Air Conditioning Systems: When to Repair vs Replace?

Apr 12, 2021

It Can Be Difficult to Determine the Best Point of Action for your Struggling HVAC System

With another hot, dry summer on the horizon in the Tri-Cities, now is the time for us to think about how our AC units will fare against the oppressive heat of the desert starting in a few short months. Knowing this, the last thing you want to do is put off maintenance on your HVAC system and then find yourself with little or no relief from the heat this summer. 

But if you have experienced having to do numerous repairs on your air conditioner in recent years, how do you know if it’s a better option to replace vs repair your AC unit? Are there well-established criteria to make that decision?

To be clear, in most circumstances, an air conditioner can be repaired. But at some point, it becomes more financially prudent for you to just replace it with a new air conditioner. 

So while there is no set list of criteria that will help you decide whether to ditch or save your AC unit, there are considerations that will make the decision easier. In this space, we will present some helpful guidelines as you prepare to make the important decision of pursuing repairs or a replacement for your air conditioner. 

Repair vs Replace: When It’s Time To Repair

The AC Unit is Less Than 10 Years Old

An AC unit typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If your air conditioner is only a few years old and needs simple, straightforward repairs, it makes sense to hold onto it. 

The AC Unit Has Been Well Maintained

If your air conditioner has been taken care of and you’ve done regularly scheduled maintenance, you are likely to experience fewer mechanical issues. Repairs should be isolated incidents if you have properly cared for your unit. 

Your AC Unit is Still Under Warranty

Remember that your manufacturer’s warranty covers the cost of parts, while a labor warranty – provided by the original HVAC installer – will take care of the labor costs for repairs. If your manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect, the repair it needs might be covered. What’s more, if your labor warranty is still valid, the repair could very well be at no cost to you. 

The cost of a repair is still considerably reduced if your manufacturer’s warranty covers parts even though the labor warranty has expired. For repairs, you only need to pay for labor costs, making the repair a much more affordable option than a replacement. 

Repair vs Replace: When It’s Time for an AC Replacement

If Your AC Unit is Older than 10 Years

You need to consider the age of your air conditioning unit, and probably opt for a replacement if your unit is more than a decade old. Being that AC units usually last 10 to 15 years, replacement is a wiser choice when an older unit is in need of repairs. Doing the replacement now helps to prevent surprise failures when you need your air conditioner most – in the summer and early fall. 

Your Unit Requires Frequent Repairs

It is not unusual to sustain more frequent repairs when your AC unit is in its final few years of service life.  This is a sign that a replacement is warranted. 

If Your AC Unit Can’t Keep Up

If the occupancy and usage of your living spaces have changed over the years, your air conditioning system’s capacity and ventilation design may no longer be adequate. Even if you repair your AC unit, you could still be facing temperature variances and even air distribution issues. Other signs of trouble include hot and cold spots, humidity problems, odors, and reports of “sick building” symptoms from occupants. If all or some of these situations exist, you’re better off with an AC replacement. 

Your System Uses R-22 Freon Refrigerant

As of January 1st, 2020, no new R-22 (Freon) refrigerant can be produced or imported. This means you only have the option of recycled refrigerant for system repairs. Being that there is a limited supply of refrigerant on the market, the costs for recycled refrigerant are very high. 

So, when you need an AC unit repair that involves recharging the air conditioner’s refrigerant levels, you should vie for a replacement with a unit that uses R-410A refrigerant to avoid steep prices. Also consider that if your air conditioner relies on R-22, that means it was built prior to 2010, and is already aging fast.

Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning for Expert Maintenance of Your HVAC

If you’re having trouble determing whether you should choose repair vs replacing your HVAC system, look no further than the experts at Apollo to ensure your energy system is in excellent condition and operating at optimal efficiency so you can stay cool and comfortable this summer.  Our experienced team of highly trained technicians will work with you and exceed your expectations during HVAC  repairs and AC unit replacements and repairs.

Apollo field technicians will work closely with you in deciding what HVAC system is the best, and tailor it to fit your unique needs and preferences!  We are committed to delivering premium quality HVAC service, maintenance, products, and documentation in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and beyond! 

Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).