electrician,Installation, Repair
Written by Walt Meyer

How to Decide Whether to Replace or Repair an Air Conditioner – Part 1

The hot and sunny days of summer are on their way, and it’s time to think about your air conditioner that was not working well during the sweltering July 4th Weekend last year. There are several factors that can help you decide whether to repair or replace your old A/C unit. Call an experienced and licensed electrician before you get started on this project. 

Basic Considerations

Professionals say your unit’s age and how frequently your existing air conditioner has needed repairs are the major factors in determining whether to repair or replace your unit. Perhaps you hired a technician to refill the refrigerant of a 15-year old machine a few years ago, and now the HVAC unit has completely stopped working. You may get quotes up to $4,000 for a replacement and $500 for a repair without a guarantee. Someone who lives in sunny coastal San Diego may decide to forego sinking any money altogether, because the hottest and coldest days in the region are survivable. However, for places like the Northeast and the Southeast, this may not be an option because of much higher humidity.

HVAC technicians believe that the heating and cooling unit’s age is a very important factor in your decision making. A simple formula for making a repair/replace decision for A/C units is something called the 5,000 Rule. You take the age of the unit and multiply it by the cost of the repair. If the result is greater than $5,000, it would be wiser to replace the air conditioner.

Example: 12-year-old unit with a $300 repair estimate = $3,600. It should be repaired, rather than replaced.

Energy Efficiency

Current developments in air conditioning technology are significantly improving the energy efficiency of HVAC units. The federal government’s EPA Energy Star standards advises upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit when your central air conditioner has passed 10 years of service. However, HVAC techs usually recommend the replacement of units that are more than 15 years old, which is a year more than the average lifespan.

Part 2 will cover refrigerant replacement and other factors.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.