Whether you’re getting ready for summer in Charleston, SC, or you’re stuck in the middle of it, heat management should be your primary concern. When you decide that it’s a good idea to flip your thermostat to “cool” and your AC doesn’t comply, it can be frustrating. You’ll ask yourself the difficult question, “Should I repair or replace?” It’s a simple question with many nuanced answers.
Depending on the condition of your unit, AC repair might give you a few more years of performance. Or, you might be wasting your time when a replacement is necessary and imminent. In this article, we’ll answer some questions to help you figure out when you should repair your AC and when you should get a new one.
How Old Is Your AC?
AC units don’t last forever. Typically, an AC unit will last about 15 years. If you’re lucky and have done a solid job maintaining your system, you might get 20+ years out of your unit. Once your AC starts reaching this age, repairs are a much more serious consideration. At this point, you’ll want to avoid an AC repair and opt for a new installation as the risk of frequent repairs is much higher. If you have a newer AC, a repair is likely the most cost-effective route.
Another consideration when discussing age is the type of refrigerant in your system. Older systems may contain R22 refrigerant, which is illegal to produce in the United States in 2020. That means that R22 reserves are limited and will not be replenished. Because of this, if your AC needs R22 refrigerant to operate, a refill can be prohibitively expensive if you can acquire a supply at all. In this case, it would be cost-effective to get a new AC.
The 5,000 Rule
Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and get an ac repair.
Is an Expensive Component Damaged?
Specific components can be costly to repair. That is if you can even fix them. And sometimes you can’t! For example, AC compressors are incredibly difficult to repair, which means replacement is often the only option. A compressor replacement might run you over $2,000. Other components, like the evaporator and condenser, also see very high replacement costs. If any of these components are damaged and require replacement, you might want to skip the AC repair and consider a replacement unit.
Are Your Energy Bills Spiking?
Modern AC units have high energy efficiency ratings, otherwise known as the unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER rating). These rations generally range between 13 and 21. The higher the number, the better. However, if your AC is damaged or you haven’t maintained it regularly, its efficiency can drop significantly. You might notice a sudden increase in your energy bills. When you see any unexpected discrepancies in your statement for the month, you should get an HVAC professional on the line for an AC repair.
Have You Noticed Any Strange Smells?
A damaged AC unit can produce several foul odors that can permeate your home and disturb your sense of smell. Any smell that is different from the natural smell of your home should concern you.
However, if you smell fumes, mildew, rotten eggs, or burnt scents, something may be seriously wrong with your unit. In these cases, a repair is most likely necessary.
Does Your AC Make Strange Noises?
If you’re hearing unusual noises coming from your unit, take note of the noise(s) so that you can describe it (or them) to your HVAC technician. Buzzing may indicate that something is loose, refrigerant is leaking, or your compressor is malfunctioning. Screeching or squealing sounds may indicate loose or disconnected internal components that will need repair.
Does Your AC Evenly Cool Your Home?
If your AC unit isn’t producing cold air, or if it isn’t providing even cooling throughout the home, something may be wrong. If certain rooms aren’t cool while others are, there may very well be a blockage somewhere in your system.
R-22 Can Influence Your Options
If an A/C unit requires additional refrigerant it signals there’s a coolant leak.
Topping off a system with R-22 refrigerant, known as Freon, costs as much as $40 to more than $175 per pound — which may also include the cost of the service call. Fixing the leak and putting in several pounds of refrigerant can cost $550 to $1,000, HVAC pros say.
Repairing a leak, adding refrigerant, and replacing a compressor can cost about the same as buying a new, low-end unit.
R-22 prices, meanwhile, have soared in recent years due to the EPA’s eventual phaseout. AC repair professional manufacturers stopped making units “charged” with R-22 in 2010. Production of R-22 ended in 2020.
R-410A, a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, has replaced it.
AC Repair Near Me in Charleston, SC
If you’re in Charleston, SC, and you need the best local HVAC repair, you can rely on the team at AirMAX Heating & Air. With our 20 years of industry experience, you can trust our veteran technicians to thoroughly inspect your equipment, pinpoint the problem, and explain in detail all of the steps necessary to fix it.
You can trust our team to make the necessary repairs and explain all costs up-front before work begins. How can we help you today? Give your AirMAX experts a call today. Alternatively, send us a message using our online form. New customers can receive a one-time discount on their first service! We look forward to hearing from you, and the opportunity to serve you and your home or business.