To Repair or Not to Repair...
...that is the question. A full AC replacement is no small investment. It's no wonder many people try to put it off as long as possible. But, how can you make a wise decision between repairing or replacing your unit?
A general rule of thumb: if your unit has reached 75% of its life expectancy and requires a repair equivalent to more than one-third the total cost of the unit, in most cases it is better to replace. What are some other factors to take into consideration?
Generally, an AC Unit can last from 12-15 years. However, there are many factors that can shorten the lifespan of a unit. For example, a unit that has not been regularly maintained can break down completely in less than 10 years. If your unit has not had regular preventative maintenance or routine cleaning, you may have to go for the full replacement sooner than expected.
Another factor to consider is the SEER rating, which indicates how energy efficient your unit is. In 2006 a law was passed requiring the old rating of SEER 10 to be increased to SEER 13. That means a 30% reduction in energy needed to run a newer system. The potential savings in electricity bills might be worth the extra fees to install a new unit over repairing your older one. You can check out this savings calculator to see what the savings could be for you.
One final thought, (per current EPA regulations) a new law has gone into effect on January 1st, 2020 with the goal of phasing out the production of R22 (freon). According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institution "supplies of R-22 will become more limited and the price of this refrigerant may increase. This could impact the cost of having your system serviced in the future" If your unit was installed before 2010 it most likely uses R22. While it is not required to replace current equipment using R22, the high cost of the refrigerant may be the tipping point in a decision to repair or replace.