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Should I Repair or Replace My Old Air Conditioner?


In our area, it’s pretty much summer already. You’re going to need to keep cool. Is your air conditioner up for the job? Old air conditioners are more likely to break down and require repair. And when they do, is it worth it to repair them? Or is a new AC unit a better choice?

Factors to Weigh

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a direct, simple answer? If all air conditioners stopped working at the exact same age, so you were never caught by surprise, and always knew when to get a new one? Unfortunately, there are various factors at play, so this answer is different for every situation. Here are the five most important things for you to consider. 

  • Age: The older an air conditioner gets, the fewer years it has ahead, regardless of the maintenance and repairs you invest in. At some point, you won’t want to spend very much money to keep it running. It would be a better investment to replace your air conditioner. A 10-year-old air conditioner is getting quite old. Sometimes, though, they can last 15 years or so.
  • Maintenance: Have you been getting annual professional maintenance on your air conditioner? With maintenance, it will certainly last longer, and be more likely to make it to the age of 12. Without, it will age more quickly. You should consider your 6 or 8-year-old air conditioner extremely old if it has never had professional maintenance.
  • Repair Frequency: We would consider AC repair needs to be “frequent” if they are occurring at least once every year, especially if you’re diligent about maintenance. And once AC problems are getting that frequent, they’re likely to just happen more and more often until the air conditioner reaches the end of its life.
  • Repair Cost: If your air conditioner needs a significant repair right now, and it’s more than a few years old, you’re going to want to carefully consider whether the repair is worth it. You’ll need to get an estimate for the cost of that repair in order to determine whether AC repair in Sterling, VA is the right choice, or if it’s time to replace that AC unit.
  • Efficiency: The efficiency of an air conditioner drops around 5% over the course of a year. Maintenance can bring that efficiency back up at the start of the summer, and then it will gradually drop again. At a certain point, the efficiency just won’t be restored by any amount of maintenance. Also, new systems are more efficient than your ten-year-old AC unit ever was.

How to Weigh the Factors

The 50% rule is one way to estimate whether a repair is too costly to bother with: if it would cost more than 50% of the cost to replace the unit. The 5,000 rule is a little more detailed: if you multiply the age of the AC by the cost of the repair, it’s worth repairing if the answer is under 5,000. If the answer is over 5,000, replace the air conditioner instead.

If you’re still unsure, or you try these methods and your answer is very close to 50% or 5,000, consider the other factors. Is your unit well-maintained, with repairs needed rarely, and still operating efficiently? Repair is the way to go. Is it poorly-maintained, with frequent repair needs, and driving up your electric bill? Replacement is the better choice.

AllTech Services, Inc. is your trusted resource for all your air conditioning concerns. Contact us today!

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