As Phoenix area residents know, the brutal summer sun makes your air conditioner a must-have for home and business owners. One of the most frequent questions we get at Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is how to know whether you should repair or replace your air conditioner. While we are always here for you when you have an issue with your unit, we understand that you want to have some guidelines to help you anticipate whether you need to plan for an air conditioning unit replacement. The following criteria can give you an idea of whether air conditioner repair or replacement is in order:
- The age of the unit
- The extent of the needed repair
- The condition of the unit
- Energy efficiency
- Whether it requires freon
- Whether the components are matched
- Whether your home is staying at a comfortable temperature
- Technology features
- Rebates or incentives on a new system
- Length of time you plan on staying in the home
The Age of Your Current System
The average lifespan of an air conditioning system in the US is 15-20 years, although residents find that they replace their AC systems approximately every 10-15 years in our Arizona heat. That can vary on many factors such as maintenance, quality of the installation, and other factors. If your unit is approaching the 10-year mark, you may want to discuss the benefits of replacing vs. the cost of repairs with our technicians. Our team is here to take the guesswork and anxiety out of the process by helping you find the right solution for your system.
The Extent and Cost of the Repair
As a general rule, if your system is over ten years old and the estimate to repair it will exceed 50% of its value, it may be more cost-effective to replace it. Another consideration is the frequency of repair. If you have your air conditioner technician at your house so often they know your family members’ names, your unit may no longer be reliable. If you find yourself requesting service often, replacing it may be the better option.
The General Condition of Your Air Conditioner System
A well-maintained AC system should last a long time with only the occasional AC unit repair. That’s why the team at Day & Night Air recommends seasonal scheduled maintenance to extend your unit’s efficiency, reliability, and life expectancy. Another benefit of regular maintenance is that our team can address minor repair needs before becoming major ones. There are some steps you can take to help maintain your system, such as:
- Keeping your filter changed every 1-3 months
- Maintaining the area around your outdoor unit to remove plants and debris
- Scheduling annual maintenance
The Energy Efficiency of Your Air Conditioner
If you’ve noticed your energy bills steadily rising, your HVAC unit may no longer be energy efficient. You can gain approximately 15% more energy efficiency by looking for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels. Another consideration is the SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio indicates the amount of energy the unit consumes, so a higher SEER rating means less energy is required to run it. The efficiency drops as your unit ages, which means that you may be able to save significantly by upgrading to a more efficient unit.
Your Unit Still Requires Freon
As of January 1, 2020, the import or production of freon has been prohibited in the US. Many air conditioners still require the coolant that is also called R22 or HCFC-22. Though you may still be able to get recharged with recycled freon, it will become harder to find and increasingly more expensive. This may be the ideal time to consider replacing your unit with a new one that uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
The Interior Unit Doesn’t Match the Exterior Unit
If you or the prior owner replaced only part of the system when there was a failure, you might have a problem in the making. When only a portion was replaced to save money in the short term, it could cost you more in the long run. When part of your system is much older than the other, it can cause additional strain on the newer components and may even violate the new parts’ warranty. The reduced operating efficiency could shorten the lifespan of the system.
The Comfort Level of Your Home
Do you find yourself constantly trying to adjust your thermostat to keep your home comfortable? If that sounds like you, your unit may not be able to keep up with the demands of your home or office. If your system is experiencing any of the following, you may need to replace your unit:
- Struggling to keep up with the heating or cooling demands
- Cool or hot spots throughout the room or building
- Rising indoor humidity
- Skyrocketing energy bills
Desired Technology Features
Many new technology features are incorporated into the newer AC systems that make them more convenient and efficient. This includes precision temperature and humidity controls, communication systems that monitor the performance, reminders for maintenance or filter changes, and integration with voice-activated home automation devices. Newer units are also quieter, a nice feature for light sleepers. Though the newer technology may add initial cost, it can pay for itself over time with energy efficiency.
Whether There Are Rebates or Incentives Available
Many HVAC manufacturers and power companies or municipalities offer incentives or rebates to encourage the purchase of more energy-efficient or eco-friendly air conditioning equipment. These incentives could significantly offset the replacement costs of a new system. Depending upon the incentive, you may be able to save from several hundred to over a thousand dollars by taking advantage of the available offers. Between rebates, financing options, extended or more comprehensive warranties, and energy savings, your new unit can pay for itself over time.
The Length of Time You Plan To Live in the Home
If this home is transitional for you, or if you have a job that requires you to move every few years, you may want to consider if you’re going to invest in a new system or try to keep yours running in the interim. As long as your unit works, keeping it running with periodic repairs may be the right choice for you. You may pay more in energy bills, but as long as it isn’t cost-prohibitive, you may be able to get along fine without replacing your system. However, remember that a new HVAC system may also be a perk for a prospective buyer if you decide to sell your home.
Reliable, Honest Service AC Service in Phoenix
As our long-time customers in Phoenix know, Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is the one to call when you need fast, fair, and honest service. We have been serving our friends and neighbors in the Valley for over 43 years with their AC, heating, plumbing, and drain cleaning needs. Our team comprises highly skilled and experienced tradespeople who have the knowledge and expertise you can depend on. When you have a problem, you can trust us to provide reliable, expert opinions with options to fit your needs and budget. Contact us today so that we can help you with your AC repair or replacement.