Repair or Replace Air Conditioner, Which One Is Better?

During the hot, dry Sacramento summers, your home’s AC unit is essential. It keeps your home cool and you and your family comfortable. So, when it starts to get up there in age, you may wonder whether you should continue to repair it or get a whole new system.

There are numerous factors that determine whether it’s better to repair or replace your AC unit, including its age, its energy efficiency, and its condition. Fortunately, the pros at Bell Brothers are here to help you choose the best option.

Important Considerations

How Long Are You Staying at the Specific Home?

If your current home is your forever home, there’s no reason you can’t replace your AC unit as soon as the time comes. If it’s older or struggling with constant repairs or inefficiency, it may be a smart investment to simply spring for a brand-new one.

But, if you’re planning to move to a new home in the near future, it’s smart to just hang onto your current system until the time comes. You might however want to consider replacement if you’re dealing with expensive repairs all the time, or its condition could affect the sale of your home.

How Old is My AC Unit?

Your AC unit is built to last between 10 and 15 years, or more with good maintenance. It’s a big investment, but one you can rely on for a good period of time.

If your AC unit is under 10 years old and has good efficiency and performance, it’s best to keep it as long as you can. A few minor repairs are small compared to the cost of upgrading to a whole new system.

If your AC unit is over 10 years old, however, or needs constant repairs, it makes good sense to replace it with a newer and more efficient model. The upfront cost is high, but it may outweigh the cost of high energy bills and ongoing repairs.

What Are the Costs of My Energy Bills?

AC units have come a long way in recent years. All AC systems have a SEER rating to determine efficiency. Systems that were built in the 90s only needed a SEER rating of 10, fast forward 20 years  and modern systems are now SEER rated at 20.

If your energy bills are going up, whether gradually or suddenly, it could be due to an outdated and inefficient AC system. In this case, it may be best to spring for a replacement AC unit for better efficiency, rather than hanging onto the old one and paying high energy bills.

There are other factors can impact your AC unit’s efficiency such as its size, condition, and overall performance, all of which can increase your energy bills.

Does My Current AC Meet My Needs?

It’s vital to choose the right size AC system for your home’s size and cooling needs. Try to get a system that’s as close as possible to the appropriate size.

If your unit is too small, it will have to work harder to keep your home cool, taking a lot of abuse in the process and still failing to keep your home comfortable. Likewise, a unit that’s too large will use more energy and take more stress, while also failing to dehumidify your home properly.

So, if your unit is not the right size for your home, it’s best to consider replacing it. An incorrectly sized unit will only increase your energy bills and experience more frequent problems.

If you’re not sure the best size for your home’s AC unit, the pros at Bell Brothers can help! We’ll evaluate your space and energy needs to determine the appropriate unit for you.

When You Should Repair

An AC unit is a big investment for your home, and one you hope to have for a decade or longer. It makes sense to get small repairs and annual tune-ups to keep it going as long as you can.

In general, repairs are a good option if your unit is newer, and the repairs are minor. HVAC professionals use the “$5,000 rule” as a guideline to see if a unit should be repaired or replaced. To use this, multiple the age of your unit by its estimated repair costs. If the answer is less than $5,000, it’s more cost-effective to repair your current unit.

When You Should Replace

The $5,000 rule applies to replacing your air conditioner as well. If the age of your unit multiplied by the repair estimates exceed $5,000, it’s more cost-effective to get a brand-new system and ditch your old one.

Keep in mind that small repairs can add up over time. If your unit is having a lot of component failures or breakdowns that need minor repairs, that can quickly exceed the cost of a new option. Don’t buy into the sunk-cost fallacy – upgrade your unit and save yourself the hassle.

Are you looking for AC replacement, repair, or maintenance in the Sacramento and East Bay areas? Contact the pros at Bell Brothers to schedule your appointment!