All About AC Repair Daily

Should You Fix or Replace Your Air Conditioner

Jun 10

Your existing air conditioner will serve your home wonderfully ... till the day it doesn't. When this takes place, you'll call out an HVAC service technician to your home, expecting a quick fix of a part within your air conditioning system

Your strategies are changed, however, when the HVAC service technician tells you that the a/c requires a significant repair.

When this takes place, you have a big decision to make: repair or replace your existing cooling system? How do you understand which is the very best choice for you and your home?

We're going to assist you choose by walking through several essential aspects that need to go into a decision to repair or replace an A/C unit. By the end, you'll have the confidence that features comprehending your alternatives, as well as costs and risks associated with them.

The Length Of Time Air Conditioners (and Parts) Last?

First off, your a/c unit might have broken down simply a couple of years after it was installed, or thirty years after it was set up. Understanding not simply the unit's age however the average life expectancy of a system is essential.

A common A/C system lasts about 15 years. We enjoy stating that a well-maintained system needs to last you 20+ years, and it should! But the first key to that durability is keeping it well-kept with routine service. It's likewise true that the average life expectancy of individual a/c unit parts can be different from the system as a whole.

Let's break those down for a more detailed look, before going over how much each significant element costs to repair your HVAC system.

A/c don't simply die, but there are certain elements of every HVAC maker that will have a greater failure rate, offered normal operating conditions. As an air conditioner ages, these parts will start to deteriorate and fail. These tend to be some of the bigger components that are more labor-intensive. An excellent HVAC repair technician will be able to talk about the condition of each of these parts.

The major components of an A/C unit

The compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and the electrical system is also a big part of any HVAC system, which assists other components like the capacitor, contactor, and fan motors do their tasks.

Depending upon the devices, there may be other control parts also that play a major function in the functioning of a cooling system.

The Compressor

The compressor sits within the a/c unit and pumps the refrigerant to and from the heat exchanging parts, the indoor and outside coils. It has both electrical and mechanical parts to it. Compressors can last anywhere from 12 years to 20+ years.

I have actually been an HVAC field professional for over 15 years. I have actually even seen compressors that were over 40 years of ages and still pumping! They usually stop working in one of two ways: they get an electrical short or they internally lock up. The majority of last in between 15-20 years. A/c compressors can hardly ever be fixed.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator/indoor coil sits either on top of a heating system or on the within an air handler. It takes in the heat from your house and after that sends it on to the compressor. A lot of evaporator coils today are made of copper, aluminum, and steel. They will generally begin to leak refrigerant as early as 12 years, however the majority of times in between 15 and 20 years.

Condenser Coil

The condenser/outdoor coil comprises the external wall of the air conditioning unit. It gets rid of the heat that the evaporator soaked up within. Condensers traditionally have a very low failure rate, and for that reason have a longer typical life-span. Having to replace an outside coil is unusual, but the cost is roughly the same as an evaporator. We'll discuss particular expenses later on in the post.

The smaller components still play a huge function in how the air conditioning unit runs. The contactor turns the system on and off. In property homes, 240 volts pass through it. It tends to get burned in time and the metal gets pits on the surface from the operation, which can prevent electrical flow.

The capacitor assists to regulate the electrical flow. The electricity comes through as a single line, but the speed isn't regular. The capacitor functions as a second line to which the inbound electricity can rate itself, like a running mate. The troubles that you get with these are typically connected to other problems that cause the air conditioner to run for extended periods. Severe heat, dirty coils, and low refrigerant prevail perpetrators.

The fan motor draws air across the condenser coil. They can lock up, or the fan blade itself can get bent or damaged. Unclean condenser coils are very hard on these motors. These parts generally last around 10-12 years however can last much longer with correct upkeep.

One final part that should be considered is the refrigerant itself. Older units (10+ years) may include R22. R22 is a refrigerant that has actually been made prohibited to produce in the United States as of January 1, 2020, and has ended up being rather expensive as reserves dry up.

