To Replace or Repair Your AC? — That Is the Question
It’s that time of year when homeowners in the greater Sacramento area are making the switch from heating to air conditioning, and it may have you wondering, “Is my air conditioning system prepared to take on another summer?”
Spring is an excellent time to assess the condition of your home’s AC system. We’re here to help you identify the signs of a cooling issue — and determine whether it’s time for equipment replacement. Here are the top factors you should consider as you assess your existing AC system.
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is 15 to 20 years, though it can be significantly less if it isn’t well maintained. If your air conditioner is less than ten years old, it can usually be repaired without running into issues. If you have an older air conditioning unit, replacement may be the better option — older AC units tend to run less efficiently and utilize toxic or out-of-date refrigerants.
If you want maximum home efficiency and indoor comfort, it’s important to make sure your air conditioning unit is properly sized. Oversized AC units, which are unfortunately common in Northern California, are prone to short cycling and often create high indoor humidity levels. Undersized AC units run constantly and can never keep up with keeping your home cool.
If your air conditioner is properly sized, a repair could help you extend its life significantly. If it’s undersized or oversized, however, now is a good time to consider replacing your unit.
What types of issues does your AC unit have? If it has minor damage, such as electrical issues, faulty ductwork, or blocked drain lines, a repair is usually the right option. If there is more severe damage, such as a broken motor, blown compressor, or damaged condenser coils, your air conditioning unit should be replaced.
The cost of a repair can help you determine whether repair or replacement is the better option. If the repair cost is less than 25% of the cost of a new unit, consider going with the repair. If the repair will cost more than 25% of the cost of a new unit, it’s likely more advantageous to replace your AC altogether.
Be sure to consider the frequency of repairs as well. If your AC system has been repaired less than twice over the last ten years, a tune-up or repair is likely a good option. If your system has needed frequent repairs over the last ten years, it could be time for new AC installation.
Air conditioning units tend to lose efficiency as they age. If your monthly energy bills have increased by more than 10% over the last year, that could be a sign that it’s time for a new AC unit.
It isn’t always easy to assess the state of your AC system. When in doubt about whether it’s time to repair or replace your system, be sure to consult an experienced HVAC professional. California Energy Services offers a wide range of air conditioning services and can help you determine the best option for your system.