When to Replace or Repair Your Air Conditioning System

If your air conditioning system has started to require more frequent repairs, your energy bills are going up or your home is getting too hot in the summer, your home might be in need of a new system. However, depending on the issue, it can be difficult to judge whether you should make necessary repairs to the system or replace it entirely. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace.

Maintenance costs

When to replace
As with most things, if your unit is older and repair costs start to exceed more than half the approximate value of the system, the most economic thing to do is to replace it.

For example, if your system uses R-22 refrigerant (also known as Freon) and develops a problem related to a refrigerant leak or other issue, replacing the unit might be your best option. Due to a change in EPA regulations, manufacturers discontinued units that use R-22 in 2010, and production of R-22 will end in 2020. This has led to increased costs associated with the refrigerant and related repairs. In some cases, repairing a leak or replacing a compressor and purchasing R-22 refrigerant can cost a few thousand dollars—almost as much as the cost of a new, energy-efficient unit.

When to repair
If your system is newer or still protected under warranty, having it repaired is likely the most cost-effective route to take. Investing in regular preventative maintenance will also help extend your system’s lifespan, and could help you avoid an expensive repair down the road.


When to replace
Though the average lifespan of an air conditioning system can sometimes exceed 10 or 15 years with proper care and maintenance, the EPA recommends replacing your system if repairs are required on a unit that is more than 10 years old. This is because older systems are not only prone to costly, frequent repairs, they are less energy efficient. As of 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy requires that all new cooling systems in the South have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of at least 14. Replacing your older, inefficient unit will not only save you money on maintenance, but also on your heating and cooling bill.

When to repair
If your system is newer and has a SEER of at least 14, your best bet is to have any required repairs made.

Selling your home

When to replace

If you’re planning to sell your home, you should make sure all of your appliances, including your air conditioning system, are in working order. If your current system is on its way out, it might be a good idea to have it replaced before listing your home. While having a new system will not necessarily increase your home’s monetary value, it is a positive selling point for prospective buyers. Being able to promote the fact that your home has a new, energy-efficient system might give you a competitive edge over other comparable homes, as well as instill goodwill with buyers.

When to repair

If your system still has a lot of life left in it, have a home comfort specialist thoroughly inspect the unit to diagnose any problems and make necessary repairs. If you’re not planning to replace the unit, having documentation of your system’s clean bill of health will go a long way to ease any concerned prospective buyers.

Whether you’re in the market for a new home comfort system, or just looking to have yours inspected or repaired, Barineau Heating and Air can help. Call us at 850-580-4029 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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