Repair or upgrade your air conditioner?
If your air conditioner hasn't been working like it used to, trying to decide when to upgrade it can be difficult.
Here are some guidelines to help you consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your old air conditioning unit.
What is the lifespan of your system?
Firstly consider how old your system is. A good air conditioning system, that has been well maintained and looked after, that was installed correctly is usually expected to last around 15-20 years. In some exceptional cases we have clients who have had their systems nearing 30+ years. But all mechanical products, like a car, will eventually need to be replaced. Plus if the system hasn't been maintained and cleaned regularly over it's life, causing it to work harder, this can reduce the lifespan dramatically.
How much will it cost to repair?
Don't waste your money continually trying to repair an old system beyond it's expected lifespan. If your unit has lasted 75% of it's projected 15-20 year lifespan and the cost of the repair would be more than 33% of the cost to replace the entire system then it would be smart to consider replacing instead of repairing. On the other hand if the unit is newer and repair costs are minor it would make more sense to repair rather than replace.
Are spare parts available?
Manufacturers are constantly releasing newer models with updated technology. For some models with outdated technology this can make finding spare parts difficult especially if the manufacturer has discontinued support of their older models. If you have a very old system and it breaks down, you could be spending weeks without air conditioning trying to source a hard to find part. Would you be able to cope with this in the middle of summer?
Type of repair?
If the part that needs to be replaced is the compressor this can be an expensive repair job due to the cost of the part and the hours of time required to remove and install a new one. In some instances this could cost more than the system itself and is a good indication that if the system is nearing the end of it's lifespan it would be more simpler to upgrade instead.
What refrigerant does it use?
Refrigerant has changed over time from R22 to R410a and now R32 due to environmental regulations. If your system was installed over 10 years ago it is likely using R22 refrigerant which is being phased out and is very difficult to obtain. This has resulted in the cost of R22 refrigerant rising dramatically meaning that if your old system required a re-gas because of a leak the repair costs would be quite high. In this situation we would recommend upgrading to a newer system with easily available refrigerant.
Consider the benefits of a new system.
The latest air conditioning systems have new features such as inverter driven scroll compressors and other sophisticated technologies that help make modern systems much more energy efficient than previous units. According to some manufacturers more than 40% more efficient. This means the cost to run a new unit would be substantially less than continuing to use your old system.
In addition to lower running costs you would also get peace mind with a new 5 year parts and labour warranty. Spare parts and the latest refrigerant are all readily available if required.
Plus you can benefit from updated modern LCD control systems that are easier to use with more features such as convenient Wi-Fi control.
In summary, deciding whether to repair or replace your air conditioning system is different in every situation. Take into consideration how much a repair would be then compare that with how much a replacement would cost.
Deciding what unit to upgrade to can be difficult, but dealing with a specialist and having your new air conditioning system professionally installed correctly can help you own a new energy efficient system that is right for you.