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Air Conditioning Repair vs. A/C Replacement: What You Need to Know

When it comes to a breakdown of your home’s cooling or heating system, there can be some confusion between whether or not you want a repair or a full replacement. For many homeowners, this decision comes down to money, and what they feel comfortable with when the time has come to upgrade. In reality, there is a big difference between repair and replacement, and each decision has its pros and cons.

The decision to repair or replace depends on the age of your system, why it broke down or started working inefficiently, what the needs of your household are, and what your needs in the future will be. Many homeowners will keep repairing something to put off a full replacement, which isn’t always the wisest investment of time and money. There is a time and a place for both repairs and replacements. Take a look below to learn more about what each option means for your home, your wallet and your unique needs.

Air Conditioning Repair

When your air conditioning stops working, there could be a number of reasons. An air conditioning professional will diagnose the problem and advise you on how you should move forward, taking into consideration the following factors:

Is your system a newer system?

Repair is usually the wisest financial choice for a newer system. Make sure to find out if your newer system has a warranty and what the stipulations are for using it. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems older than a decade should be replaced. Every system can last much longer than that, but after 10 years, many older systems begin to quickly lose efficiency, costing you money on your energy bill.

Are you planning on moving anytime soon?

If your system isn’t working very well or if it breaks down and you are planning on moving out very soon, you’ll want to discuss with a real estate agent if repair or replacement is the best option.

The 50/50 Consideration

If it costs you less than half of the system’s value to repair, this might be a wise option. However, discuss with your air conditioning professional if this repair will continue to need to be made (meaning – does the issue point to a bigger problem, such as age or air quality?), and if so, if a full replacement will actually save you more money.

Standard Maintenance

Many systems are neither old and run down nor brand new and perfectly efficient. Some air conditioning units and heating systems run perfectly efficiently for the needs of your household and have never broken down. However, each unit needs routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance and affordable energy efficiency. Routine maintenance is one of the best ways to catch issues when they just need to be repaired – not replaced, saving you time and money.

Air Conditioning Replacement

Frequent breakdowns

One way to know if your air conditioning unit or heating system needs to be replaced is how often it breaks down during peak use. If your A/C frequently breaks down or underperforms during the summer, have your air conditioning professional find out what could be causing this. Frequent repairs will often cost you more than a full replacement.

Frequent and Noticeable Noise

A system that is overexerting itself to cool or heat your household is one that often starts to get noisy. Routine maintenance can help bring down the noise factor, but noise can also indicate issues that could possibly result in replacement.

Age of the unit

Again, age plays a big factor in whether you replace or repair your home cooling system. If your unit is more than a decade old and repair costs are 50% or more of the system’s actual value, replacement could be most financially sound choice.

For furnaces, every older system should be replaced – especially if the system was installed in the 1970s. Furnace efficiency is measured by Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. Furnaces from the 1970s have a rating of only around 60% – today’s have a rating of nearly 97%.

Taxes

Sometimes a full replacement provides homeowners with beneficial tax incentives. If you upgrade to a unit that’s more energy efficient, you may qualify for saving a lot of money both on energy bills and taxes.

Ecological Concerns

A full unit replacement can help you upgrade to a unit that is more energy efficient, causing your home to have a smaller carbon footprint.

Air Conditioning Repair vs. A/C Replacement

There are many factors that determine whether replacement or repair of your home’s cooling system is the right choice, but it’s best to speak with an HVAC professional to understand what your unit can do and what your home truly needs. Remember, a replacement could be a good option if you are planning on saving energy within the next few years, but repair could be a good option if your unit isn’t old.

Your decision to repair or replace your air conditioning unit depends on how much and how frequently you will be using your system in the next few years, as well as what you determine your needs will be financially.

Contact your local heating and cooling professionals in Phoenix to receive an inspection of your current unit and learn how you should move forward.

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