Should I Repair Or Replace My Home Cooling System?
A central air conditioning unit is a big investment for any Suffolk County homeowner – but it’s not designed to last forever.
In fact, while the average lifespan of a central air conditioner is typically 10-15 years (assuming it has been professionally serviced by a qualified HVAC contractor along the way), the last few of those years is a period when replacing your cooling system might make more financial sense (given the efficiency improvements) than repairing problems that arise.
When to replace your A/C
How do you know when it’s time to replace your central air conditioning system? Start by asking these three questions:
- How old is your current system? Even a well maintained A/C will lose efficiency over time – as much as 20 or 30 percent efficiency, in some cases, once your equipment enters its second decade. If you’re having frequent problems with an older system, replacing it is often the smarter choice. With a younger system, you will have a tougher decision, but here’s a rule of thumb: if a repair costs 50 percent or more of the replacement cost, it’s generally worth it to upgrade.
Another factor to consider in the repair/replace discussion is refrigerant: older home cooling systems used environmentally damaging Freon (known in the industry as R22), which as of January 1 of this year is no longer being produced. As sources of R22 become more scarce, the refrigerant is becoming more expensive. New central air conditioning units feature safer, EPA-compliant R410A refrigerant.
- How is your current system performing? Have you noticed that your cooling bills are rising even though your usage has remained relatively constant? Is it harder than usual to keep your home at a consistent and comfortable temperature? Does your home not cool as quickly as it once did? These could be signs that your central A/C is on the decline.
Two other signs to look out for are excessive noise and dust. If you’re constantly seeing dust in your home – even after cleaning – there’s a good chance you have leaky ductwork. Those leaks compromise the performance of your air conditioning system, which means your bills will rise; a new A/C installation will address this problem (if you’re not ready to upgrade your cooling system, professional duct sealing could be a good option for you).
- Has my cooling load changed? If you’ve added space to your Suffolk County home without changing your home cooling system, the next breakdown you have could be caused by pushing your A/C beyond its comfort zone – a problem that is likely to recur if you keep your old, undersized system in place. Another option? Add a high-efficiency mini-split air conditioning unit to your home addition to take some of the load off your main unit.
When A/C repairs make sense
As you can see, there are often significant advantages to replacing an older cooling system. So is repair ever a viable option?
- Your system is less than five years old
- You plan to move
- The repairs are minor and unlikely to recur
- New rebates and efficiency incentives have been announced but not yet implemented
- You can’t afford a new system
A central air conditioner is an investment – and like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money. When it comes time to make your choice, be sure to call the pros at Swezey Fuel.
Not sure if you should repair or replace your A/C? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today and we will help you find a solution that meets your needs and budget. For air conditioning installation in Suffolk County, NY, trust the pros at Swezey!