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Pros & Cons: Repairing AC Unit Vs. Cost To Replace Air Conditioner

It can be a tough call: Repairing AC unit vs. cost to replace air conditioner. The professionals are here to help you weigh the pros and cons.

Ah, the age-old conundrum (well, at least the age of air conditioning): repairing AC unit vs. cost to replace air conditioner. If your AC unit is broken, you are likely deciding between repairing your air conditioner or replacing it. Generally speaking, the cost to replace an air conditioner is more than the cost to repair an air conditioner. But the choice requires more consideration than how much you want to spend today. In this article, we’ll look at all of the factors HVAC professionals use to make a judgment call: replace or repair an AC unit. Ask yourself: How old is my AC? Is my air conditioner energy efficient? What is my air conditioner SEER rating? How complicated is home AC repair? Now you’re thinking like a pro!

How Long Do AC Units Last?

How long AC units last can vary, but for the most part, AC units last for 15-20 years. Of course, routine maintenance from trusted professionals will ensure that your air conditioner goes the distance (in other words: the better care you take, the longer it will last). Although some air conditioners work for up to 20 years, it is generally recommended to replace your AC unit after 15 years. Planning ahead will save you the frustration of a broken air conditioner in the height of summer. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised at your monthly energy savings when you replace an old air conditioner.

What’s Involved In Repairing an AC Unit?

Repairing an AC unit can be a complicated job! Home AC repair is a delicate process, and one best left for HVAC professionals. The first step for a broken air conditioner is to diagnose the problem. This could be a variety of different issues, including (but not limited to): a broken drain tube, a broken drain pump, replacement drain pans, a drain line flush, a replacement AC compressor, or an AC refrigerant leak. Then, there’s the matter of actually addressing the problem — without disrupting any other parts! Is home AC repair sounding more and more confusing? There’s a reason it’s called HVAC; that stands for “Heck! Very Annoying and Confusing.” (We’re kidding, of course. Here’s what HVAC means.

What’s the Cost to Replace an Air Conditioner?

The cost to replace an air conditioner is, on average, around $4,500. The price for replacing your AC unit ranges from around $2,500 to $7,500. SEER air conditioners cost more than their low-efficiency competitors (A high SEER rating means your air conditioner will be more energy-efficient, and will function at optimal levels. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the number the lower the cost to operate, like miles per gallon for your car.) Of course, the cost to replace your AC also varies on the scope of the job, the size of your home, and the condition of the existing ductwork, wiring, and infrastructure. This all adds up to a lot of decision-making: It’s smart to hire a professional to do an AC repair vs. AC replacement cost estimate.

Replace or Repair an AC Unit: What Should You Do?

Replace or repair an AC unit: Unfortunately, there’s no one “right” answer for everyone. But here are a few guidelines the professionals use. Answering these questions will help you come to the best choice for you.

  1. What is the age of your AC unit? If it is more than 15 years old, it is probably a good idea to invest in the cost of replacing your air conditioner. However, if your AC unit is just a few years old, it will pay to repair it. Plus, it may still be under warranty.
  2. Is your current AC unit energy-efficient? An energy efficient air conditioner will save you loads over the long-term. If your current air conditioner is so old it kept the dinosaurs cool, it is recommended you replace your air conditioner. The cost to replace an air conditioner may be greater than repairs, but you’ll see the financial return on your monthly energy bill.
  3. How extensive is the damage? Some home AC repairs are simple and straight-forward (although we always recommend bringing in a professional for the job). But if the problem is very large, the cost of repairing an AC unit could be more than you had originally budgeted. Work with a trusted HVAC company to determine an estimate for AC replacement vs. repair, and make an informed decision together.

The choice is yours: repairing AC unit vs. cost to replace air conditioner. Ultimately, the best decision is the smartest financial investment, and one that keeps you cool for years to come.

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