Home AC units are more than mere conveniences for most people who live in California. In fact, they’re often seen as necessities when winter draws to a close, and the temperature across the state begins to rise. Most homeowners make ample use of their systems during periods of intense heat and light, but after a certain amount of time, some of them may start to show performance issues. When an air conditioner begins to experience trouble frequently, owners may begin to question the value of keeping their home AC units. Many wonder whether it might be more convenient and cost-effective to replace their systems entirely.
Understanding whether to replace or repair your home AC unit can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. However, numerous factors should inform your decision, so it’s always best to make sure you have all the facts in front of you rather than make a snap decision and regret it later. When you’re thinking about repair vs. replacement, the questions you ask yourself along the way will ultimately be as important as the answer you’re seeking. Keep reading and find out what you should ponder as you work towards your final choice.
When to Repair Home AC Units
Firstly, it is critical to remember that nothing lasts forever. Your home AC unit will eventually stop working, no matter how well you maintain it—or at least reach the point where the costs of keeping it running outweigh the comfort it provides. However, you can prolong the life of your AC unit considerably by arranging for regular professional service on your system provided you own it. While a neglected or poorly-maintained system may give out for good after a couple of years, a well-maintained air conditioner can last for well over a decade.
It is advisable to entrust your AC service needs to a licensed HVAC technician in your area and to engage them in a long-term service contract. Service contracts guarantee that your technician will visit your home once or twice a year and conduct a thorough inspection of your air conditioning system. Depending on the details of your agreement, they will either fix issues as they encounter them (up to a specific value) or identify problems and provide you with estimates for correcting them. The primary benefit of signing a service contract with your technician is that they will become accustomed to your system and its quirks over time. As they grow accustomed your HVAC, you will experience more efficient service and better results from their work. Their long-term support will also lower the likelihood of a significant breakdown or catastrophic failure of your air conditioner, which will help you delay a replacement for as long as possible.
When Should You Replace Home AC Units?
All that said, there are times when your air conditioner will simply be beyond repair. Typically, home AC units begin to wear out around the ten-year mark, although proper service and responsible DIY maintenance can stretch the life of a system to more than 15. If your system is about a decade old and you aren’t sure whether to replace it, one thing you can do is look at your last few utility bills and compare them against the average costs in your area. In most regions, heating and cooling account for slightly more than 40% of a home’s utilities. If you’re paying a lot more than that and you’re using your system responsibly, chances are it has reached an age where efficiency problems are inevitable, and it should be replaced.
Several other warning signs can herald the end of your air conditioner’s usefulness. Have you started to notice excessive noise when you run your system? What about a sudden accumulation of dust during periods when you use the system extensively? If either of these symptoms occurs, it can be a sign that your AC is due for retirement— primarily if you’ve recently performed maintenance or had it repaired.
Finally, try asking your service technician for their advice next time they visit you to perform work on your cooling system. Most licensed HVAC technicians have learned to recognize a system that doesn’t have much time left, and they should be honest with you about the realities of keeping (or replacing) yours. Since most technicians are also capable of providing replacements, they’ll have an incentive to be honest either way.
Repairing or Replacing Home AC Units Should be a Carefully-Made Decision
Air conditioners are significant investments, so don’t let your impulses take over when you’re considering replacement. Keep the above information in mind and make an informed choice that will provide you with excellent value and satisfactory results.