What is best; continue to repair an air conditioner or replace it?

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Jan, 2016


Like everything else mechanical, eventually it reaches a point where old age catches up with it and replacement is a far better option that to continue plowing good money into more repairs. Repair or replace can be a difficult decision, there is no doubt that AC replacement will cost more at the time than another repair but there is limit to everything.

AC contractors have developed what they call the “$5,000 rule.” All this rule says is to multiply how old the current system is in years by the cost to repair it. If the result of this simple calculation is greater than $5,000 you are far better off opting for AC replacement; if the result is less, then by all means, repair it.

Obviously this rule is all based around the age of your current air conditioner. The USEPA Energy Star program suggests that replacing a ten year old AC with an energy efficient model is the right choice, those who work with air conditioning tend to differ in their opinion; if you apply the $5,000 rule you probably can extend the life of your AC to 13 or 14 years based on the average repair bill.

Although age is a definite factor, it is not the only consideration:

  • Frequent repairs: If you’re existing air conditioner is constantly in need of repair it may not be its calendar age, it may be the fact that you live in a area where AC is required day and night. In cases like this, chances of the unit lasting ten or more years are remote; AC replacement will have to be done more often simply because of the duty cycle.
  • Energy savings: If the existing air conditioner in your home was installed prior to 2006, there were no mandated efficiency standards. This all changed in 2006, all ACs bought and installed after that date had to have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 13 or more. Today, AC units are rated even higher than that: the higher the SEER raring the more efficient the air conditioner is. The more efficient it is the less energy that you need to keep the interior of your home at the same temperature.

When it becomes necessary to consider AC replacement proper sizing is the key. If the unit is oversized it will struggle to eliminate the humidity in your home, if it is undersized it will have to work far harder than it should to maintain the temperature that you want.

If you live in San Antonio or the surrounding area and you need AC replacement you are invited to discuss your needs with the experts at Kendall County Air Heating and Cooling.

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