Is your AC unit on the fritz? With summer fast approaching, having a fully functional AC unit to cool your home is essential for indoor comfort. But if your unit is currently nonfunctional or less efficient than usual, it can be difficult to determine whether repair or replacement is the best course of action. While replacing your AC unit is likely the most appropriate choice for long-term performance, it’s a significant investment. Repairing the unit, on the other hand, can yield comparable results, depending on its age and remaining lifespan.
At Metro Express Service, we’re committed to helping homeowners better understand their air-conditioning and heating options. To help you make the most informed decision for your needs, we’ve outlined what you’ll need to consider when determining whether to repair or replace your air conditioner. And, as always, any time you need expert advice, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us!
How Old Is Your AC Unit?
When determining whether to replace or repair your AC unit, your first consideration should always be the unit’s age. Most AC units have a lifespan of 10-15 years, so if yours is approaching the end of its life, replacing the unit is usually the best course of action.
Over time, all AC units become less efficient, meaning they slowly lose their ability to effectively cool a building. Older AC units generally have lower seasonal energy efficiency ratios, which you’ll see as a SEER rating somewhere on the unit. For example, today’s minimum SEER rating for AC units in Texas is 14. Years ago, it was 10 or 11.
The higher the SEER rating, the better the unit’s ability to efficiently cool your home. And in our Texas climate, where AC is absolutely essential, you’ll want your air conditioner to have the most up-to-date SEER rating possible.
Bottom line: If your unit is old or has a SEER rating under the minimum recommended ratio, it’s time to replace your air conditioner.
How Often Are You Paying for Repairs?
Has your AC unit already undergone repairs? Are breakdowns a frequent occurrence, or is this the first or second time the unit needs professional attention? An air conditioner that requires frequent repairs typically signals the need for replacement.
If it’s continually operating loudly, failing to adequately cool your home, or completely breaking down, consider having a new unit installed. If major system components such as the condenser or the compressor fail, it’s probably a good idea to replace the unit for lasting performance.
One thing to note: If your unit frequently under performs and you’re not currently scheduling routine AC maintenance appointments, now is the time to start. Preventative AC maintenance goes a long way toward sustaining the life of your unit and promoting high-quality, long-term performance.
Are AC Unit Repairs a Cost-Effective Option?
How much is it going to cost to repair your AC unit? If you’ve already had repairs, how much have you spent so far? Though repairing your unit may initially seem like the more wallet-friendly course of action, in some cases, it’s not. And, if you’re continually paying for repairs, the combined cost of those repairs may actually exceed the cost of replacing the AC unit.
So how do you determine if repairs are a more cost-effective option than an AC replacement? Here’s the general rule:
- Determine the cost of repairing the AC unit. You’ll need to acquire a service estimate from a professional AC repair specialist for an accurate cost breakdown.
- Multiply the cost of repairs by the age of the AC unit in years.
- If the resulting sum is greater than $5,000, replacing the AC unit is the more cost-effective choice. If the sum is less than $5,000, it’s generally better to opt for repairs.
AC Efficiency: What Do Your Energy Bills Look Like?
Have you noticed a consistent increase in your utility bills over the past few months? Does your AC unit struggle to adequately cool your entire home? If so, these are both signs that the unit’s efficiency is steadily decreasing.
Depending on the age of your unit, it may contain R-22 refrigerant, which has become outrageously expensive over the last few years. Though topping up the refrigerant can help increase the efficiency of older units, doing so can often be a considerable expense. In such cases, it may be prudent to consider replacing a struggling AC unit with a more up-to-date model.
Furthermore, newer AC units contain multiple efficient features, such as variable-speed motors, smart thermostat compatibility, and others, which are designed to improve overall performance and longevity.
Bottom line? If your unit is approaching the 10- to 15-year mark, has required multiple repairs, or is really struggling to cool your home, replacing the unit is the most cost-effective and lasting course of action.
At Metro Express Service, service and quality are our number one priorities since 1987. Our technicians and support specialists are experts when it comes to determining the best course of action for our customers’ heating and cooling needs. We offer 24/7 emergency service as well as financing options for qualified customers, so when you need an expert team you know you can trust, make us your first call.
To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, give our team a call at 817- 516-0700 (Arlington/Fort Worth) or 972-263-2500 (Dallas/Dallas County).