When it’s time to decide whether you should go for an AC repair or AC replacement, there are a few important factors to consider. These include how old the unit is, how well it’s working, how efficient it is, and the cost of any repairs it might need.
Understanding the process of replacing an AC unit can help you stay calm and make a plan if your system breaks down on a super hot day. Sometimes, a simple fix and scheduled maintenance can help an older AC unit run for a couple more years.
Signs Your Air Conditioning Isn’t Doing Its Job
There are ways to tell if your air conditioner isn’t working properly, even if the signs aren’t obvious at first. Here are some common signs that your AC isn’t working as it should. If you notice one or more of these issues, it’s a good idea to talk to a local air conditioning contractor to figure out what’s wrong.
- Weird noises or strong vibrations coming from your AC (like squealing, grinding, or grating sounds)
- More humidity in your home than usual
- Your AC breaks down a lot
- Your energy bills go up a lot
- Leaking refrigerant or water
- Problems with your thermostat
- Hot air blowing out of the unit
- The unit doesn’t turn off or won’t turn on
- Uneven cooling in different parts of your home
- Strange moldy odors and burning smells from the unit
- A lot more dust in your house
AC Repair Vs. AC Replacement
Getting a new and efficient air conditioner can be a big expense. So, unless your current unit is doing really badly and fixing it would cost way too much, it often makes more sense to just repair it.
When you’re trying to decide whether to fix or replace your current AC unit, think about these things:
How Old is the AC Unit
Most air conditioners last around 10 to 15 years. If you take good care of yours and get it serviced once a year, it might even last longer.
Here’s a rule of thumb: If your AC is over 10 years old, the warranty is done, it’s causing a lot of problems, or Knoxville air conditioning repair costs are really high, getting a new unit might be better. If your AC is less than 10 years old, works well, and hasn’t had any big issues, repairing it could be a good choice.
How Much are the Repair Costs
If your AC is pretty new, it’s usually not worth replacing it with a new one unless repairs would cost a whole lot. A lot of experts use the “5,000 rule.” You multiply the unit’s age by the repair cost. If the result is more than $5,000, it’s probably better to get a new unit. If it’s less, fixing it is a better idea.
Taking Care of Your AC
Getting your AC checked out every year can help you save on cooling costs. Plus, cleaning it up, changing the filters often, and sealing up air leaks can make your AC last longer.
Refrigerant and the Environment
Older AC units might use a refrigerant called R-22. Since 2020, making this stuff isn’t allowed in the US. So, what’s left costs a lot more than the newer R-410A refrigerant that modern units use. This can make fixing your AC more expensive and harm the Earth’s ozone layer.
Your Energy Bills
Even if you take great care of an old AC, newer ones are just more efficient. All AC units have something called a SEER rating that shows how efficient they are. ACs from the 1990s had to be at least SEER 10. In 2006, it was bumped up to 13, then 14 in 2015. Modern and efficient units usually have a SEER rating over 20.
If your energy bills are going up, getting a new, efficient AC might be a smart long-term move.
How Long You’ll Stay in Your Home
If you plan to move soon, even if your AC is old, replacing it might not be worth it unless it’s really falling apart or repairs are super costly. But be aware, if you’re selling, a poorly maintained old AC could lower your home’s price. If you’re staying put, the peace of mind with a new AC and a longer warranty could be a good reason to get a replacement.
Matching AC System
Indoor and outdoor AC units need to work together to cool your home right. If they don’t match up well, they’ll be less efficient and break down more. If your mismatched AC system keeps causing problems, think about replacing one or both parts so they work better together.
Call J.C.’s Heating and Air now to talk about your AC concerns.
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