Should I Replace vs. Repair My Air Conditioning Unit?

When Is The Right Time To Replace Or Repair My Air Conditioner?

When your air conditioner breaks down for the third time, you naturally start asking, “Do I want to repair my AC again? Or is investing in a new system the better option? When is it time to replace my air conditioner?”

The simple answer is: Do whichever is most cost-effective, convenient, and energy-efficient in your situation. These 7 factors will help you decide.

1. Age Of Air Conditioner

Central air conditioning should last 10-15 years — possibly longer if, say, you spend a couple of months at the cottage every summer. We’ve seen air conditioners that were still running after 30 years. Not sure how old your air conditioner is? Here’s how to check:

  1. See whether the nameplate on your condenser unit shows the month and date of manufacture.
  2. If that is not clear, look up the serial number online — or just ask Dr HVAC — to find out when the system was made.
  3. As a last resort, check the installation date.

Your Ontario air conditioner’s age is essential because it’s just not worth paying for any more pricey repairs after a certain point. A rule of thumb: Multiply the age of the unit X the repair estimate. If your answer is $5,000 or more, it’s time for a new air conditioner.

2. Number Of Repairs

Those air conditioning repair bills are getting expensive, and to add insult to injury, each time the AC goes on the blink, you’re left sweating it out until you can get a technician to take care of it. Frequent repairs, even small ones, may make a big dent in your budget. 

Even worse, they could be symptoms of a more significant issue that will only get worse with time. Have your cooling system inspected by a trustworthy pro. They will advise whether you’ll be better off patching up your AC (again!) or investing in an efficient new air conditioner.

3. Large Energy Bill

Are you running up large energy bills every cooling season? The reason is no mystery. Older air conditioners work much less efficiently than modern ones, which utilize the latest energy-saving technology. That’s why seasonal efficiency (SEER) ratings are so much higher today, and utility bills are so much lower.

4.  Air Conditioner Uses R-22 Refrigerant

R-22 (otherwise known as Freon) used to be the most common air conditioning refrigerant. Until science discovered that R-22 depletes the ozone layer, that is. Now R-22 coolant is being phased out in Canada. Since air conditioners are sealed systems, Freon never gets used up

However, it will need topping up if you have a refrigerant leak. The problem is that only recycled R-22 is available at this point, and it’s getting more expensive to buy. Soon even that will be unavailable.

Beyond the financial consideration, do you want to contribute to ozone depletion? You can forget about these worries if you install a new air conditioner with an ozone-friendly R410A refrigerant.

5. Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling

An air conditioner that suddenly isn’t cooling could be a minor issue. Check for a tripped breaker, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a clogged air filter. Otherwise, you might need professional AC repair for a mechanical issue or a refrigerant leak. It’s possible, also, that the company who sold you your air conditioning didn’t size the system correctly or do a good job of installing it.

6. Air Conditioner Has Frozen Up

You want your air conditioner to be cool — but not so cold that it freezes up! A frozen evaporator coil or outdoor unit might result from air filter blockage or too low a temperature setting. On the other hand, it could signal trouble with the drain line or the fan. Fortunately, these are not super expensive to fix.

7. Air Conditioner Is Blowing Warm Air

Here’s another scenario: Your air conditioning starts blowing warm air, instead of the wonderfully cool breeze you were expecting. Once again, you can experiment with a bit of DIY troubleshooting. Check the filter, thermostat, and electrical breaker. If none of these is the problem, your unit may need a professional AC tuneup and cleaning or a refrigerant leak repair.

Find Answers To All Your Questions About Air Conditioning

When you need air conditioning advice, have a chat with Dr HVAC. We are a full-service HVAC company in the GTA. Count on us for honest, efficient air conditioner installation, tuneup and repair.

Here’s the kind of positive experience we offer our clients, as reviewed on Google:

Bryan was really professional, nice and honest, and he literally taught me how the hvac system works, details about the air conditioner, vent, almost everything. I had to change my 21yrs old malfunctioning air conditioner, and he helped me through it.

Installing team who came the next morning was also awesome!! Helped me with so many (stupid) questions I made about my HVAC system, filter, water boilers and stuff, everything in detail nicely again.

They are not the kind of people who try to rip your money out. They are professional! I would recommend Dr. Hvac team to my family and friends. Thanks for the nice work!