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Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

The 50% Rule on Air Conditioner Replacement

Is it time for an AC replacement in Rochester, NY? Air conditioning systems won’t last forever, but you may find yourself facing a dilemma about whether to have your aging air conditioner repaired or go ahead with the replacement. A repair is obviously a less expensive option in the moment, but it may still be too expensive to justify for an older air conditioner that will probably need a replacement within several years.

To help you get a broad sense of when a replacement is the better choice, we’re going to examine the “50% Rule” that often comes in handy in “repair or replace?” situations.

The 50% Rule

Simply stated, the 50% rule says that an AC repair is not worthwhile if the quoted cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new air conditioner. Any repair that expensive is sinking money into a system that won’t be around much longer. It’s better to put that money into purchasing a new system.

There are several factors to consider along with the 50% Rule. Not all new air conditioning systems cost the same: you’ll pay more to have a high-efficiency unit put in, for example. If the AC is still under warranty and will cover the cost of the parts, then the repair is probably worth it. Ask you technicians to help you iron out the specifics so you can make the best choice.

Do You Know About the “Rule of 5,000”?

While we’re here talking about the 50% Rule, we want to look at a similar rule that can help you understand when it’s better to replace your AC rather than invest in more repairs. It’s the “Rule of 5,000,” and although it sounds like a period in ancient Greek history, it’s a simple calculation that only requires that you know the age of your AC and the quote for a repair estimate.

Multiply the repair estimate by the age of the AC system in years. If the result is larger than 5,000, it means the repair is too costly compared to a replacement. 

For example:

  • A technician gives you a $500 dollar quote to repair your 8-year-old AC system. Is it a good idea?
    • Yes! 500 x 8 = 4,000. You’re under 5,000, and you’ll probably get many more years of life from the system that makes the $500 investment worth it.
  • A technician gives you the same $500 quote, but for a 12-year-old AC. Is this also a good idea?
    • No! 500 x 12 = 6,000. You’re over 5,000 now at a system that probably won’t last for more than 3 years at best. It’s better to invest in a new system.

If you’re working with honest professionals like the Triple-O team, you won’t have to worry much about number-crunching. We’ll tell you when we think a repair is worthwhile and when a replacement is the better option.

Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Is Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. Reach out to us when you need AC repair or replacement.

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