Deciding whether to repair or replace your air conditioning unit never comes a good time. Most of us don’t realize we have a problem until the sun is beating down on us and the AC won’t kick on. So how do you know whether it’s time to replace an AC unit versus scheduling a Phoenix AC repair? Here are a few things to consider:
The Age of Your Unit
The number one indicator that it’s time for an AC replacement is the age of the unit itself. While many AC units claim to live up to 20 years, the truth is that most units only last 10-15 years. This is because they aren’t maintained up to manufacturer specs over their lifetime, and they are often overused due to Phoenix’s extreme temperatures. In addition, units that are older than 10 years may have been discontinued; so finding replacement parts becomes more and more costly as the years go by. On the other hand, if your AC unit is less than 10 years old, it’s usually cheaper to repair the unit.
Another critical element about age is the type of refrigerant used in your existing unit. It’s important to note that R-22 is no longer used in the manufacturing of new systems and will no longer be manufactured at all starting in 2020 and moving forward. If your AC unit uses R-22, you may be in for a shock if your unit needs R22 refrigerant due to a slow leak, which can cost up to $250 per pound. Most units hold 6-14 pounds of refrigerant and need to be recharged with 1-2 pounds if there has been a minor leak.
There are several ways this can be fixed. First, you may decide to simply replace the AC unit with a modern equivalent that uses a newer type of refrigerant. New units include up to 10 years in manufacture warranties along with the possibility of reducing your energy consumption. Or you can repair your existing systems leak, whether that means replacing a coil or repairing an existing component. Either way, it is not a job that you should attempt on your own.
You will find that the older your AC unit gets, the more frequent the repairs become. At the same time, the cost of replacement parts tends to increase, unless there is a modern equivalent available. If you notice that service calls are happening closer and closer together, it might be time to make the switch to a new unit.
The Efficiency of Your Unit
Another major question you should be asking yourself is whether or not your AC unit is truly efficient in your home. Many people choose to replace an AC unit before it goes bad because the unit is the wrong size for their home, was not designed with energy efficiency in mind, or simply not providing the level they desire. With rising temperatures and power bills, a high SEER rated AC unit could save you hundreds of dollars per year over the cost of an AC unit repair.
If you find that your AC unit is kicking off and on repeatedly, or that it is staying on for prolonged periods of time without ever shutting off, it may be a sign that your unit is being overworked. While this can go on for some time before you see a real problem, it can quickly wear down your unit, aging it prematurely. For instance, a unit that should have 10 years left in it, may only live for five to seven years if it is being constantly overworked. Replacing an undersized unit multiple times is more costly than just buying the right size unit in the first place. Plus, an undersized unit might not be able to manage the temperature in your home effectively, which can lead to tons of other problems.
These are just some of the many things you should consider when you decide whether to repair or replace your AC unit. The best way to keep from having to do an emergency replacement is to have your AC unit serviced yearly by a qualified professional. This will ensure that your unit is staying in good condition and isn’t being overworked due to low refrigerant or other minor repairs. When you let those repairs go unattended, they grow into bigger problems that could cost as much as a replacement. Make sure you ask your trusted AC professional about energy efficient options while they’re there, as well as any changes to your refrigerant.