If you have central air-conditioning, and the system doesn't seem to be working as well as it used to or at all, you may be wondering if it's time to replace the system or if a repair will do the trick. If you're unsure which is the right choice, check out these three tips to help you decide.
Check the Age of the System
The age of your air-conditioner should be the first fact you consider when determining if you want to replace or repair your current system. You can expect a central air-conditioner to run for about 10 to 15 years. Therefore, if your system is only a few years old, it's probably a better idea to pay for repairs because the system will still last a long time. However, if the system is older, a repair may be a waste of money at this stage. You may pay for costly repairs this summer and still have to replace it next summer.
Another reason age is so important is that many older systems use R-22 Freon. This substance has been proven to be dangerous to the environment, so the EPA is phasing out usage of this dangerous Freon. What this means for you is that if you have a leak in your system, it can be expensive to fix because the cost of R-22 is rising. Plus, as of the end of 2014, service that involves breaking into the refrigerant circuits is not allowed. So you may not be able to have your unit repaired or have to spend a lot. If your system uses R-22, it's probably best for your wallet and the environment to just replace it.
Just like any appliance, air-conditioners sometimes have issues. You may notice an unpleasant odor coming from the vents. You may hear an unusual noise, such as rattling, grinding or squeaking. Different areas of your home may experience fluctuating temperatures, or the system may completely break down during peak use. When this happens, track the problems and the repairs your system needs.
If you've had the system a while and only needed one or two repairs, it's probably a good idea to simply pay for another repair instead of running out and getting a new system. However, if you are constantly calling the repair technician to fix your system every summer or even multiple times a year, clearly repairs aren't working. The system may be too old, there may be a bigger problem or the system may be straining too hard to meet your cooling needs. If this is the case, why waste your money on constant repairs? It would probably cost less to just get a new system that actually works.
Determine if You Plan on Moving in the Near Future
This may seem a little sneaky, but if you're going to be moving out of your house soon, don't invest in a new air conditioner. You may think that a brand new, top-of-the-line system would boost the value of your home, but it doesn't. There are improvements to your home that don't add value to your home. These are considered invisible improvements. When you are looking for a home to buy, there are some things you just expect the house to have: plumbing, electricity, heating, cooling, etc. You wouldn't pay more for a house just because it has plumbing. Similarly, no one is going to pay more just because you have central-air conditioning.
That being said, failing to have a working system could negatively impact your home. If you looked at a house that didn't have working plumbing, you'd probably pass on it. People who are interested in buying your home may pass if your air conditioner isn't working or if you don't have one. So you do want to make sure your system is working well when you try to sell the house. Hopefully, a simple repair will do the trick.
No one wants to shell out thousands of dollars on a new appliance, and sometimes you don't have to. Sometimes, a repair will work wonders on your air-conditioner. For more information about whether to repair or replace air conditioning units, contact a local HVAC company.