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Repair or Replace: What's Best for your AC?

air conditioning cartoon

Some purchases are just more fun than others. Trading in your fifteen-year-old broken down, beaten up truck for a brand new shiny sports car or a sleekly efficient hybrid gives you a thrill that makes the thought of higher payments bearable. A bright and shiny (or more efficient) new AC unit doesn’t give us quite the same tingles along our spines. Sometimes, however, a replacement is just good common sense. Read on, as our Austin AC repair specialists help you determine when to keep your old AC unit chugging along and when it’s time to spring for the latest and greatest.

How Old Is Your Unit?

Unlike fine wines, AC units do not get better with age. The average lifespan is 10-15 years, so if you experience a breakdown close to that 10 year mark, replacing your unit is probably your best bet. Your unit might be able to keep going, but you’re likely to need additional repairs sooner rather than later. And considering how far technology has advanced since you purchased your last unit, you’re guaranteed to save on energy costs by replacing your unit.

How Expensive Is the Repair?

Did you know there’s a formula to determine whether an HVAC repair cost is too high? Multiply the cost of the repair by the age of the unit. If the result is more than $5000 (approximate cost of a new unit), go with the replacement. If it’s less, repairing it is generally the better option. So if your five-year-old unit needs a $500 repair, go for it. If a ten-year-old unit needs the same repair, replace it instead.

Does Your Unit Use R-22?

R-22 is the refrigerant used in older AC units. New units use the more environmentally friendly R-410a, which has led to the phasing out of R-22. Because R-22 is no longer widely available, its price tag has gone through the roof. If you’re running the formula above to determine whether repair or replacement makes more financial sense, be sure to factor in the cost of R-22 refills. (Yes, it really is that expensive!)

What Does Your Energy Bill Look Like?

If your bills keep rising, especially if you are dealing with an older, less efficient unit, replacing it might be for the best. Energy Star estimates you’ll save around 20% on your heating and cooling costs with a newer, more energy-conscious unit. Experts recommend looking for a SEER rating of at least 13.

Are You Happy With Your Current System?

Aside from a few small repairs here and there, or the fact that it is getting up there in years, are you currently satisfied with your AC? Does it adequately and consistently cool your house? Is it quiet, or is there excessive noise keeping you up at night and distracting you from your daily activities? If you’re perfectly happy, keep going with your old unit, but if noise is an issue or if the unit isn’t getting the job done, go ahead and replace.

Ultimately, many factors will play a role in your decision to repair or replace your system, but keeping things like the age of the unit, the cost of the repair, and the other items noted above in mind should help you make a solid, well-informed choice. Remember, your Austin AC repair professionals are always available to perform a thorough inspection of your system, offer more personalized advice, and walk you through the options available if you decide to upgrade to a shiny new system. Whether you need a quick repair or need to install a new system, we're here for you! 

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