No one wants to walk into their house expecting a refreshing blast of cool air, only to feel a wave of heat. While this could be due to a breakdown of your air conditioner, it could also be a sign that your A/C unit is no longer fitting your needs. Regardless, you will face the tough decision that follows: to repair or replace your A/C? Now before you freak out, we are here to make the decision easier. Here are some factors to consider so you can make the decision that is right for you:
1. Level of Damage
The severity of what needs to be fixed on your home A/C unit should be a significant factor in deciding whether to repair your current unit or look for a new system. For example, severe damage such as a broken motor, damaged condenser coils, or blown compressors will likely indicate the need to replace your unit. However, a professional can often repair minor issues, such as drain line clogs, minor electrical problems, and broken or loose ductwork, so repairing can sometimes be just as effective as buying a new A/C.
2. Cost of Repairs vs. Replacement
Another factor to consider is the cost of repairing your A/C unit compared to the price of a new unit. A good rule of thumb is if the cost of repairs is 50% or more of the price of a new unit, you should consider replacement rather than repairs. On the other hand, if the cost is under 50%, repairs may be the better option for you.
3. Reliability of Unit
Your unit’s past reliability may also indicate the best path moving forward. A/C units that have required three or more repairs in the past 10 years have a significant chance of needing future repairs. Therefore, purchasing a new A/C unit will likely save you time and money in the long run.
4. Life Expectancy
Like all of us, over time, your A/C unit will no longer work as well as it used to. The average A/C system life expectancy is 10 to 12 years, though a well-maintained A/C unit can last even longer. If your system is over 10 years old, it may be worth looking for a replacement. Not only do most warranties expire after 10 years, but A/C efficiency regulations are regularly updated. For example, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) minimum increased from a minimum of 13 to 14 in 2015. This means that the older your system is, the more likely it will be inefficient compared to new systems. A new A/C system may also help to lower your energy bill, especially if you have noticed a drastic increase in the past few years.
5. Home Improvements
If you have recently made any home improvements such as new windows, doors, insulation, roofing, etc., your current air conditioning system may undersized or oversized compared to your needs. Therefore, an undersized unit would be working harder and less efficiently than it should be. Conversely, an oversized unit would be using more energy than it needs to in order to cool your home.
6. Future Plans
Lastly, you should consider your future plans. For those planning to stay in your current home for three years or longer, replacement costs may be worth the benefits of a new A/C unit. After all, a more efficient cooling system will help decrease your energy bill and provide peace of mind that you and your family will stay cool on hot summer days. And for those planning to move in the near future, perhaps minimizing your investment is best.
If you begin to feel the heat and need to decide whether to repair or replace your A/C, don’t panic. We are here to help you make the best choice for you. Call 507.218.8400 to connect with one of our professionals and we will get you cooled off in no time.