Air Conditioners-Repair or Replace?

By June 13, 2016 April 17th, 2017 Air Conditioning, HVAC

Air Conditioners-Repair or Replace?

Air Conditioners-Repair or Replace? The ultimate question when it comes to your old AC Unit. There are many factors to consider.

Age of the unit.

Your old AC Unit is most likely a 10 SEER Unit, or basically rates as a 10 on the seasonal energy efficiency ratio scale. Well in the energy efficiency world, a 10 is not the best. A New 13 SEER ac unit can be as much as 42% more efficient as a 10 SEER. If your AC Is a really old 6 SEER Unit-A new basic 13 SEER ac unit can be as much as 72% more efficient-WOW!!! Efficiency differences are calculated with a couple of different factors, energy consumption, meaning how much actual electricity does the ac unit consume, and cooling output, or how much net cooling is actually outputted by the unit.

History.

Has your old ac unit had many repairs done to it in its life? Most ac units do not have many parts, typically only a handful. Air Conditioner Start components are average parts that usually last around 7-10 years, where as the compressor inside is the heart of the ac unit, that in today’s age, if the compressor goes, replacement of the ac unit should be highly considered. Other parts, such as condenser coil, expansion valves and evaporator coil typically will last the lifetime of the unit,however,over the past few years we have seen expansion valves prematurely failing more often.

Refrigerant

The refrigerant, or sometimes referred to as Freon, plays an important role in the decision to repair or replace the ac unit. Refrigerant #22, (the old stuff) was introduced as a temporary replacement to the best refrigerant of all time, R #12, in the early 1970’s. We had to find a different refrigerant to replace R #12 due to its concentration of chlorine, and chlorine’s effect on the ozone layer. R #22 was brought in as a temporary replacement to R #12 because although it still contains chlorine, its effect on the atmosphere only last 21 years, sounds like a long time, but R #12 is 100 years, big difference. In 2006, the government put an end to new ac units containing R #22, and the switch was made to R #410. R #410 does not contain chlorine and dissipates in the atmosphere almost immediately. What does all this mean when it comes to AC Replacement or Repair?? MONEY!! R #22 is at an all time high as far as cost goes, and it doesn’t seem to be going down anytime soon. If you need new refrigerant and your unit contains R #22, you could be spending 20% to 30% of the cost of a completely new ac unit just to replenish your R #22. Also if your unit contains R #22, then your unit is at least 10 years old which means start components, if not replaced already will soon go, and the other ac components we spoke about earlier are also prone to failure.

Condition of The AC Unit

The Obvious. If you have never had your air conditioner tune-up done, or it has been in a poorly operating state for many years, the internal compressor windings could be weak, and you are on your way to a major ac unit repair. Once it begins, Acid will begin to form inside the ac unit compressor and it is all downhill from there. The acid will continue to build and eventually will cause the compressor to burn out.  A Compressor burnout means having a well trained technician spend extensive time and money to clean the acid out and replace the compressor. Unfortunately, the acid can never be 100% removed and requires installing special filters inside the ac unit,which if are not replaced shortly after the installation of a new ac compressor, then will get the acid into the new unit and the degradation process will begin all over again.

Original Installation.

Was your original air conditioner installed correctly? We have replaced air conditioners that were 20+ years old, and we have replaced air conditioners that were less than 5 years old. A bad air conditioner installation will shorten the life of an ac unit dramatically. There are certain steps in the proper installation of an ac unit that are often skipped by many hvac contractors in an attempt to save money, but unfortunately those steps are crucial to the long life of the unit. Back in the day with the old ac units, sometimes those skipped steps did not hinder operation to much, but the new stuff just will not work properly if not done. Moisture, refrigerant leaks, and improper airflow could cut the expected life of the ac unit by 100%

In Short , There are may factors to consider in the decision to repair or replace your ac unit. Questions, Call us at 585-366-0557 and we wil be happy to help.

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Author Matt Nicodemus

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