We’ve already had some stretches of hot weather this year, and the summer has not even begun. If your air conditioner isn’t working, you’ve probably already discovered that the hard way. Maybe you’ve noticed that it isn’t cooling as efficiently as it has in the past, or it’s making unhappy noises. In any event, if you’re wondering whether or not to repair or replace your air conditioner, here are a few simple questions to ask yourself.
How Old Is It?
With all major appliances, it is good to practice the 50% rule: if it has reached over half of its life span, and the repair would cost over half of its new counterpart, it is best to replace it. Air conditioners usually last between 15 and 20 years, according to EnergyStar (a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program). As the unit ages, more and more issues develop, so if your unit is 8 years old or older, you should consider replacement. Of course, age alone should not be the determining factor.
Does It Use Freon?
As of January 1, 2010, the EPA banned the manufacture of air conditioners that use R-22 Freon because its use is compounding the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. Because of this, Freon costs are increasing significantly. If your air conditioner uses Freon, eventually you’ll need to replace it to make the switch to the new R410A refrigerant. It’s most likely a good time to consider a replacement if your unit is breaking down or has problems associated with needing more Freon.
How Often Is It Breaking Down?
If your unit is breaking down a couple of times during the cooling season, it might make sense to replace it before the break downs become more frequent. Inevitably, it will cease functioning when we’re in a stretch of 90+ degree weather, and if that happens repeatedly, your whole family will be not only hot, but irritated. When your air conditioner needs frequent service calls, the repair costs add up quickly, too.
What’s Its Energy Efficiency?
If your air conditioner is broken, it’s time to consider its energy efficiency. Obviously, if it still uses R-22 Freon, it’s over 11 years old, and you can rest assured that it’s wasting a lot of energy. The new models are incredibly energy efficient. Models today have an Energy Efficiency Ration (EER) of 13 or 14 and a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 19 or 20. If your air conditioning unit has numbers below those, it’s costing you more than it needs to.
How Much For a New One?
Investigate the cost of a new air conditioner; you may be pleasantly surprised. Remember that you need to factor in the savings you will realize with a new unit, both in your electricity bill and repair costs. The experts at Quality Heating can help you explore all your options, and find an air conditioner that works with your budget and your family needs.
A non-functioning or malfunctioning air conditioner can create a lot of problems during our hot and humid Wisconsin summers. When your air conditioner breaks down, you should think about whether it’s worth it to repair it, or whether replacing it would be a better idea. Consider all angles of the problem, and if you’re interested in any advice, the professionals at Quality Heating, your family-owned HVAC specialists serving Southeastern Wisconsin, are happy to help.