What Time is the Best Time to Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?
An air conditioner is a large investment for your home and personal comfort. Before you transition your thermostat to warmer temperatures and cross your fingers the A/C works again next summer, it’s a good idea to call a licensed contractor that offers Portland HVAC services for annual maintenance, especially if your equipment is older or under warranty. The fall and spring are great times to complete an air conditioning repair or replacement as it will ensure that you’re prepared for the return of warm weather.
Reasons to Hire Portland HVAC Services in the Off-Season
- It’s the low season: HVAC professionals are often booked in the summer and winter, the peak heating and cooling seasons. Things quiet down during the fall and spring. As a result, schedules are more flexible and there’s a greater chance that you can book an appointment at a time that’s convenient for you. Many contractors allow you to purchase a new A/C during the off-season and schedule the installation at a later time.
- Take your time: When you wait until autumn or spring for an air conditioning repair, you’ll have more time to consider your options as you won’t have an immediate need to cool your home. Take advantage of this time to do some research about the types of air conditioning systems that are best for your home and comfort needs, and carefully consider contractors and request estimates.
- Save money: During the fall and spring, air conditioners aren’t as in-demand as they are during the peak of summer, which can result in significant savings. As HVAC contractors make room for next season’s new models, many will start offering great deals in the fall.
- Save energy: If your air conditioner doubles as a heat pump during cold weather, having it inspected during the fall will help you prepare for the upcoming winter months. It will also give you a chance to decide if it’s best to repair or replace it. Older systems that have a hard time keeping up in the summer will most likely have difficulty during the winter, prompting your HVAC system to use energy-guzzling auxiliary resistance heaters to warm your home.
It’s important to keep in mind that there may be instances in which it is best to schedule an air conditioning repair or replacement during the peak season. Such scenarios include:
- Soaring temperatures are harmful to the health of a person in the home, so it’s necessary to keep it cool
- Running the air conditioner poses a safety risk or fire hazard
Do I Need an Air Conditioning Repair or Replacement?
When deciding if it’s better to repair or replace an A/C, consider the following:
- Age and repair costs: On average, air conditioners have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. In general, if an A/C is more than 10 years old and the cost of a repair equals a third of the cost of a new system, purchasing a new A/C is likely the better financial choice, especially if tax credits and incentives are available.
- Frequent breakdowns: If your A/C has broken down several times during the last few years, a replacement might be in your best interest.
- Power bills: If your power bills keep going up despite having the A/C repaired, you might need a new unit. Upgrading to a more efficient system can save you up to 40 percent in cooling costs, especially if your home has a tight building envelope.
- Warranty: A/C warranties expire after a specific period. New units come with warranties that may help you save on repair costs.
- Uneven temperatures: Uneven temperatures in the home with newer A/C units might point to leaky ductwork. When a system that’s more than a decade old causes uneven temperatures and the ductwork is in good shape, it might be time for an upgrade.
- Noise: Older air conditioners may overexert themselves to keep up with your cooling needs, causing them to become noisy and operate infrequently.
- Refrigerant: Some older models use R-22 refrigerant or Freon. Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out the use of R-22 by 2020, HVAC manufacturers stopped making units “charged” with the coolant in 2010. Incidentally, at the time of publication, the price of R-22 can cost as much as $175 per pound. If your A/C has a refrigerant leak, fixing it and replacing several pounds of the coolant may cost more than $1,000. Repair costs are greater if the leak caused damage to the compressor, which can cost up to $2,000 to replace.
The best way to determine if your air conditioner needs a repair or replacement is to consult with the experts at AAA Heating and Cooling. Our Portland HVAC services include complimentary consultations in which a specialist will help you see the big picture and weigh your options. As temperatures start to cool, repairing or replacing your A/C during the off-season will ensure your home is ready when the warm weather returns. Schedule your appointment today.