Summer can be the most active and fun time of the year in terms of the outdoors, but after all that running around in the heat, being inside an air-conditioned home is one of the big rewards after the fact.
And, for those who don’t like the heat at all and want to be comfortable during the hottest days, reliable AC is essential. So, when an existing system starts to sputter, can’t continue to produce cold air, and just puts out tepid temperatures, it may be time to consider a serious response. However, is the system so far gone that it needs to be entirely replaced, or does it just need the right repair to keep going for a few more years? The fact is, most people don’t really know one way or the other until a professional repair service shows up and runs a diagnostic. Even when the system fails to start, it can easily be a fuse issue versus an actual failure of the system entirely.
The most common AC repairs have to do with either the generation of the cold air that an AC is supposed to provide, or the distribution of it. In the former case, the mechanics of the AC are either the culprit or there has been a freon leak. A leak is more likely when there is a total loss of cooling ability. A condenser or similar failure occurs when there is no leak, but the AC isn’t functioning or producing sufficient pressure to move the cold air out to the duct system. Either way, a trained technician is needed for the repair, and it will probably involve the replacement of parts, but the system as a whole can be sustained and continued to be used once the repair is applied.
A full system replacement happens when there is a catastrophic failure of the AC unit in total. This is actually rarer, and a full replacement typically occurs more often because a homeowner is replacing the entire HVAC system for a newer, better one. In fact, loss of AC through torn or failing ductwork is more likely than a burned-out AC unit.
Replacing an AC
Every mechanical system grows old over time, and it loses its efficiency. That loss ends up requiring more electricity to function, which at today’s utility costs end up resulting in larger utility bills. While this might be a few tens of dollars every month, it adds up quickly and becomes hundreds and then thousands of dollars over time as the problem continues to get worse. When an old AC system just isn’t efficient anymore and is burning up utility dollars to produce tepid cooling, it’s more than time to replace it outright with a modern, new unit.
Modern AC systems are typically 10 years or newer since the original system was installed in most homes, and that means there are more than likely significant technology upgrades between the two versions. A good amount of sensors and computer controls have been added in the last ten years, making today’s models extremely responsive to controls and sensing when cooling is needed for the most effective performance.
Additionally, some local utilities and governments periodically offer incentives and cash rebates to replace old appliances. These offers can dramatically change the price tag on an AC replacement versus a repair.
Reaching a Decision
So, if you’re at the point of deciding whether to repair or replace my air conditioner, the best step is to bring in a professional AC service first to do a full review and give you all your options. You might be surprised by what’s possible, both in terms of repairs to keep the old one going as well as your options for a new AC system replacement with today’s choices.