Ac Replacement

How to know if the AC unit needs a repair?

An AC Unit no matter how efficient and multi functional it is, is subject to gradual wear and tear with age. You can keep it efficient for a longer period of time with regular maintenance but it is quite impossible to eliminate faults and defects after a certain time. ACs like humans also have a living span. Read the scenario given below:

Nancy Thomas of Orange Country, California paid a hefty amount to her AC contractor for repairing a defect associated with refrigerant leakage. Just after a couple of years her AC broke down again. Nancy was panic-stricken wondering whether it is time for replacing and repair again. When she contacted a few contractors she was disappointed with quotes they gave for repairing the machine. The quotes were in the range of $4000 to $5000 to replace the unit and between $300 and $600 to repair it. The repairs will not have any guarantee to them. Flabbergasted, Nancy decided towards not using an AC at all. She said she was running the AC for six times a year and she would be able to withstand the heat and cold for those few times. She decided to buy a fan to beat the California heat. However, it is not that easy for other AC users to do away with an AC unit, given their weather conditions.

Here are some tips to now when your AC unit needs a replacement:

The 5,000 rule


This is a very popular rule. All you have to do is multiply the age of unit with the cost quoted by the service provider. If it extends the mark of $5,000, then it is better to buy a new unit. If is it less, then repairing is reasonable. Say for instance, a 12-year-old unit with a $300 repair equals $3,600. It’s OK to repair

According to recommendations of Energy Star, a unit should be upgraded after it is 10 years old. However, many HVAC technicians recommend replacing an AC after 15 years of age. Jere n Hamlin, owner of Air tech Heating & Cooling, Minnesota, opines that on an average an AC has a lifespan of 14 years.

R-22 can influence your options

In case your AC issuing too much refrigerant for cooling it is a symptom of leakage. However filling refrigerant into a cooling unit is a big expenditure. The cost can range from $40 to more than $175 per pound. This also includes service charges. Repairing the leakage and putting in a couple of pounds of refrigerant can go up to $1,000. Therefore it is always feasible to replace aunit that is suffering from leakage. It will cost a little more but you will save money in the long run. You will not need to do the refilling frequently.

Moreover, Freon costs have surged so high that manufacturers stopped making units that need R-22. The production of units running on R-22 will stop completely by 2020.

Always check the SEER rating of your AC

If you AC has Seer rate of 10 which was the standard rate before 2006, then after 10 years its electricity usage could have doubled. This is because it is operating below 10 SEER. SEER(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)is the amount of energy needed for a particular cooling level. According to the Federal Law, a unit presently should have a minimum SEER of 13. Asa result the modern units are more energy efficient than the older ones. Units with higher SEER rate,say, 16 will surely cost more.

Some other factors

If you AC is generating repair bills frequently it is feasible to replace it. If the unit is older and the repair bill is a few hundred dollars, it is not worthwhile to fix it. Moreover, if you are not going to live in the current house for a long time it is better to adjust with current system somehow. Before you decide to replace, always, schedule an inspection with an HVAC technician to know about the status of your heating and cooling unit.

When you decide to replace…

When you decide to replace a unit, it is always better to purchase a new one with Energy Star label. If installed correctly, they can save lot of energy. A boiler or furnace labelled by Energy Star will be 5 to 15% more energy efficient than conventional ones.

When you replace your AC, it is ways wise to get your ducts inspected for leakage as well. You may have bought an energy efficient AC, but you are losing the energy through leaky ducts. Sealing the gaps may cost for $25 to $35 per vent. If you ducts are in bad shape it is better to replace the duct work with new insulated pipe. This will cost approximately, $100 per run. Sometime replacing ducts improves the efficiency of old unit. Also improve insulation of the house like gaps in the attic, basements and in other places. Use proper sealants around doors and windows to prevent leakage of air.You can get a federal tax credit of $500 for insulation.

Disclaimer: Although the rates quoted in the page are typical average rates that can be seen across USA, they can vary in certain areas depending upon city and the variables associated with each individual project.

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