The weather is finally starting to warm up, and that can only mean one thing for San Antonio, TX, homeowners: it’s time to switch your central AC units back on for the first time in several months. However, as your AC unit powers on, you notice it’s not working properly. Your house is getting hotter, your vents are blowing warm air, and you immediately realize it may be time for some air conditioning service.
Then you wonder, does your air conditioner need a little tune-up or a complete replacement? How can you tell when to repair or replace your AC unit? At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio, we often get these questions from customers. And the answer is not always simple or clear-cut. In some cases, it’s obvious that your unit needs to be replaced; at other times, a few repairs may do the trick.
Factors That Determine Whether to Repair or Replace Your AC Unit
Ideally, the decision on whether to repair or replace your AC unit should depend on the condition of your appliance and various other factors. So, before you make a decision, consider the following:
The Age of Your AC Unit
The age of an AC unit is an essential factor to consider when determining whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. The average lifespan of an AC unit is about 15 years. Therefore, even if the appliance seems to be in decent shape, if it’s older than 15 years, you may want to start shopping for a replacement.
Consider replacing old AC units because most parts and components will have to be frequently replaced as they wear down with age. Moreover, the technology used in newer models is far more advanced and is much more energy-efficient, which can help save on energy costs.
The $5,000 Rule
Another critical consideration is the $5000 Rule. The rule suggests that you should consider replacing your AC unit if the cost of air conditioning service, multiplied by its age, exceeds $5000. But, if the figure is less than $5,000, repair it.
This rule requires you to have two vital pieces of information. First, you’ll need to know the age of your appliance—and it should be as accurate as possible. You can always find this information on the sticker containing the machine’s serial number.
You’ll also need to know the costs of all repairs that you have to carry out or that have been recommended by your local air conditioning service. Once you have both of these pieces of information, you can do the math and come up with a decision.
For example, if your unit is seven years old and costs $1,500 to fix, multiplying 7 and 1,500 equal $10,500. In this case, replacing the AC unit would be more cost-effective than repairing it.
Rather than an absolute, the rule should be used more as a guideline and shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when making your decision.
Previous Repairs of the AC Unit
How often have you contracted an air conditioning service for your appliance? If this is the first time to fix the unit since you purchased it, you should ignore this point. But if your air conditioner requires frequent repairs, that’s a sufficient warning.
When an appliance frequently breaks down, it’s often a sign that it needs to be replaced. After all, repairs can only do so much, especially if the appliance is old and parts are no longer being manufactured.
AC units are expensive, and it may not be economical to keep repairing an appliance that needs constant attention. Therefore, if you’ve had to call your air conditioning service multiple times in one season, it may be time to get a new unit.
Does Your System Have an R-22 Refrigerant?
The government is phasing out the R-22 refrigerant. So if your appliance uses this type of refrigerant, it may no longer be available. As a result, you may have to replace your air conditioner with a newer model that uses the R-410A refrigerant.
If you need to repair your AC unit that uses the R-22 refrigerant, your air conditioning service may be able to recharge your system with the new refrigerant. However, this will only be a temporary fix, as the R-22 will become completely unavailable.
Upgrading to a newer model will be a more permanent solution and can help you avoid any future issues.
The Efficiency of Your AC Unit
The efficiency of your AC unit is equally a determinant of whether to repair or replace it altogether. If the unit is not operating at full capacity, it’ll have to work harder to cool your home, which will use more energy and cost you more money.
So, if your unit is not operating as efficiently as it used to, talk to your air conditioning service professional about ways to improve its efficiency. They may be able to clean the coils or make other adjustments that can help restore your unit’s efficiency. If a replacement is the best option, they can help you choose a more energy-efficient model.
If you’re planning a home renovation, you might have decided that an old, rusty-looking unit is too much of an eyesore to keep—regardless of how well it might operate.
In this case, it’s best to replace your unit with a newer model that will complement the look of your home.
You Can Trust bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio
If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your air conditioner, the experts at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio can help. We’ll inspect your unit, diagnose the problem, and recommend the best course of action. We’re a family-owned and operated business, and we’re dedicated to providing our San Antonio, TX, customers with top-quality air conditioning service.
Call us today at 210-876-1629 to schedule air conditioning services in San Antonio, TX. We’re available 24/7 to take your call.