There’s a season for everything, including a time to repair or replace your air conditioner. You want to squeeze every BTU of cooling out of your original investment. Sooner or later, however, return on investment will meet diminishing returns and that outmoded unit will start costing more than it’s worth. The trick is knowing when you’re approaching the tipping point.
Here are a few things to consider before making the call:
- If your A/C is over 10-15 years old, it’s almost a no-brainer. An air conditioner manufactured before 2002 probably has a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 10 or less. Today’s federal minimum is 13. Since you gain between 5 to 9 percent efficiency every time you move up one SEER number, just by upgrading to the minimum standard you’ll conceivably increase efficiency by 25 percent over the old energy hog. You’ll see an immediate decrease in utility bills and a noticeable boost in comfort.
- As the HVAC industry shifts away from ozone-depleting R22 refrigerant, now being phased out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a new system will offer the added bonus of operating on the new and widely available refrigerant formula, R410A. Because future availability of R22 is uncertain and cost may be prohibitive, now’s the time to upgrade to a new high-efficiency system.
- Faced with an A/C that experiences frequent breakdowns, how much money should you sink into it? A minor repair to get you through a season is one thing, but laying out major cash for a new compressor may be false economy. Components in an A/C are generally the same age with the same cumulative wear and tear. If major items have reached the end of their service life, you can expect that other parts such as fans, blowers and coils will require replacement soon as well.
- If your air conditioner just can’t handle the Kansas summer heat anymore, you probably already know it. Rooms that are always too warm, excessive humidity in the house, frequent on and off cycling of the unit and noisy operation are telltale signs.
- Features standard on many units today didn’t exist when you bought your current system. Technology such as a quiet two-stage compressor, the option to circulate interior air without activating the rest of the system and automatic reminders of system maintenance contribute to the added value of upgrading.
Comfort Systems offers more than 120 years of experienced sales and service to Wichita area homeowners. Let us help you in the decision-making process to repair or replace your air conditioner.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about knowing whether to repair or replace and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.