AC Replacement or Repair? Everything You Need to Know

ac replacement

You turn your thermostat over to cool. You set your desired temperature. You wait a couple of minutes and nothing happens. 

It’s clear to see your air conditioner is on the fritz. The question you have now is, should you repair it or replace it? That depends on a number of factors, all of which we’re going to review below. 

Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about AC replacement and AC repair

Signs of an AC Impairment 

There are several signs that indicate AC impairment. The most common of these signs include the following. 

Short Cycling

Short cycling is the phenomenon wherein an AC’s cooling cycle lasts for only a short time, generally less than 10 minutes. Short cycling not only causes energy efficiency issues, but it also places undue stress on the AC. 

What causes short cycling? A number of things. These include but aren’t limited to low refrigerant, thermostat malfunction, and an improperly sized air conditioner condenser. 

In most cases, short cycling can be fixed with a cost-effective repair. Note, however, that replacements are sometimes needed. 

Refrigerant Leaks

Is there a strange liquid pooling on the ground by your AC condenser? If so, it’s likely refrigerant, the liquid needed to facilitate the air conditioning process.

When refrigerant leaks out of an AC system, it’s generally because the refrigerant line has been punctured. Fortunately, in most cases, fixing this problem requires nothing more than a cheap repair. 

Slow Functionality

Does your AC take minutes to fire up every time you make a thermostat change? If so, it is likely suffering from a problem of some kind. Generally speaking, ACs are meant to react within 30 seconds of changes being enacted. 

The cause of slow functionality? There are a number of them. Some of the most common include dirty evaporator coils, a poorly wired thermostat, and a bad sensor. 

In some cases, this problem can be corrected by a simple repair. In other cases, replacement is the more viable option. 

Strange Noises 

Air conditioners can make a bevy of strange noises, all of which are a cause for concern. These noises can come from a variety of different components and can indicate a variety of different problems. 

For instance, squeaking noises are generally coming from broken or worn down motors belts. Conversely, banging noises are generally coming from impaired AC condensers. 

While all of these noises can be fixed, some of them require more expensive repairs than the others. And depending on the age of the AC in question, they could even signal the need for a replacement. 

Regular Repairs 

If your AC is being repaired on a regular basis, it’s almost certainly at the end of its rope. At this point, you would probably be better off having it replaced than to have it repaired once again. Not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll also get to do away with the stress of worrying about the problem. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

Another key in deciding between a repair and a replacement is in asking yourself a few relevant questions. These questions include the following. 

Is your AC Over 10 Years Old? 

If your AC is over 10 years old, and if it has incurred a major problem, a replacement might be the best solution. Conversely, if your AC is under 10 years of age, a repair would probably be the best option. 

Air conditioners tend to last around 15 years. So, the closer it gets to 15 years of age, the higher the chance that it will shut down for good in the coming years. 

Are You Retiring Soon? 

Inching toward retirement age? AC giving you trouble? If so, you should think about replacing it. 

The last thing you want to spend your limited retirement income on is AC repairs. The better option would be to spend one large sum upfront, allowing you to avoid repairs over the next decade or so. 

Are Your Energy Bills Increasing? 

Do you notice that your electric bills are substantially higher than they used to be? If so, your AC is probably to blame. In all likelihood, it has incurred a mechanical problem and isn’t offering the same level of efficiency as it used to.

Unfortunately, once the efficiency has gone, it’s hard to get back. The only viable option is to install a new unit.

Modern ACs are the most energy-efficient in the history of AC technology. So, while they can cost a bit to install, they’ll generally pay themselves off over the years. 

Are Repair Costs in the Same Ballpark as Replacement Costs?

One last question to ask yourself is whether the costs needed to repair the AC are in the same ballpark as the costs needed to replace the AC. If they are, a replacement is the best option. 

There’s a common formula used to determine whether this is the case. This formula is (cost of repairs)x(age of AC). If the product of these two figures exceeds replacement costs, replacement is recommended. If the product falls below replacement costs then repair is recommended. 

Let’s say that an AC is 8 years old and requires a $1,000 repair. Let’s also say that a replacement costs $6,000.

In this case, a replacement would be recommended. Why? Because the replacement cost of $6,000 falls below the repair cost of $8,000. 

If the AC were only 4 years old, a repair would be recommended. This is because the replacement cost of $6,000 would exceed the repair cost of $4,000. 

In Need of AC Replacement or Repair?

In need of AC replacement or repair? Located in the Aiken, South Carolina area? If so, we here at Aiken HVAC are the people to see. 

Our team of HVAC specialists has repaired and replaced countless AC units throughout the Aiken area. Regardless of your AC needs, we can accommodate them. 

Contact us now to schedule an appointment! 

John Daner

John Daner

HVAC Technician with 12+ years in the field.