Monetary Benefits of Repair vs. Replacement of your Air Conditioning System

With utility costs continuing to rise, you may have been looking at your monthly energy bill and wondering whether your air conditioning system is at least partially to blame for the additional costs.

If your AC system isn't performing as well as it should be, even after having arranged for regular inspections and maintenance designed to keep it functioning optimally, you will want to consider the monetary benefits of repair versus replacement of your system. This is especially true for systems that are ten or more years old.

Your air conditioning system may be making unusual noises or you may find that parts of your home are staying warm while other parts are too cold. It's possible that your system has leaking ducts or was undersized by the installer. The air conditioner also may be running low on refrigerant because of a leak, reducing its efficiency.

Repair vs. Replacement

While repairing your system is going to cost less than completely replacing it, you need to take into account costs over the long term before you rule out getting a brand new unit. Newer units are much more energy efficient and use the latest refrigerant, which is less expensive to replace than older refrigerant.

Benefits of replacing your system include: 

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  • Lowered monthly utility bills
  • Possible rebates and tax incentives, depending on your location and availability
  • Fewer costly repairs. Newer units will function better and will be covered by a warranty, compared to an older unit that is more prone to leaks and breaking down.
  • Increased comfort. The new AC system will provide more comfort when the weather heats up, and you can expect it to run much more quietly.

In some cases, it's prudent for a homeowner to opt for repair rather than replacing the system outright. For example, your budget may not permit you to replace your system now, but you can easily afford the repairs. If you are planning to sell your home fairly soon, it could make sense to simply repair your AC system and let the next owner install the new system of his/her choice. Otherwise, a new HVAC system will make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.

Expect your new equipment to operate more efficiently, especially if the model you are replacing is 10 or more years old. The savings on your utility bills typically make it worthwhile to replace the whole system, especially if you plan on staying in your home for the foreseeable future.

Cost of Refrigerant

Older air conditioning systems that use the older R-22 refrigerant are finding that it is scarcer and more expensive because it is being phased out for more environmentally favorable refrigerant. R-410A, also known as Freon, is harmful to the Earth's ozone layer. If your AC unit's evaporator coil has rusted, for example, and is leaking refrigerant, the cost to replace refrigerant could be the biggest part of your repair bill. Instead of paying $100 to recharge your system, it could now cost four times as much to do so.

EPA Regulation of Refrigerant
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of regulating the production, sale and use of refrigerant in the United States. The agency plans to decrease the amount of manufactured or imported R-22 from 55 million pounds in 2012 to 39.5 million pounds in 2013. Increasing scarcity of older refrigerant can lead to even higher prices. 

If you have decided to repair or replace your entire HVAC system, it's a good idea to do it sooner than later. Don't wait until the next heat wave, when more customers will be calling for service. If you plan ahead, it will be easier for you to get an appointment.

Homeowners in Jacksonville have come to rely on David Gray Heating & Air for repairs and replacement of their AC and heating systems. Feel free to call today if you have any questions or want to make an appointment.

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