Photo By Dean Drobot at Shutterstock
Most people who have an issue with their AC conditioning unit prefer AC repair to AC replacement for obvious reasons. A repair is a much more economic choice, except for when it’s not. Everyone wants to save money but sometimes the best choice you can make is to replace a unit that keeps failing you and leaving you out in the hot Irving, TX sun. After all, never knowing when your AC will break down and cost you more money in AC repair is also not helping to keep your budget stable.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of things to consider if you are weighing the costs of one more repair versus replacing the unit altogether. Weighing each of these factors can help you decide the best way to really save money in the long run. In addition, we have included a list of common signs that it may be time to call an HVAC company. If you notice your AC exhibiting any of these issues at the very least you should give us a call so we can schedule a tune-up before you are faced with an inconvenient and sweaty shutdown situation.
Age of Your Current Unit
The largest factor that will play into the next three factors when you start thinking about AC replacement is the age of your current unit. Every single thing that you weigh while deciding if replacement or AC repair is the better option will be added against the age of your current unit. A newer unit is worth putting some money into because you expect it to last for many more years, but a unit that is over ten years old is probably not worth tossing any more money into.
The simple truth is you don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars and then still need to replace your entire unit in a couple of months when the next thing goes wrong with it. Keep in mind that replacement under your terms is always better than an emergency replacement when you have to wait until an HVAC company has time to install it and the unit to be available for delivery.
In addition, sometimes if you are concerned about the bottom line the smartest thing you can do is replace a uni that is over a decade old. While the unit may still be functional, there is a very good chance that it is not very energy efficient which means you are spending more money than you need to on your monthly energy costs. Most older units have very low seasonal energy efficiency ratios because the requirements were different a decade ago and technology has advanced quite a bit since then. When you add up how much you will spend over the next year in just extra energy costs without factoring in additional repair costs, it may start to make a replacement model look a little better.
Finally, if you have a unit that is only halfway through its lifespan, but is facing major AC repairs then instead of debating the matter anymore just pull out the 5,000 rule. This rule basically dictates that you should take the age of your current AC unit and then multiply it by the AC repair cost estimate. If the total exceeds $5,000 then it is time to bite the bullet and replace your unit in order to save yourself some grief in the future.
Current AC Unit Efficiency
We talked briefly above about the energy efficiency of your current AC unit. In order to get a better idea of what you could potentially save you need to get a better idea of how efficient your unit is right now. As mentioned, if the unit is more than ten years ago then it is a very good bet that you are wasting money on energy costs, and given the higher costs in Irving, TX you don’t want to spend a dime more. Some signs that your unit is wasting energy on a regular basis include if your home doesn’t feel cool, even though it runs frequently or if it seems like your AC is always on.
This process is actually called rapid cycling and is a sign that your AC unit is no longer able to keep your home cooled effectively. After a cycle, your AC should be able to stay off for a while, but if it immediately turns back on this is an indication it never really managed to cool off your home. In this situation, you are likely way overpaying on energy bills and it is a smart idea to skip future AC repairs and just trade in your model for a newer and more efficient AC.
It is estimated that newer units can help people save a few hundred dollars a year in energy costs compared to models that are over ten years old. In addition, a lot of have some cool features and bonus technology that can improve the air quality in your Irving, TX home. Given the state of the last year, everyone can appreciate better air quality within their home. Some of these extra perks include smart thermostats, variable-speed motors, and built-in dehumidifiers. If you are the type of person that likes to have cutting-edge gadgets, this could be very appealing to you.
On the other hand, if you like the idea of improved efficiency but are just not ready to take the financial leap of installing a new system, then you might consider adding a few features the next time you call for AC repair in Irving, TX. Something simple like a programmable thermostat can help make your system much more efficient. In this case, you can turn the AC down when you are not home and then have it set to automatically lower itself to a cooler temperature by the time your family comes home at the end of the day. Just moving your AC into the 80s during the day can help save you a lot of money, and if you aren’t home to be uncomfortable there is no reason not to. A lot of people also set programmable thermostats to turn up the air while they are sleeping – since they are less likely to notice and it won’t affect the quality of their sleep.
Finally, one more bonus that you could add to the existing AC system during your next AC repair is a built-in whole-house dehumidifier. In Texas, the biggest problem next to heat is humidity, which is why a dehumidifier can be a great solution to staying cool and comfortable in your home. Less humidity in your home will also reduce potential property damage and mold growth which can protect your personal belongings and save you money down the road once again. As a bonus, dehumidifiers help you feel cooler in your home and improve the overall efficiency of your AC system.
You Have Had A Lot of Frequent AC Repairs Lately
As a homeowner, you are going to have to call for AC repair at some point in your life. This is even more true in Irving, TX because your AC system is going to get a lot more use compared to someone that lives in a cooler environment. However, there is a limit to how many times you should have to call for repair visits. If you have had to repair your AC system more than two times this year then it is time to start thinking about replacing your unit.
It should be noted however that this does not count your annual tune-up, because any repairs made during the tune-up are actually beneficial to you. The purpose of the tune-up is to find problems and fix them before they actually cause your system to break down. If you haven’t already scheduled your annual tune-up then you should do it right now before the real heat of the season starts and you have a hard time finding an available HVAC tech.
However, if even your tune-up is not enough to save you from breakdowns and AC repair then it is time to take action and talk to an HVAC tech about air conditioning installation. Outside of frequent breakdowns, if your AC is not properly cooling your home or is very loud then you also need to think about replacing your unit. At the very least you should call for a tune-up and inspection and let the HVAC company offer you some advice about whether the time has come for your AC unit.
Seek Out Advice from a Trained HVAC Service
On that note, if you are unsure of whether or not you need a new AC unit or can get by with AC repair for one more summer the best person to turn to is a trained HVAC repairman or woman. A lot of people blow repair costs out of proportion and are pleasantly surprised to find that the major noise that had them nervous actually required a very minimal repair. Before making any major decisions you need to speak with an HVAC technician and see what is really wrong with your unit.
They can not only troubleshoot the current problem, but they can look at the condition of your AC unit as a whole and offer you an educated opinion. Keep in mind that their opinion is just that, and you are free to opt for AC repair or installation on your own, but it can be useful to hear from an expert before making your final decision.
The HVAC technician has years of time and experience working on older AC units and can take multiple factors into consideration a lot easier than you when giving you their opinion. You can even hire an HVAC tech to perform an energy assessment on your home to see how efficient your current system really is if that is a consideration in your final decision.
Signs That It Is Time for AC Repair
Not everyone needs to replace their unit, especially if their HVAC system is only a few years old, but just because it is newer doesn’t mean it won’t need AC repair at some point in the near future, a few signs that it may be time for HVAC repair include:
Lessened Air Flow
If you notice that the amount of cool air coming out of your air vents is reduced, then you will need to call someone to come look at your compressor. It is either a clogged air filter, compressor issue, or a problem with your air ducts and you will want to solve it immediately.
Air Is Not Cool
If your AC is basically working the same as your home fan function, and only lukewarm air is circulating around your home then you need to call an AC repair company for help.
As discussed earlier, rapid cycling is when your AC repeatedly turns on and off. Not only will this cost you more money, but it will increase wear and tear on your machine and cause it to age prematurely.
Any Type of Odd Noise
This one is simple, your AC system should never make ANY type of noise. If you start to hear odd noises you need to call for AC repair right away.
Along the same lines, you shouldn’t smell anything weird either. Burning or electrical smells are especially dangerous and actually require an emergency HVAC visit.
If you notice one of these issues in your Irving, TX home or need some expert advice about whether you should repair or replace your AC unit, give One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas a call.