5 Questions to Ask Before Repairing or Replacing Your AC Unit
It’s a frustrating experience: you’ve followed all the maintenance tips you can think of and kept a regular AC servicing schedule, but your AC unit refuses to produce the temperature you need. You ponder whether or not it’s time to replace the system that, up until recently, had served your home faithfully and diligently. A new unit may be costly, but the mounting repairs just aren’t getting any cheaper. Consider these five questions before making the decision to order that next major repair or taking on the cost of replacing the entire unit.
How old is your air conditioning and heating system?
The average lifespan of AC systems ranges from 8 to 12 years depending on the quality of the manufacturer. However, for units older than 10 years, Energy Star recommends replacement due to the advancement of current HVAC technology and the gradual phasing out of older components that are harmful to the environment. Older systems requiring replacement parts can expect higher costs as well due to scarce or hard to find sources. Also, as the age of a system increases its efficiency will continue to decline.
Does your system require the use of the banned refrigerant known as Freon?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned companies from manufacturing new AC units with the R-22 refrigerant more commonly known as Freon. Reducing the impact of ozone-depleting hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) has become critical to the efforts of the EPA and new regulations will ban the use of Freon completely by January 1st, 2020. If your unit is older and requires the use of R-22, the cost of acquiring this refrigerant will increase dramatically over time as it becomes harder and harder to find. New requirements will favor alternatives like the R-410A system that utilizes a non-ozone depleting refrigerant not compatible with existing R-22 systems.
What is the value of the repair that my AC system needs?
Most HVAC professionals will offer the 50 Percent Rule to guide your purchasing decision. This rule states that should the cost of the repair be less than half the value of the system and if repair calls have been infrequent, then the AC repair may be easier on your bottom line. However, if the unit is older and requires a lot of attention from technicians, it may be time to move on. Newer units also offer some tax incentives and will reduce energy costs over the long run. With today’s technology, Energy Star estimates that newer and more efficient AC systems can reduce heating and cooling costs by nearly 20%. These new units will also come with a warranty to help offset early repair visits should they be necessary.
How frequent are your repair calls during peak use?
You need your AC to perform its best when the temperature outside is doing its worst. When peak performance loads frequently shut your system down, it may be time to consider a new unit. Frequent visits from an HVAC professional for repairs can and will outpace the cost of replacing the unit entirely.
How efficient is your current AC system?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings, or SEER, offer an insight into the performance standards of your unit set forth by the manufacturer and government regulations. To understand SEER, imagine that you have one unit of electricity to expend towards generating cool air for your home. A unit with a 10 SEER will generate 10 units of cooling power with that one unit electricity while a unit with a 13 SEER will generate 13 units of cooling power with that same unit of electricity. That’s an efficiency increase of 30% from the 10 SEER unit to the 13 SEER unit.
While these questions may seem daunting at first, consulting an HVAC professional is always a good place to start. Should you have any additional questions, please call American Air Conditioning and Heating today in Port St. Lucie at (772) 398-0023 or (772) 220-1496 for AC services in Martin County.