Your Old AC: Repair or Replacement?

Should I replace or repair my old air conditioner? This is a common question asked by most people. Since we are dealing with an old air conditioner here, it’s important to consider several factors before making your decision.

 A full air conditioner replacement is expensive. Therefore, you will need to consider whether your old AC is dying before deciding to replace it. At times, you can get your air conditioner repaired, thus adding a few more years to its lifespan.

So, what should you consider when deciding whether to replace or repair your old AC?

Energy efficiency

Mostly, old air conditioners have reduced efficiency, regardless of their current condition. A 78% AFUE and 10 SEER for your unit is an indication that it’s operating at the bare minimum. And, it will cost you a lot of money to bring the unit back to its normal operating efficiencies. Please note that an old AC unit will not only increase your utility bills, but it won’t cool air in your home efficiently. Now, when you put all these factors together, you can easily determine whether to replace or repair your air conditioner.

The cost of repairs

Is the required repair somehow insignificant, like changing a drain line? Well, such costs of repairs are not likely to force you to replace your old air conditioner. But, when dealing with an old air conditioner, and the repair costs are around 50% of its cost, replacing their air conditioner will be the best option here.

Another thing to consider is how frequently your air conditioner needs repairs. Has your air conditioner been running smoothly, or it breaks down every few months? If you find yourself dealing with the latter scenario, it will be much cheaper to replace your AC, instead of spending hundreds of dollars repairing an old and unreliable air conditioner.

The current condition of your unit

Good AC maintenance practices have a direct impact on the reliability, lifecycle, and efficiency of your air conditioner. Please note that you can avoid close to 50% of all air conditioner problems through regular maintenance. Some of the things that you can do to keep your old AC in good condition include:

  • Changing the air filters every 1-3 months
  • Keeping the outdoor unit clear of debris and plants
  • Scheduling annual tune-ups with a professional HVAC contractor

When you observe these practices, your old air conditioner will continue running smoothly. However, if you ignore regular maintenance, you will not be able to revive your old AC once it breaks down.

What refrigerant is your old AC running on?

In January 2020, HCFC-22, R22, or Freon, a refrigerant used on air conditioners was phased out in a bid to save the environment. Following that directive, the United States banned the production and importation of Freon, and this has made it hard and costly to obtain the refrigerant. The challenge is, most old AC units still run on this outdated refrigerant. And, in case your old air conditioner develops refrigerant leaks, you can only use recycled R22 to recharge it.

Modern AC units are running on a standard refrigerant known as Puron or R410A, which is more environmentally friendly than Freon. So, if you have an old AC, there’s a chance that it’s running on Freon—meaning it’s time to replace it.

Does your AC meet the comfort needs of your home?

Before breaking down, were you pleased with your ACs performance? Or has your old system been:

  • Working hard to meet the cooling demands of your home?
  • Heating or cooling unevenly?
  • Failing to dehumidify your home properly?
  • You have increased cooling costs

If that’s the case, it’s time to replace your old AC unit. There’s a chance that the system is undersized or incompatible. Or, you might be a candidate for a modern AC system with cutting-edge innovations like variable speed technology and zoning system.

Is your current AC mismatched?

When you installed your current air conditioner, which unit did you replace? The indoor or outdoor unit? Well, some people tend to replace only one unit, particularly when part of the system is functioning well.

Although this can save you money in the beginning, replacing only the air handler or the condenser unit can lead to a system mismatch. We can compare this to an old couple—these units were not designed to be compatible, meaning they will cause you a lot of problems down the road. Typically, a mismatched system has reduced efficiencies and tends to break down frequently. So, if your old air conditioner is mismatched, it’s time to replace the entire system.

Are you looking for some rebates or incentives?

The experts from Hartman’s air conditioning repair company agree that old air conditioners consume a lot of energy and are not as effective as new units. Moreover, there are no amount of repairs that can restore an old AC to its original performance. Because of this, most AC manufactures, government authorities and power companies offer incentives or rebates towards purchasing AC units with higher efficiency. So, when deliberating on whether to repair or replace your old air conditioner, check whether there are any rebates or incentive programs available in your region. Please note that these programs vary from company to company and from region to region. However, they can save you a lot of money when purchasing a new AC unit.