Repair or Replace? What to Do with Your AC Unit

The middle of summer is usually the time that most people have issues with their air conditioning unit. Maybe it's several years old by this point, or maybe it's just not working properly for some other reason. If it's on the fritz, you're probably wondering if it's better to hire out air conditioning repair or simply replace the entire unit altogether.

Fortunately, you don't have to make this decision alone. This brief guide will show you when you're better off getting an AC repair, and when it's better to replace it completely. 

1. How Old Is Your Unit?

A well-maintained AC unit should last anywhere from 12–17 years, and will most likely need a few major repairs in its lifetime (e.g. compressor going out, more refrigerant, etc). If you're approaching the tail end of its life cycle, you'll probably notice you're hiring out air conditioning repair more frequently, at which point you should seriously consider just putting the machine out to pasture and investing in a new, higher-efficiency unit.

2. How Much Are the Repairs?

Air conditioning repairs generally aren't as expensive as other repair jobs you may hire out in your home, but if the bill comes in at more than half what the unit is worth, you should replace it. You'll save more money in the long run by replacing the unit and letting the repair costs fall under the new warranty, instead of hiring out AC repair every few months.

3. How High Are Your Energy Bills?

Typically, you should be able to expect to pay the same amount of money every summer to cool your home. If you've examined your energy bills and notice that the costs have gone up every year (while the price from the energy company has stayed the same), then that means your unit is working harder and harder to operate efficiency. You should call an AC repair tech to work on your unit but ask them if it's better to get a new one.

4. Is Your Unit Safe?

"Safety" is a word usually reserved for garage door and water heater repairs, not your AC unit, but it's still something to think about as you consider hiring out AC repairs. A cracked heat exchanger could let carbon monoxide trickle into your home; if that's the case, you need to have an air conditioning repair company fix it pronto, if not replace the unit completely.