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Should I repair or replace my air conditioning unit?

Some types of air conditioning repair just involve making a simple fix, after which your system will resume running effortlessly smoothly. On the other hand, with more serious problems you may find yourself faced with a question – should you invest time, money and effort in repairing your system, or would it be money better spent on a brand new unit?

Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy answer, and you’ll always need to make a cost-benefit analysis before you settle on a decision. As part of this cost-benefit analysis, you’ll need to think about not just what problems it’s experiencing at the moment, but what issues it might be likely to suffer from in future. There are also some key questions you should ask yourself along the way, to help speed you towards a decision. We’ve listed some of the most helpful below!

1. What’s the nature of the current problem?

This is one of the most obvious factors that’ll affect your decision regarding whether to repair or replace your unit. How serious is the current issue, and how expensive or complex will it be to fix? Bear in mind that some problems can sound more serious than they are, especially if you have limited experience in working with air conditioning units. Loud rattling noises can sometimes be solved with easy fixes, and many electrical units can be solved similarly quickly.

On the other hand, if an issue develops with the unit’s compressor, it’s worth at least sizing up the cost of a new unit, just to be on the safe side. The compressor is a critical component, so if it ceases to be useful, that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the unit.

2. What’s the general condition and maintenance history of your unit?

Essentially, you want to be asking – have any trends emerged in its history of recent problems? For example, a minor refrigerant leak can be a one-off problem that’s nothing much to worry about. However, a series of successive refrigerant leaks can quickly start to take their toll over time. Multiple leaks and corroded coils on an older system can be very time-consuming and expensive to fix.

broken air con unit

With that in mind, could any of its recent problems have been related to each other, and could you draw any conclusions about your system’s overall condition from that? Don’t forget to consider how well it’s recently been performing overall. You’ll want to consider the magnitude and cost of recent repairs, and any other performance issues you might have noticed.

3. How much has it been costing you?

This is naturally a key question that you’ll need to be able to answer. You may find your unit has been becoming increasingly inefficient. Sometimes you might be able to trace this back to recent repairs, whereas other times you might find it’s becoming inefficient despite not having had any. Obviously, this is where you’ll want to start thinking about the cost of new air conditioning units. After all, if you’re incurring higher bills, the lost money will have to be considered alongside the cost of any repairs.

Once you tally all that up, you might find that your air conditioning unit is a lot more expensive than you first thought it was. If you’ve noticed a long-term pattern of problems, as per our last section, you’ll also want to ask yourself how expensive, collectively, have those issues been? It’s worth keeping a calculator to hand, as once you’ve got the current cost of your air conditioning unit, you’ll want to start comparing that to the cost of new ones. Don’t forget that while they may require a sizeable initial investment, you can quickly recoup this with the long-term savings you’ll start making.

4. How old is your current air conditioning unit?

If the costs come out more or less even, you can narrow down your decisions further by thinking back to when it was that you first got your air conditioning unit. The lifespan of the average air conditioning unit is about 10 to 15 years, so if yours is approaching the twilight stage of its operating life, you might be well-advised to start considering getting it replaced rather than repaired.

5. Are there any dangers with your current air conditioning unit?

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth including anyway. Exceptionally old or poorly-maintained air conditioning units can sometimes pose tangible human health risks. Examples can include leaking refrigerant, or spreading contaminants that can cause diseases like respiratory tract infections. If you have reason to believe that your air conditioning system could be posing these sorts of risks, it’s something you should get seen to immediately. If your HVAC technician can’t guarantee that the system will be safe going forward, then you’ll want to consider replacement of your unit as an option that’s firmly on the table.

That’s where we can help here at Askews. We have over 25 years of experience in the HVAC industry, and over all that time we’ve been delivering high-quality expertise and services to help individuals and businesses take care of their property and staff.  You can click here for a free quote on air conditioning maintenance, or call us on 01282 863 825!

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