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Advice: Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

September 5, 2013 | Blog

At Mission AC, there’s one question that we get all the time: Should I repair my existing air conditioner or replace it with a newer unit? This is an uncomfortable decision to make, especially if you haven’t been preparing for AC replacement financially, and it’s one that we can’t answer for you.

However, we can help you weigh your options to make the right choice for your air conditioner. Here are some things to consider when deciding if repair or replacement is better for you.

Don’t Get Bullied

If you have an air conditioning technician at your home saying your AC has to be replaced immediately, even telling you it can be done the same day, pump the brakes and take a breather. It’s easy to get swept up in the advice a technician gives you, especially when you’re uncomfortable in your home, but remind yourself that AC installation is a big investment. Make sure you take everything into account before jumping to the next step.

Assess the Current System

First, you’ll want to assess the condition of your current system. Ask yourself (or your technician) these questions:

  • Is the system repairable? Don’t hesitate to ask your technician to explain their answer and even show you their findings. If you aren’t comfortable with the explanation, get a second opinion.
  • What is the cost of repairs? Ask your technician what the total cost of all repairs needed will be and compare it to the cost of replacement. Also, consider the likelihood of additional repairs in the near future, and think about how often you’ve had to repair your AC in recent years. Is your current AC becoming too costly?
  • How old is the system, and is it under warranty? Check with the tech and see if the manufacturer still covers the failed components. Depending on your warranty, you may be entitled to free parts for the repair. If your AC is over 15 years old, however, you should seriously consider replacing it.
  • Does it still use R22? The government decided to phase out R22 beginning in 2010 because of the harm it poses to the environment. This means your AC repairs will get pricier as supplies and production reduce stop. If your AC still uses R22, it’s time to look towards the future.

Long Term Plans for the Home

Before making a big investment in your home, consider whether you plan to move or stay. While trying to leave a bad AC for the next homeowner to deal with is something you won’t (and shouldn’t try) to get past realtors and potential buyers, you should ask yourself whether you’ll be around to reap the full benefits of a new AC system. This an especially prudent consideration if your system doesn’t need immediate replacement but a new system would help you save on energy efficiency in the long run.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

You’ll need to figure out whether it’s better to continue putting money into your old system or invest in a new one, which depends on your finances and the future cost of repairs. In many cases, especially if the current system is over 10 years old, it’s better to invest in a new system. While the initial cost is generally much higher than repairs, your new system will be more efficient than the old one. Not only will you not have to worry about paying for serious repairs any time soon, but you’ll also save money on your energy bills.

For help estimating these possible savings, Ruud has a system called Design star which can measure with decent accuracy what kind of savings you will experience of the life of the new vs old unit. More on that system in another post. And of course, a good technician will be able to help you weigh these costs as well.

In the end, the best answer to the “repair or replace” question is whichever answer works best for you. No matter which option you choose, Mission AC is here to provide expert AC┬árepair and installation services.

Contact us today to get started on your service request.



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