Any unit which contains R22 refrigerant must be seriously thought about for replacement. You might just have a simple repair on your hands at the moment, however as soon as it begins to leak, you will likely not have the ability to repair it.


Accessibility of parts differs. At Fire & Ice, we can find most parts for heating systems that are 30 years or older. Air Conditioners are sometimes harder, however, particularly the refrigerant parts. Anything over 25 years is tough. A good HVAC company ought to have the ability to inform you on the availability of parts for your system, no matter how old the system is. In general, the typical life-span of ac system is around 15 years, though lots of can last longer with good maintenance.

Just how much Does it Expense to Repair an Air Conditioning Unit?

Inform me if this sounds familiar: A mechanic tells you there's a problem with your car, which it might fail before long. If you're anything like me, you'll ask if it requires to be taken care of right away.

The answer to this question is frequently "no," but the mechanic can't guarantee the length of time it will last. The very same is frequently real of HVAC repair.

There are factors to consider when choosing to repair or replace your ac system. Cost is a big one. For recommendation, here are the typical costs of a lot of the elements noted above:

  • Compressor replacement: $2000+
  • Evaporator replacement: $1500+
  • Condenser replacement: $1700+
  • Smaller components: $300-$ 800

Failure of any of these A/C parts can result in a repair vs replace predicament. Next, we'll look at another factor in the expense equation: a/c unit efficiency.

How Effective Is My Existing Air Conditioning Unit?

Your energy costs will be a thorn in your side if your a/c unit is either old or in disrepair. While cleaning and upkeep by a certified service technician can assist, some signs of age, consisting of efficiency, can’t be fixed without a complete replacement.

Air conditioning performance is measured by what's called a SEER Rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It's an estimation of heat removed relative to the energy taken in by the system.

Think about it like miles per gallon in a car. The more efficient it is, the much better the mileage.

SEER ratings begin at about 8 and go up from there. While there is no maximum, the most effective whole-home air conditioners typically run in the 20-25 SEER range.

In the 1990s, it was needed that brand-new A/C systems be at least 10 SEER. This went up in 2006 (13 SEER minimum) and once again in 2015 (14 SEER minimum, or 14.5 in the southwest area of the nation).

What this indicates for you is that the older your existing system, the most likely it is to be inefficient relative to a brand-new cooling system. This has a direct result on your electrical usage and energy bill.

Importantly, SEER isn't the only element of performance. The frequency of expert upkeep, proper quantity of refrigerant, and condition of the electrical parts all add to your system's effectiveness also.

Appropriate sizing likewise plays a big function in the energy usage of the system, the air conditioner need to match the requirement of the house as closely as possible. If the system is too large, you will draw more electrical energy than you should when running and will not correctly dehumidify. If it is too small, it will run much longer than it must and will have a hard time preserving the set temperature. Sizing problems must almost always lead to a replacement. A great HVAC contractor will appropriately size your home, doors, and windows to make sure that any brand-new system is the right size for your home.

If your electrical bill is higher than you desire it to be, changing the system can certainly help. It is necessary to have a sense of just how much it can assist, however, so that your expectations are close to accurate. An experienced HVAC agent will be able to quantify your savings over a duration of years, based on the efficiency compared to your current system.

A great HVAC company will inform you all the details on your present air conditioning unit, how you can enhance its efficiency, and about greater performance units, even if you aren't taking a look at replacement right now.

The Length Of Time Will You Be Staying in your house?

What if you're only visiting those cost savings for a year or two? The cost savings you see as a result of performance might not suffice to validate a new purchase if you're aiming to sell your house.

If you plan on remaining in the house for a long period of time, say 3 or more years, most people tend to lean towards a replacement for a number of reasons:.

  • A brand-new system suggests your costs will decrease instantly.
  • You will not have to stress over repairs any time soon.
  • New systems generally include a warranty of 10 years. Typically, these are transferable to a brand-new owner if you offer the house.

