Repair or Replace Your AC: Making the Right Choice

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When to Repair or Replace Your AC

Published by Derek Cormier

Oh, no! Is something wrong with your air conditioner? Florida summers are no joke, and if your air conditioner is struggling, or not working at all, you are probably having a very rough time.

One of the things you might be wondering is whether it’s worth it to keep repairing your AC unit, or if it’s finally time for a new one. We’ve got some facts you can use to help make your decision.

Important Factors to Consider

While we can’t give absolute recommendations from the comfort of the internet—a technician can provide a more reliable assessment of your specific air conditioner in person—we can tell you that there are three main things you should be considering as you decide whether or not it’s time to replace your AC unit.

  • Age: A central air conditioner should still be pretty reliable up to at least ten years of age. It may keep working well for up to fifteen. Do keep in mind, though, that these lifespan estimates are based on air conditioners that are professionally maintained every year. If you haven’t been a stickler for getting maintenance every single year, the air conditioner isn’t likely to last as long, and if you’ve never had maintenance done, it might only live for half of that projected lifetime.
  • Cost of Repair: Have a technician give you a professional estimate of the cost of the repair that your air conditioner needs. Is it a small repair, not likely to cost more than a couple hundred dollars? Or is it a major repair that makes you wonder whether you’d be better off putting that kind of money toward a new unit?
  • Frequency of Repair Needs: If your air conditioner hasn’t needed any extremely expensive repairs, but has needed repairs at least once a year for the past few years, do keep in mind that those costs add up, and as your AC unit ages, those repair needs will likely get more frequent.

The main thing to do here is to weigh the three factors together. A costly repair might be the best choice for a relatively new air conditioner that hasn’t had frequent problems. Even an inexpensive repair might be a poor investment if your air conditioner is getting old and breaking down regularly.

The 5000 Rule

If this all still seems too vague, there is a way to break it down into simple numbers. The 5000 Rule is a way to mathematically calculate the balance between the cost of a repair and the age of an air conditioner.

Here’s what to do: multiply the age of the AC unit (in years) by the cost of the repair it currently requires (in dollars). If your answer is under 5,000, the repair is likely a good investment. If your answer is over 5,000, you might be better off purchasing a new unit.

For example, if your five-year-old air conditioner needs a five hundred dollar repair, you should get AC repair in Vero Beach, FL because 5×500=2,500. If your twelve-year-old air conditioner needed that same repair, you should get a new air conditioner because 12×500=6,000.

New AC Options

Many things have changed in the world of air conditioners in the past decade or so since you last purchased an air conditioner. New innovations have made major strides in cutting energy use, so you won’t pay as much for cooling as you have been. We’d be happy to give you all the information you need about your options so you can find the cooling system that’s the best fit for your home and your family.