Your aircon unit is not keeping your room cool and breaks down frequently. Your warranty has expired and your only two choices are either to repair or replace the aircon unit. What should you do? Is it too early for a replacement? Which choice would be better economically in the long run? This scenario depicts a difficult dilemma that aircon owners may be facing either presently, or in the future. Not to worry as we will discuss the important factors for consideration between repair and replacing the aircon down below. This way, you will be making an informed decision based on your current aircon situation.
Benefits of Replacing or Repairing an Aircon
Before we discuss the signs that tell you to replace/repair your aircon, let us first go through the advantages of replacing or repairing an aircon unit.
Advantages of replacing your aircon:
Long-term Cost Savings
Repairs can range from $120, up to even $1000++, furthermore the warranty for the works are minimal as the manufacturers do not offer any warranty for the purchase of spare parts. By replacing the aircon, you can have a new and more efficient system that saves you energy and the warranty period of a new system, which in turn saves on your utility bills and ensures that you will not be incurring any air-con costs at all for at least 1 year. In the long run, you will likely be better off economically by replacing an old aircon unit.
By getting a new aircon system, you will not have to wait for the entire repair process which may take some time. The aircon repair company will have to first make an initial visit to inspect your aircon’s current condition. Next, they will have to source for the specific aircon parts which are usually difficult to find, especially if it is an outdated aircon system. This results in you having to spend additional time with a faulty aircon. Diagnosis of the air-con system can be a little tricky with less common brands as well and the technicians might also propose a few items to be replaced to resolve the issue, which can rack up the cost.
Air Quality and Performance
With a new aircon unit, you can enjoy its cooling performance and feel the difference with the improved air quality. Newer aircon units generally will have better control over the humidity and temperature of the room, which in turn minimizes the risk of mold and bacteria development.
Advantages of repairing your aircon:
If your warranty has yet to expire, you should use it to repair your aircon at minimal cost. This would make more economic sense.
50% Cost-of-Repair Rule
This is a generic rule that states if your aircon’s cost of repair is less than 50% of the aircon’s value, you should consider a repair job instead to reduce strain on your wallet, as compared to replacing the unit.
If you are renting a room, or moving out soon, then considering a repair could be a better decision for your finances. Alternatively, replacing it with a portable air-conditioner may do the trick as well.
8 Signs to tell if your aircon needs to be replaced or repaired
#1 Aircon not cold
One of the most obvious signs that tells you to replace your aircon is when it loses its ability to cool the room. However, you should always look at it on a case-by-case basis whether it has been properly serviced and maintained before deciding to repair or replace. A well maintained aircon can last over 10 years and you should replace the aircon when it has reached the end of its lifespan.
#2 It takes forever to cool the room
If you notice that it takes a significantly longer time to cool the place more than usual, then you have just discovered a red flag signaling for you to act. One possible reason could be that your systems are low on refrigerant which hinders its cooling abilities. You will need to get your aircon checked by a professional to determine the underlying cause and assess if a replacement or repair is better off.
#3 Higher utility bills
If your energy bills had risen without much change in your usage of your electrical appliances, then you might want to conduct an audit on your energy usage to find out the root cause. Your aircon could be the source of the higher bills given that it is usually consumes the most energy amongst general home appliances. If your aircon is faulty, it may be overworking with a weak cooling capacity and therefore the extra power being consumed to cool the room. You may need to get your aircon replaced with a more efficient system to bring monthly cost-savings to your home.
#4 Strange sounds or smell
A normal aircon should operate with minimal sound without any odors. If you hear or smell anything bad or weird coming from your aircon, you will need to have it checked. Depending on the actual cause of the sound/smell, you might need to get it replaced. Some serious signs that require replacement includes grinding or screeching noises from the aircon.
The lifespan of an average aircon system have a lifespan of about 8 to 12 years. If your system is within that range, or older, then it is a sign that it needs to be replaced. Generally, newer models are more energy efficient thanks to modern and advancing technology. With an upgrade to a new aircon, you may be saving more money in the long run. You should look at the product details of your aircon’s model to determine its true age and consider a replacement for the long-term benefits.
#6 System keeps running or short cycling
A normal aircon would have an on-and-off cycle to maintain the temperature on its given settings. If you notice that your aircon either runs continuously for long without cooling the place, or randomly switches itself off, then there is a high possibility that your aircon is faulty. There could be many different reasons for this ranging from as simple as a blown fuse or even to serious equipment failure. It would be best for you to call a technician to have it checked.
#7 Diminished air flow
A weakened airflow from your aircon could stem from several issues even if you are still getting cold air. It is possible that the cross-flow fan of your indoor unit is blocked, or damaged, or might even have serious issues with your unit’s indoor fan motor. Most likely you will have to get a technician down to troubleshoot the underlying cause of the diminished air flow and depending on your system, a repair may be expensive. You might want to replace the unit depending on what your technician finds.
#8 Excessive leaking or condensation
Condensation is very normal for your aircon’s outside unit but in excess, it could be a red flag for complications within. Generally, your aircon should be dry most of the time even if it is not in use. If you notice a drastic amount of water around your aircon unit, you should act immediately. Refrigerant leaks can pose a serious health issue and you will need to contact a professional who is well equipped and skilled to locate the source of the problem. Do note that if this is left untreated, the compressor of your unit will be damaged over time if you continue to use it and the leakage can also damage your home including the furniture and floors, or even start to encourage mold to grow.
So, should I replace or repair my aircon?
To sum it all up, the main two factors you will need to take note is:
1) Lifespan of your current aircon
If your aircon is not yet at its end of its lifespan, then you will need to weigh the cost benefits between repairing and replacing your aircon. Whenever you face an issue that you are unsure of, it would be best to call in a professional to inspect and advise you before you make any decisions. A reliable aircon contractor would be able to assess your aircon’s condition and help you make a better-informed choice given your budget and your needs.