This doesn't suggest a replacement is without cost, even beyond the expense of the new system. Warranties tend to cover parts, but not labor, though extended labor warranties are also available through most HVAC professionals.

Alternatively, if you are not intending on being in your home for long, then a repair might be a better choice. It's almost a certainty that you'll invest more on the setup of a new air conditioning system than you would be able to get back on an increase of the home sale price because of it. If your system is older, however, it might deserve the replacement, since house buyers will often indicate the age of an A/C system and request a decrease in your home's cost.

There's no "one size fits all" solution, as you can see. Which is why the decision is ultimately a personal one. An excellent HVAC professional can assist you, though, which results in our next topic: your convenience requires.

Does My Existing Air Conditioning System Meet My Requirements?

Beyond expense and age, ask yourself these questions:.

  • Does my a/c dehumidify your home well?
  • Is the A/C loud or does it vibrate?
  • Is the air conditioning system too near to a deck or other feature in the backyard that is preventing other tasks or is generating noise?
  • Is the A/C unit an eyesore?

These might not constantly be pertinent factors in a repair v. replacement choice, however they can be depending upon your circumstance.

The answer to those questions can result in various solutions. For instance, if your house is too humid, a new air conditioner might be the option. Nevertheless, you might be much better off with a whole-home dehumidifier. As with any of this, a well-informed HVAC agent can stroll you through your choices, but it's likewise important to know about each ahead of time.


Sound is another problem. Almost any component can affect sound levels. It could be low refrigerant, a somewhat bent fan blade, loud electrical parts, or a loud compressor. Each of those parts can be replaced, however the expense must be weighed versus the other aspects listed in this short article.

If it's just a single part that's causing the sound, a repair might be your best bet. If it's system-wide, nevertheless, more recent systems tend to run much quieter than their older equivalents.

I have actually even had customers inform me their brand-new system isn't running effectively, just to learn that it's simply a LOT quieter than their old system!

Place can affect sound as well, especially if the A/C system is near someplace you collect, like a deck or patio. In some cases, a brand-new system that's moved even a couple of feet around a corner, far from a deck or other function, and the noise subsides substantially. Moving a system can be a challenge and a risk, particularly with an older system, but it's yet another choice for a thorough HVAC company.

Last but not least, years of rust and wear can make your system a sore sight to look at. Lots of house owners take pride in their whole home, and want HVAC devices that matches the care they take with their backyard and home. While this is a visual consideration, not one related to the operation of the air conditioning system, it can still matter.

Benefits of Replacing My Air Conditioning System

Though there are plenty of times that it makes sense to repair a system, the advantages of changing need to be taken into consideration as well. These advantages include:.

  • Less tension from the old system.
  • Greater efficiency, and therefore lowered expense, from your ac system.
  • Your house will be more comfortable.
  • You'll have a long-term service warranty for parts and potentially labor.
  • The system will likely run quieter.
  • A brand-new system will look better.

These advantages may help you make your decision. Either way, however, they'll exist when you do choose to change the air conditioning system.

So, Should I Replace or Repair My Air Conditioner?

Being a service manager, I always take pleasure in getting a system up and running to its maximum capacity. In some cases, though, it simply does not make sense to do a repair when a replacement makes more sense.

I always ensure that my customers have complete control over the decision with all of their options laid out, however a truthful HVAC specialist will likewise provide their opinion to ensure you have their expert evaluation.

When it boils down to it, though, it's completely approximately you whether you want to repair or change your air conditioning unit. You must never ever feel pressed one way or another. An excellent HVAC service technician will recommend and educate you on your choices, and possibly offer you their opinion, but should never utilize pressure methods to do more than that.

An appropriately repaired and preserved system can last you decades. A brand-new cooling system can bring benefits that an older system does not have. Each choice will be individual, however having the right tools and information to make your decision is the first step in making the ideal call.