Knowing whether it's a better value to repair your HVAC system or to replace it can be confusing. The price of parts and technician labor over multiple breakdowns can add up, making it more practical to purchase a new unit. This is especially true in a climate like ours where air conditioning is practically a necessity and units are constantly in use. A number of factors should be considered when making the decision to invest in a new AC installation.
Replacing HVAC System Or Repair It
How Old is Your Unit?
The age of your HVAC unit is one of the biggest factors to determine whether it's worth repairing. A good guideline when making your decision is the 5000 Rule in which you take the estimated cost of the needed repair and multiple it by the age of your unit in years. If the answer is more than $5000, you should probably invest in a new one. Something else to think about is upgrading to a more efficient system. If your HVAC unit is more than 10 years or older, according to Energy Star, you should opt for a new energy-efficient one.
Consider the Cost of Refrigerant
You probably have a coolant leak, if your unit needs additional refrigerant. This can be quite costly. Adding R-22 refrigerant, or Freon, can run between $40 and $175 per pound. Between the cost of refrigerant and the repair of the leak, you're likely looking at a total price of between $550 to $1000, depending on coolant rates. In addition, once a leak occurs, it's common for the compressor to go out soon after. A compressor costs around $2000 to replace, which is why experts recommend replacing a unit that develops a leak. You should also be aware that R-22 is expensive these days due to the fact that it's no longer required for units made after 2010. In fact, it's expected to be phased out all together by 2020.
You should consider some other factors when weighing your options. Is your unit as efficient as it used to be? If your home doesn't seem to be as cool as it should be, your unit is probably not working at maximum efficiency. This will also be reflected in your energy costs. Take note as to whether your bill has increased. Also, take a look at the number of repairs you've needed recently. An energy-efficient unit should save you about 20 percent yearly on your utility costs.
Give us a call at The Cooling Company to discuss your air conditioning needs.