Should You Replace Your Old AC Unit? - An Expert's Guide

If your air conditioning unit is close to ten years old or older, you may want to consider replacing it rather than repairing it. Heating and cooling costs account for approximately 44% of utility costs, and if you pay more than the average for your area, your AC system may not be working effectively. Air conditioning units can last a surprisingly long time, but they can also break down unexpectedly. You can expect to replace an air conditioner unit every 10 to 15 years, unless you have problems with the unit. Learning how to replace an air conditioning unit will help you develop an action plan to avoid panic if your system breaks down on the hottest day of the year.

An important factor to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your current AC unit is your comfort level. When installing a new air conditioner during a remodel, you can work with your contractor to determine the air conditioning needs of your new space. If you have a relatively new air conditioning unit, unless the cost of repairs amounts to thousands of dollars, it rarely makes financial sense to replace it with a new one. If your AC is not working properly and the warranty has expired or is invalid, you might consider replacing the unit depending on the seriousness of the problem. If so, you may need to replace a thermostat or two instead of replacing the entire system.

Gallup notes that your state may offer a tax credit to replace a system with a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Index (SEER), a measure of energy consumption and the efficiency of air conditioning units. When deciding whether to repair or replace an air conditioner unit, there are a few factors to consider, such as the age of the unit, its performance and efficiency, and the cost of any necessary repairs. While replacing your AC unit is an investment, there are several incentives that can make it worthwhile. You can also look for refunds available in your state or municipality that may reduce the total cost of replacing your obsolete air conditioning unit. Repairing air conditioning units requires an expert technician, so always rely on expert advice before replacing your AC unit. Maintenance, both done by yourself and by a professional, can help keep your air conditioner running at its maximum capacity, even when it reaches the top of its age range.

However, at some point it's best to replace it with a newer, more efficient model.