Should I Get A New AC Unit, Or Fix The One I Have?

It is never an easy time when you have problems with your air conditioner. While we can not tell you exactly what you should do, we aim to inform you by offering options to consider when choosing to repair your equipment over replacing your entire system. It always seems that your air conditioner has problems when you need it the most and when you have to call a technician, you might be waiting in busy seasons only to find that you have to make a quick decision. This article aims to prepare you in the event this happens to you! Let’s cover the most important factors when choosing to repair or replace your air conditioner. Hopefully this article will help you determine if you need a new AC unit or if you should get an AC repair.

How Old Is It?

As a home or business owner, it is important to know how old your air conditioning system is. An air conditioner can break in just a few years, or after decades of use. The average lifespan of an ac system is about 15 to 20 years, provided that the system has been maintained properly and serviced by a trusted technician. While this is the case for most units, the lifespan on parts can vary between different makes and models. 

When an air conditioner stops working, usually an important component of the system has failed to perform its task. A technician will usually begin looking at the larger components and troubleshoot down to the smaller parts of the unit. A few of the major parts in your air conditioner consist of the compressor, the evaporator coil, which is located indoors, and the condenser coil, which is located outside of your home, office, or business. Aside from these, the electrical system is another large part of what makes everything run smoothly. Without electrical systems performing at peak performance, components like the fan motors, capacitors, and contactors are affected. Other issues can arise if control systems within your air condition units are not functioning properly. 

Compressor Failure

One of the most common ac replacement reasons comes with issues to your compressor. Air conditioning compressors are responsible for controlling the flow of refrigerants and rarely can be repaired. Typically, compressors malfunction when they lock up, or when they receive an electrical short. A properly maintained system can have its compressor last anywhere between 10 to 15 years.

The evaporator coil is usually found on top of the furnace of an air handler unit and is largely responsible for absorbing the heat within your home or office, and then sending it to the compressor. Evaporator coils are made up of steel, copper, and aluminum and over time, these materials can rust, corrode, and begin leaking the refrigerant within 12-15 years. 

Condenser Coil Failure

The condenser coil is located outdoors and is responsible for removing the heat that is absorbed in your home or office by the evaporator coil indoors. This part of your system rarely needs replacement and typically it would be smaller components of this unit that need to be repaired and has a long lifespan. If this part does go bad it will usually total out the outside unit. It Makes much more sense to go ahead and replace the AC unit with a new one in this case.

Potential Electrical Problems

We mentioned contactors earlier, and this part of your equipment controls the ability to turn your air conditioner on or off. A common issue with this part is that as electricity passes through it, the part can burn or overheat, causing the metal to warp, restricting the amount of flow in the electricity.

When speaking of electricity, it is important to note that a capacitor is used to help control the flow of electricity. Problems with capacitors typically come with issues from other parts of the system. When contactors are not running in peak performance, it makes it difficult for capacitors to regulate the electricity. Extreme heats can come with dirty filters indoors, and cause the system to run for extended periods of time. This will eventually put a strain on the capacitors ability to function, as well as having low refrigerant or dirty coils. You can prevent these occurrences with well timed maintenance. 

When your fan blade is running, it is drawing air over the condenser coils. Older fans tend to lock up, and if they are not properly cared for, can become bent, misshaped, or become corroded over time. If your condenser coils are dirty, then your fan motor needs to run for longer to perform its task of drawing air. These parts can last well over a decade if properly maintained.

Proper refrigerant levels must be maintained in order for units to have a long lifespan. Older units contain a refrigerant known as R22 which is no longer produced in large quantities for environmental reasons. If your unit still runs on this, you should consider a replacement as R22 reserves get more and more expensive to buy. If your system begins to leak, you will know it is time to replace it.