance check and refrigerant top-off, an AC shouldn’t need much attention. If you find yourself repairing it once a year or even more, you’re probably spending nearly as much as you would on a new unit.
  3. Is Your Energy Bill Rising? – Your air conditioner relies on a variety of smaller, sensitive parts. As these wear out over time, the system as a whole becomes less efficient. If your energy bill is going up, your AC may be running longer and drawing more electricity. A new unit has lower cost of energy.
  4. Does Your System Use R-22 Refrigerant? – R-22 refrigerant is commonly used in air conditioning units produced before 2010. It is being widely phased out in Canada and the United States. Supplies are limited and sure to grow very pricey over time, so replacing a unit now may save you on costs in the long run.
  5. Would a New Unit Cost Less Than Your Current Repair? – If you’re facing a major repair with your current AC, it’s a good idea to get price estimates for a new AC. Sometimes, you’ll simply find a new unit saves you money. Add on the time and effort it takes to keep an older unit running and this may become an unbeatable deal.

If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace, expert advice can help you make the right choice. To find out more and explore your options, contact us today.

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