Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit? The Practical Homeowner’s Guide

Repair or ReplaceShould you repair or replace your broken air conditioner? It seems straightforward enough, right? If the cost of repair is significantly less than replacement, save some money and go with the repair.

Unfortunately, the solution isn’t always so cut and dry. Let’s say you’re dealing with a broken air conditioner that could cost you a couple hundred dollars to repair. While replacement would be somewhere in the ballpark or $4,000.

It’s tempting to save a few thousand dollars in the short term and schedule the repair. Maybe a few months later your compressor wears out and you drop a few hundred bucks. Yet again to get that replaced. Then the motor goes out a few months later. You see the point. 

On the other hand, a simple repair could be all you need to get your AC unit back in tip top shape. So how do you know if a repair will do or if you’d be better off investing in a new AC unit? There are a few key factors that will help make the decision easier for you.

How Old is Your Unit?

Central air conditioning units have come a long way in recent years in terms of reliability and efficiency. In fact, if your air conditioner is around 10 years old and in need of repair, you should really consider replacing it.Your new unit will be reliable and carry a warranty and it will save you a significant amount of money on your energy bill. A new air conditioner is typically at least 50% more efficient than a model built just a few years ago.

Is Your Current AC Under Warranty?

If your air conditioner is still under warranty, having it repaired will save you money. Depending on the conditions of your warranty, you may not need to pay anything out-of-pocket. Or, perhaps the parts are covered and you may only have to pay labor costs.

What is the Condition of Your AC?

Aside from the age of your unit, what’s the overall condition. Have you had periodic maintenance performed, system cleaning, refrigerant refills, ductwork cleaning and repair? If your air conditioner is well maintained and efficient, repair could be a good idea. However, if several parts are on the verge of needing replacement you may be better off having the unit replaced and installed by a professional.

The Advantages of Buying a New Unit

Opting for a new unit will certainly yield dividends in a number of important ways. Let’s take a look at a few key advantages of buying a new AC unit.

Lower Operating Costs

The efficiency of air conditioning units is measured using a metric called the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. This rating is done on a numerical scale and is easy to grasp: the higher the number, the more efficient a unit will be. Under federal law, manufacturers are not allowed to produce units with a SEER rating below 14. That means a new unit will far surpass one built just a few years ago in terms of efficiency and operating costs. If your current unit is six years old or more, you can expect to save at least 60% on your monthly cooling costs.

Improved Health

Another benefit you’ll notice with a new air conditioner is improved indoor air quality. Today’s units are designed to significantly reduce mold, dust, bacteria and allergens. Those who suffer from symptoms associated with asthma will likely notice a big difference.

If you’re struggling with the decision to repair or replace your air conditioner, schedule an appointment with a contractor in your area. A professional technician will be able to diagnose issues with your unit and help you make a more informed decision.

About the Author: Eric Todd is a DIY enthusiast and self-proclaimed handyman who enjoys blogging about saving energy and helping people feel more comfortable by helping them find an energy efficient air conditioner.