AC Repair vs. Replacement: 6 Factors to Consider
Are you confused between repairing and replacing your Bay Area air conditioner? The simple answer is you should do whatever is convenient, cost-effective, and energy-efficient. These are a few factors that can help you decide between repair and replacement.
1. Air Conditioner’s Age
Central air conditioning doesn’t usually last for more than 10 – 15 years. However, there may be a few more years left if you had your unit serviced and maintained regularly. You can check the age of your air conditioner by looking at the nameplate on the condenser unit. It will give you the month and year of manufacture.
You can also check the installation date or the serial number of the HVAC unit online. You should know that paying for pricey repairs after a certain point of time is not recommended. You should multiply the repair estimate with the age of the unit. If it is more than $5,000 you should consider getting a new air conditioner.
2. Number of Necessary Repairs
The air conditioning repair bills may be getting expensive. The worst part is that you are bereft of a comfortable environment whenever the AC is on the fritz. Frequent repairs can create a big dent in your household budget.
Further, the problem may only get worse with time. You should get a trustworthy professional to inspect your cooling system. They will give you sound advice whether you are better off patching up the air conditioner or replacing it.
3. Exorbitant Energy Bills
Does the utility bill leave you dizzy every cooling season? Older air conditioners don’t work as efficiently as modern ones. They don’t have the latest energy-saving tech that may drive up your energy bills. This is one of the reasons why seasonal efficiency (SEER) ratings are higher with lower energy bills in the newer models.
4. Uses R-22 Refrigerant
R-22 or Freon is almost phased out of most air conditioners. This is due to its ozone depleting properties. While Freon doesn’t really get used up because of sealed systems, it may leak out. You may not be able to get a refrigerant top up. You should ask yourself whether you want to contribute to ozone depletion to save a few bucks. You don’t need to worry about this by replacing your existing system with ozone-friendly R410A refrigerant.
5. Cooling Issues
Your air conditioner may not be cooling suddenly because of some minor issue, such as tripped breaker or clogged air filters. You should also check the thermostat. However, if the cooling is a constant issue, you may need to call in a professional. The lack of cooling could be because of a refrigerant leak or a mechanical issue. It is also possible that the company you purchased the air conditioner from did not size it correctly or the installation job they did was not that remarkable.
6. Frozen Coils
You don’t want an air conditioner that freezes. Air filter blockage may cause a frozen outdoor unit or evaporator coil. This could also be because of low temperature settings. Conversely, frozen coils are an indicator of problems with the fan or drain line. These problems are not very expensive and can be quickly repaired. You don’t need to consider replacing the AC unit in this case.