Old Air Conditioner: Replace or Repair?

When your air conditioning system is on the fritz, the biggest decision you have to make is whether it’s time to replace your system or if you are better off repairing it. The factors behind that decision can often seem overwhelming. However, there are a few questions that you can ask that will help guide you in making the right decision for you and your home.

How old is your system? Technologies have increased so rapidly over the last few years that unless it is an extremely easy fix, it can often be cheaper to replace a system than it is to repair it. Not only will the system work better, but the higher energy efficiency of newer systems can substantially decrease your energy bill. If your system is more than 8-10 years old, then it is important to have a licensed air conditioning specialist assess the state of your system.

What is the state of your duct system? If your duct system is old or not properly sealed, you can be losing 10-30% of the cool air before it ever reaches your rooms. Sealing gaps or even replacing the ductwork can be one of the easiest and less expensive fixes.

What is the cost? Once you have assessed these two areas, there are other things to help you decide whether to replace or repair. If your system is less than 10 years old and your ductwork is in sound shape, consider the cost of repair versus the cost of replacement. Consider the minimum repair needed in order for your unit to serve the cooling needs of your house. Also consider the likelihood of having to repair the system again in the near future and compare that to the cost of a new unit.

How frequently do you use the air conditioner? What is the average length of your cooling season? How often do your run the conditioner during that season? Will it be worth the investment of a new system? Will you find yourself consistently needing to repair the unit?

The answers to all of these questions will help determine whether it will be better for you to repair or replace your air conditioning system.

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