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Should I Repair or Replace My AC Unit?

April 20, 2024

Should I Repair or Replace My AC Unit?

At some point in the life of an AC system, repairs can outweigh the long-term cost savings of replacement. The tipping point between investing in another repair or a new replacement depends on the unique circumstances of each homeowner and how they treat their system over time.

Let’s dive into the breakdown of cost, efficiency, caveats, and benefits of each service.

The Caveats & Benefits Of An AC Repair

From time to time, it’s not uncommon for your heating and cooling systems to experience an issue where a professional is needed for repairs. Even the smallest issues with your air conditioning unit can cause the biggest headaches for homeowners. You might think it’s time to replace your cooling system, but you should weigh out the pros and cons of a repair before you go this route:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness:
    1. Immediate Savings: Avoiding the higher costs of a new unit.
    2. Extended Lifespan: Prolonging the life of your current AC unit.
  2. Indoor Air Quality Maintenance:
    1. Ensures continuous air filtration and humidity control.
  3. Ideal for Minor Issues:
    1. Freon leaks
    2. Evaporator coil problems
    3. Small electrical issues
    4. Thermostat issues
    5. Short cycling due to a clogged filter.

When you have to conduct frequent AC repairs or the repair service is greater than the cost of a new system, then a replacement might be the better choice. Here are some caveats to consider when choosing between a repair or replacement:

  1. Numerous Repairs: An aging heating and cooling system is going to require more frequent repairs. If you’re scheduling a repair more than once per year, then it’s clear that proper maintenance and repairs aren’t helping your system operate efficiently.
  2. Minor Issues vs Major Issues: Having a professional address a small AC problem can sometimes prolong the life of your system. For example, your HVAC technician discovers a small freon leak, repairs or replaces parts that are causing the leak, and leaves you with an efficient cooling system. However, not all repairs are created equal. Some issues, like compressor failure, electrical damage, or bad evaporator coils, will be more expensive to repair. Depending on the age of your system, replacing your entire system in these cases may be more economical.
  3. Higher energy bills: A repair might address a short-term issue with your aging system, but an older system will never run as efficiently as a new one. If your energy bills are steadily creeping higher and higher, consider investing in a newer, more efficient cooling system to save you money in the long run.

Replacing Your AC System: Financing

From the moment you invest in a new home, you should also know that your heating and cooling system will also be a routine part of that investment. The cost of maintaining, repairing, and replacing an air conditioning system is a huge consideration for homeowners.

Comfort and convenience can be the deciding factors if you are trying to avoid the time and headaches associated with repairs on older equipment, or if you have family members in your household who need air conditioning for their health. The main factor most households have to worry about is the final cost when you replace your air conditioner.

In the following sections, our team of professionals has provided additional details of the financial factors and timing of your system replacement.

Can I Wait One More Year Before I Replace?

If you want to wait one more year before you replace your HVAC system in an attempt to save money, you might actually end up spending even more than you should. The money you think you will be saving by waiting will instead go toward higher energy bills due to an inefficient cooling system. Other issues that will drain your budget could involve a refrigerant leak, electrical issues, and system breakdown that could warrant an expensive repair visit from your local HVAC company.

At the end of the day, the lack of energy efficiency, higher energy costs, and potential for frequent and expensive repair visits are not worth it. Replacing your system can save you from these additional costs and stressful factors.

What if I Can’t Afford to Replace My System Right Now?

Replacing an AC unit is a significant investment. Some homeowners can slightly delay a replacement by meticulously caring for their systems over time. This might be in the form of more frequent maintenance visits, routinely changing out air filters, and addressing repairs immediately after they appear.

If you’d like to become more proactive with the maintenance of your cooling system here’s what you should consider:

  • Cleanliness Habits At Home: The frequency with which you clean your home can contribute to how quickly your heating and cooling systems wear down. Dust, dirt, and other debris can clog up your air filter over time which can cause additional stress for your system.
  • Pets: As much as we love our cats and dogs, they can cause additional stress on your heating and cooling systems as well. If you’re not routinely cleaning up their fur, especially during shedding season, it can cause your air filters to clog up even faster.
  • Changing out essential parts: Outside of your air filter, other aging parts of your system should be replaced by an HVAC professional. There are a few questions about your cooling system you should be able to answer, or ask an HVAC professional, to maintain a well-functioning cooling system:
    • How Often Does A Refrigerant Need To Be Replaced? Roughly, every two to five years depending on your usage habits and system age.
    • When Were The Batteries Last Replaced For Your Thermostat? Much like a smoke detector, the batteries for your heating and cooling system thermostat should be replaced once per year.
    • How Does Your System’s Motor Sound Or Smell? Knowing what your system sounds and smells like when it’s operating correctly, can help you notice when an issue arises.
    • How Do The Air Compressors And Evaporator Coils Look? These parts are key indicators of how your system is operating as a whole and can help determine how much longer you have until a replacement is needed. Your HVAC professional should be able to examine and tell you how these parts look during a maintenance or repair visit.

At the end of the day, even the most well-maintained cooling systems will need to be replaced at some point. Various financing options are available to make this transition more accessible.

Schedule Your Appointment With Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric

If you’re contemplating whether to repair or replace your AC unit, Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric is here to help. Our experienced team can guide you through the decision-making process, ensuring you choose the most cost-effective and suitable option for your home.

Call 913-354-8065 to schedule your appointment now.

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