Written by Larry Cook

Deciding to Repair or Replace an Air Conditioner – Part 1

The hot and sunny days of summer are on their way, and it’s time to think about the health of your air conditioner. There are several factors that will help you decide whether to repair or replace your old A/C unit. Remember to consult with an experienced and licensed electrical services company before you start this project.

Basic Considerations

Professional Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians state that the age of a unit and how frequently your unit has required repairs is a major factor in determining whether to repair it or replace it. Perhaps you hired a technician to refill the refrigerant of a 15-year old machine a few years ago and now the HVAC unit has completely stopped working. You may get quotes up to $4,000 for a replacement and $500 for a repair (without a guarantee). Someone who lives in sunny coastal San Diego may decide to forego sinking any money altogether, because the hottest and coldest days in the region are survivable. However, for places like the Northeast and the Southeast, this may not be an option because of the higher humidity.

A simple formula for making a repair/replace decision for A/C units is something called the 5,000 Rule. You take the age of the unit and multiply it by the cost of the repair. If the result is greater than $5,000 then it would be wise to replace the air conditioner.

Example: 12-year-old unit with a $300 repair estimate = $3,600. It should be repaired, rather than replaced.

Energy Efficiency

Current developments in air conditioning technology are significantly improving the energy efficiency of HVAC units. The federal government’s EPA Energy Star standards advise upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit when your central air conditioner has passed 10 years of service. However, HVAC technicians usually recommend the replacement of units that are more than 15 years old, which is a year more than the average lifespan.

Part 2 will cover refrigerant replacement and other factors.

Electrical Peace of Mind

Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs, including:

  • Commercial & Residential Electrical Installations
  • Marina & Residential Pier Wiring
  • Electrical Service & Repair
  • Specialty Electrical Services

For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. They will be very glad to help you.

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