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Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

Replace vs. Repair for My AC System

This is an evergreen debate in the world of home comfort: when is it time to repair an old air conditioning system, and when is it time to replace it? 

No HVAC system will last forever, but proper maintenance and prompt repairs can get most air conditioning systems to last for 10 to 15 years. It’s when your AC reaches this age range that you’ll want to start balancing out the benefits of repairing the system and the benefits of installing a new one. We offer both AC repair in Bergen, NY and AC replacement in Bergen, NY, and we’re your best source for determining the specific service you need. Below, we’ll offer some more information to help you think about the “repair vs. replace” question.

Benefits of AC Repair

The biggest benefit of an air conditioner repair is the cost: it’s almost always less expensive than getting a new AC installed. (If it’s more expensive, then you definitely know what option to pick!) If your air conditioning system is still under warranty, then repairs will often not cost much more than the labor—this is often true even in extreme cases such as a burnt-out compressor. 

Once an air conditioner is out of warranty (more than 10–12 years depending on the warranty), it becomes more important to balance the cost of repairs against the cost of replacement. A good rule of thumb here is the “Rule of 5,000.” Multiply the quoted cost for the repair by the age of the system in years, and if the result is less than 5,000, the repair is likely a worthwhile investment.

Benefits of a New AC Installation

Replacing an air conditioning system may cost more than an individual repair, but it’s a better long-term investment if the AC has only a few more years of life left in it and it’s lost much of its original energy efficiency. A new air conditioner means a cooling system with better energy efficiency (even if you don’t purchase a special high-efficiency system, the new AC will probably have a superior efficiency rating than your current one did when it was new). A new air conditioner also comes with a new warranty and many years where you won’t have to worry about the system abruptly breaking down.

Which Is the Best Option for Me?

While there is a best option in your case, we can’t know what it is until we know your specific situation. The general answer is “it depends.” 

We’ve already mentioned the “Rule of 5,000,” which can help you measure if a repair cost is too expensive or not. Other factors to consider for the decision include the expense to run the AC and how frequent repairs have become. If you’ll need to continue to repair the air conditioner every year and it drains more money to operate than it used to, you may be better off with a new system.

Don’t let this question worry you too much—we’re here to help! We’ll guide you toward the option that maintains your comfort and matches your budget.

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