Should You Repair or Replace Your AC Unit?
Many people breathe a sigh of relief as Labor Day rolls in. Their old unit got them through another hot summer. However, the truth is that an air conditioner can break down any time. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a breakdown during the brutal Indian summer week in the Bay Area.
If you are confused between retiring and repairing your unit, then keep reading. These factors will help you make a conscious and cost efficient decision.
Understand the Problem
Some problems are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix even though they may seem serious at face-value. For instance, electrical issues are not something you need to be concerned about. Also, if you think your system is going to die just because of the loud noise it makes, you may be surprised to know that the news may not be as bad as you think. A little redesign or maintenance work could fix the problem.
However, the story is quite different if the compressor has failed. This is especially true in older units. You would be better off replacing the entire unit. Compressors are the heart of any air conditioning unit and it is just not worth fixing them. Also, in most cases, compressor failures occur due to a secondary issue which really won’t be discovered until you replace it.
Issues like refrigerant leaks may be solved if the problem is minor. However, if you have an older system, it may be get difficult to find the source of multiple leaks. Older units have a lot of corrosion on their coils and it can be an expensive and time consuming process. Also, repair would be ineffective since the corrosion will cause more leaks to develop anyway. Replacement would most definitely be the wiser course of action in this case.
Age of the System
Most air conditioning units are not designed to last more than 15 – 20 years. This is when the conditions are optimal. In a crowded city, where the outdoor unit is placed next to the chimney of a restaurant, your system may have a significantly shorter life. You should stop repairing the unit after about 10 years.
Maintenance History and Current Condition
Has your equipment been serviced regularly according to manufacturer’s recommendations? Is yes, most parts would be in a good shape and a simple repair could fix the problem.
You need to ask yourself whether the system has been running reliably until now. It may be worth fixing the system if the parts are in good shape. However, if the unit has a history of poor performance and breakdowns, you would do better with a replacement.
Other Things to Consider
You need to factor in whether the usage or occupancy has changed in recent years. It is quite possible that your current system’s ventilation design and capacity are no longer adequate. You could be left with air quality problems and temperature variances even after you fix your old unit. HVAC replacement is the way to go if you are experiencing humidity issues, odors, or hot and cold spots.