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Know When to Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner

As the summer heat is starting to hit, and you’re turning on your air conditioning for the first time in several months, you might realize that it’s not working as well as it should. Does your AC unit need repair? Or is it past that point, and you should replace it? Here’s what to consider, and a handy metric for making that determination. 

Evaluating Your Air Conditioner

There are three main factors to keep in mind when deciding whether it’s a worthwhile investment to repair your existing air conditioner.

Age of the System

A traditional central AC unit, as long as it has annual professional maintenance done, should easily live for ten years and perhaps as long as fifteen, continuing to provide the same amount of cooling power at about the same efficiency.

However, the majority of repair needs will come during the last few years of an air conditioner’s life, and at some point, no amount of regular maintenance will keep the efficiency at its peak anymore. An AC unit that hasn’t been maintained will age much more quickly, and might only last 5-8 years

Cost of Repair

Even if you’re still considering replacing your air conditioner in the very near future, it might be perfectly reasonable to pay a small amount for a minor repair so that you’ll be cool while you consider your options. But a very costly repair is probably another story. It’s important to know how much you’re going to have to pay before you decide that a repair is a good investment.

Frequency of Repair Needs

One expensive repair has a clear and obvious price tag. And it might seem that an inexpensive repair also has a clear cost, but if those minor problems are cropping up often, even the cheapest repairs will add up to a very significant cost.

How often would we consider “often” when it comes to air conditioning repair in Boston? If your air conditioner needs to be fixed more than once per summer, that’s too often. And as we said, those frequent repair needs might be due to the unit reaching the tail end of its life. 

The 5000 Rule

The considerations listed above are a little imprecise. Exactly how old is too old? Exactly how expensive is too expensive? We’ve got a very clear metric you can use to make an exact determination. Of course, this is still not as accurate as having your technician give you a prognosis for your specific AC unit, but it may make the repair-or-replace decision easier for you.

Here’s what to do: get an estimate of the cost to repair your air conditioner. Now multiply that number by the age of your air conditioner. If the answer is under five thousand, it’s worth repairing. If it’s over five thousand, it’s time to consider a replacement.

For example, a $500 repair on a five-year-old air conditioner (500 x 5 = 2500)  is a good investment, but an $800 repair on an 8-year-old air conditioner (800 x 8 = 6400) is probably not.

Reach out to Cooling Unlimited, Inc. to speak with qualified AC experts about whether to repair or replace your air conditioner.

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