It happens. Air conditioning units don’t last forever and over time they can break down and stop working the way they should. We’re here to help and part of helping is letting you make the best decision you can. We never try to make unnecessary sales and if it makes sense to repair a unit, we’re more than happy to do the work.
There are many reasons why you may not want to replace your system, and we understand. Cost and downtime are important factors but sometimes you get to a point where you are throwing good money after bad. What should you know about your HVAC system when trying to decide whether to replace it or repair it?
How Old Is It?
Unfortunately HVAC systems don’t last forever. The expected lifespan of a system is ten to fifteen years and if you’ve lost track of time that means that if you have a system that was installed before 2009, then there is a chance it is time to get a new one. If your unit is over 10 years old and it is starting to break down more frequently, this is the time that we will discuss new models with you.
How expensive is the repair?
At a certain point, costs to repair become more expensive than the value you get for the repair. What is that price point? An unwritten rule is that if the repair parts cost over $1000 then it is time to consider replacement. Consider past repairs on the unit. Are the costs adding up year after year? Are you throwing good money after bad?
Is the repair for a permanent part or simply maintenance?
The nature of the repair is another consideration. Is the repair just a bandaid, like adding refrigerant because there is a small leak somewhere that is letting it escape? Is it something permanent like a motor replacement?
Repair work that needs to be done repeatedly is a sign that your system is could continue seeing failure as other parts begin to break down. If component parts of the system are replaced and other connected parts of that system then fail, it may be time to replace the full unit.
In the last ten years, systems are becoming more and more efficient all the time. Newer systems will always be more efficient than the original if it is 4 years or older, but there is another metric you can check against new models. The Efficiency of unit has a rating called SEER. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency Ratio”.
What rating is considered inefficient today? A 12 SEER or lower is inefficient and units with these ratings should be considered for replacement.
Refrigerant Leaks and Type of Refrigerant
Refrigerant leaks are like leaks in your tire. They do not go away and if they are not tracked to the source and repaired, treating the symptom and not the cause will guarantee it comes back. Leaks need to be corrected through repair or replacement.
A final consideration is the TYPE of refrigerant your system uses. R22 refrigerant is phasing out in 2020. If your system runs on R22 then it is worth considering a replacement to get away from it. It won’t cause your system to fail, but the cost to repair will become higher and higher as supplies become harder to source.