You should use an air conditioning repair company when...
- Your unit is relatively new
- The cost of repair is less than half of the unit's value
Generally, most air conditioning repair company technicians will suggest you repair a unit, rather than replacing it, if the cost of repairs is less than half of its value. Other technicians swear by the 5,000 rule. This method requires you to multiply the age of the equipment by the cost of repairs. If that number exceeds $5,000, you'll probably be better off replacing it. No matter which technique you use, you should repair it if it makes more financial sense (or cents) for your situation.
- Your unit is older and/or uses R-22 refrigerant
If you have central AC and own an older home, you may need to consider replacement for a few reasons. Around 20% of homes built in the 1980s have AC equipment that's 20 years old or more. Not only is this equipment not energy efficient, but it means that repairs will cost you a lot more. That's certainly the case if your unit uses R-22 refrigerant. Fixing coolant leaks and topping off R-22 levels can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In many cases, it's much more economical to install a new system than try to repair an outdated one.
- Your bills keep increasing
If you're paying more and more in energy bills every month but your utility company hasn't increased their rates, you may do well to replace your system entirely. Oftentimes, older units will come along with higher bills due to decreased inefficiency, so this point does go hand-in-hand with others listed. But if you notice that your energy consumption seems to increase from year-to-year (or even month-to-month) without making any changes on your end, repairs may not be sufficient enough.
If you've purchased a unit within the last few years, it's likely going to be more cost-effective to repair it. New units likely have greater energy efficiency and are going to be easier to repair, in general.
You should replace your unit when...
Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace your unit is yours to make. But your air conditioning repair company can be a great source for information. With their assistance, you can make a choice that works best for your budget and your family's needs.