Air conditioning is a must-have during the hot summer season in Charlottesville, VA, but it works to maintain temperature year-round. If your air conditioning unit has stopped working, you may find yourself wondering whether you should have it repaired or put out the cash to buy a new one.
At The Otter Guys, we often receive questions about the repair or buy new comparison. The answer is dependent on a variety of factors and varies from person to person.
If your AC isn’t doing its job and you’re wondering what to do, here are some details to consider.
How Long Does an AC Last?
The average shelf life of a well-maintained AC unit is about 15-years maximum. This is good to know, and factor into your decision, because if your unit is 13-years old, it probably hasn’t got many years left in it. In this case, replacing the unit with a new one is the most sensible option. On the other hand, if your AC is within 5-years of its lifespan, it has plenty to go and can often be repaired affordably.
Balancing Costs and Value
The age of your unit is something worth considering, but there are other variables that go into the repair vs. buy new debate. Air conditioning units can break in several ways. Knowing the exact cost for a repair is unlikely without a professional quote. On average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $75 to $500 depending on time and parts needed.
To buy a new AC, your costs are also varied. It depends on which unit you want to purchase, and the cost of installation, if you’re unable to install yourself. Generally, most homeowners will pay somewhere between $2,500 and $8,000 for a new unit in Charlottesville, VA.
This may immediately spark the urge to repair over buying, but repair costs accumulate if more than one repair is needed.
Warranties and Other Coverage
If your AC unit is newer, it may still be covered by some form of manufacturer or extended warranty. Check your purchasing paperwork to see if there is any time left on your warranty and whether the type of damage is covered.
For a manufacturer’s warranty, the average coverage period is 1-year from the time of purchase and installation. This covers manufacturing defects within the AC unit, but not physical damage caused inside the home.
Extended coverage through your AC sales specialist or heating and cooling team may provide longer and more in-depth coverage. You will have to go through the provider of the warranty to have repairs or unit replacement covered. This is a good thing to think about when you purchase, or if you purchase new to replace your current unit. Ask about warranty and extended warranty options to avoid paying out next time.
Ongoing Repair or Annual Inspection?
An older and broken AC unit is likely to need some ongoing TLC. On the other hand, a new AC unit shouldn’t need repairs for a while, and with regular inspections from your heating and cooling specialist, it may never need repairs, only maintenance.
At The Otter Guys, we recommend ongoing annual inspections and maintenance of your AC unit. This keeps everything running effectively and efficiently and means fewer future repairs for you.
Energy Costs on Old vs. New AC Units
Buying a new AC means getting rid of old technology and updating your energy efficiency. While the cost of a new AC unit is high, the value of ongoing reduced energy bills is attractive.
Similarly, fixing a broken AC unit could bring down the cost of energy in your home as well. If your AC has been struggling to work for a while, fixing any problems could bring it back to functioning at full capacity, which means less energy drain.
Which is Better, Repair or Replace?
So, knowing all we know about unit costs, lifespans, and repair prices, which is better? Should you repair an AC unit or replace it? As a rule, we’d need to see the unit to know for sure. In general, however, we usually find that it’s more affordable to replace an old broken AC unit than to try to fix it. For a new unit, which was only recently paid for, we recommend having it fixed.
Contact The Otter Guys for More Details
Interested in learning more about heating and cooling services in Charlottesville, VA? We invite you to contact us today or visit online for a full list of products and services.