Is it time to Repair or Replace?
Depending on the age of your system, how often it runs and where you live you could be better off replacing rather than repairing it. If the problem is something simple and inexpensive like a failed part you are much better off repairing it. However, if your contractor tells you there is a refrigerant leak or the compressor needs to be replaced you should weigh the cost-benefit options of replacing the whole system versus paying for costly repairs.
You will also need to consider what type of refrigerant your old system has (likely R-22) since it is being phased out in favor of a more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigerant, R410A. It could be more costly in the long term to continue servicing a system with out-of-date refrigerant.
Aside from the unit’s age, a few other signs can indicate it’s time to replace your air conditioner, according to Energy Star. If you answer yes to 3 or more of these signs you should look for the advice of a professional contractor.
1) Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.
Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
2) Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.
Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.
3) Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up.
Your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient.
4) Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.
Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.
5) No one is at home for long periods of the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.
Install a programmable thermostat or have a good contractor install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while you’re away or sleeping.
6) Your home has humidity problems.
Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.
7) Your home has excessive dust.
Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.
8) Your heating or cooling system is noisy.
You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.