Memorial Day is behind us, we’ve enjoyed the year’s first BBQs and little league seasons are in full swing. You’ve probably also finally had a stretch of hot days that made you switch on your air conditioner and leave it running. Notice any strange knocking or groaning noises? Spot a worrying leak? Does it feel like one room is cooler than another? Any one of these could leave you wondering if it’s time for a new cooling system or if you can squeak by on repairs for a few more years. Ultimately, every homeowner is king of the castle, and you need to make your own decision. But, here are some factors to consider:
Age Isn’t Just a Number
You can in good faith (and with proper maintenance!) get 20+ years out of your furnace, but even the best air conditioning units are only built to last 10 to 12 years. If you’re nearing the end of that time period, expect frequent repairs with an inevitable purchase on the horizon. It’s better to research and plan ahead than to make a quick decision during an unbearable heat wave.
Take a Long, Hard Look at Your Repair History
In an A/C’s final years, the frequency of repairs tends to increase. Yet for some, choosing to repair rather than replace may still be the better short-term solution. According to Consumer Reports, you should consider the cost of a new cooling system. If repairs total more than half of that number, it’s time to go shopping. If the repair estimate is less than half of that cost, call your favorite tech to schedule your repair!
Does Your System Use R-22 Refrigerant?
The EPA is currently phasing out R-22 refrigerants (aka Freon) in favor of more environmentally friendly options. This is great for the earth but bad for your wallet since the R-22 scarcity has jacked up costs. If you need a leak repair and your system uses R-22, you could pay as much as $175 per pound of refrigerant… which could turn your repair cost into a 4-digit number. (Bonus tip: If you have a leak, your compressor is likely on its way out, too, and that’s a hefty repair.)
Efficiency Is Everything
Did you know that your heating and cooling system accounts for as much as 50% of your home’s energy usage? Upgrading to ENERGY STAR@ approved equipment can lower your energy bills by as much as 30%. If you’ve noticed an increase in your monthly bill, a new high-efficiency A/C may be just what you need. If you do buy, check with your local utility company – many offer rebates when you upgrade to high-efficiency equipment. You should also ask your accountant about possible state and federal tax credits.
You’ve Made Recent Home Improvements
Speaking of efficiency, you may have already invested in other areas of your home that affect your cooling system. If you’ve upgraded your windows, roofing or insulation, you’ve probably significantly improved your home’s ability to retain that comfy, cool temperature you want. It may be time to go with a smaller A/C unit with lower operating costs.
Putting Your Home on the Market?
In Northeast Ohio, the age of a home’s HVAC system is one of the top buyer concerns, perhaps second only to the condition of the roof. While a new cooling system won’t necessarily increase your property value, it can be a leading deal-breaker for interested buyers. If you have an older system, buyers may even negotiate a lower price based on the fact that they will need to make this major purchase in the next few years.
The decision to repair or replace is a personal choice, but a second opinion never hurts! Contact us if you’d like one of our helpful technicians to give your A/C a tune-up and discuss its current condition.