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Problems with your air conditioning unit can be a serious inconvenience, especially in the warm climate of Venice, FL. Perhaps you’re having problems with your unit and wonder if you should repair or replace your air conditioner. Making the decision to repair or replace will require that you first weigh several factors and determine which of these options makes the most sense given your personal preferences and budget. Remember that the HVAC professionals at Aqua Plumbing & Air will be happy to help you as you make this decision. Keep the following factors in mind when choosing between repairing and replacing your current unit.

Your Air Conditioning Unit’s Age

The age of your home’s HVAC system will be a key factor in determining if you should repair or replace your air conditioner. ENERGY STAR and the EPA recommend replacing units that are more than 10 years old with newer, more efficient units. If you don’t remember when your A/C unit was installed, check with the manufacturer. If you moved into a home that already had an A/C unit installed, you may be able to find information about the age of the system in your mortgage documents.

A professional technician can also help determine the general age of your A/C system. You can also look for an ENERGY STAR label on the main A/C unit to determine if it has receive a high energy-efficiency rating or not. If you’re using a ductless system, you may need to check and replace your outside condenser or heat pump and your indoor air handling units to allow for optimal efficiency.

Your Air Conditioning Unit’s Efficiency

Most energy experts agree that cooling your home can account for up to 50 percent of your home electricity bill. In hot Venice, FL summers, your A/C unit may account for upwards of 60 percent of your overall electricity costs. If you’ve noticed that your bills have been rising without any changes to your energy usage habits, it may be time to replace your air conditioner. Check the main unit and all documentation to see if your A/C unit has an ENERGY STAR rating. If the unit doesn’t have one of these ratings, it is likely to be inefficient and may need to be replaced.

The Cost of Repairs vs. The Cost of Replacement

One of the biggest factors you’ll have to weigh when you decide to repair or replace your air conditioner is overall cost. Keep the following guidelines in mind when weighing your repair and replacement options:

  • If repairs will cost more than 50 percent of your unit’s overall value, it is generally best to replace the unit.
  • If you have had your unit repaired frequently in the course of the last one or two years, you will likely save money by replacing the unit.
  • If the unit is still under warranty and you are not paying for repairs, it is generally best to have the unit repaired.

Keeping a file for all of your repair and maintenance invoices will help you determine if repair costs for your A/C unit are getting out of hand. Working with the same technician anytime you need repairs completed is also a good way to stay apprised of ongoing issues with your A/C unit that might be cause for replacement.

Tax Credits, Incentives, Rebates and Financing

Many home and business owners hesitate to buy a new air conditioning unit because the cost of doing so can seem daunting. However, it’s important that you investigate your tax credit, incentive and rebate options before ruling out a new purchase. You might find that you can save a substantial amount of money when you buy a new unit thanks to these credits. Remember that you will need to buy units with high ENERGY STAR ratings to qualify for most tax credits and incentives.

Check with your local utility company to see if any incentives or rebates are offered for the installation of an energy-efficient HVAC system. In some areas, utility companies work with banks and manufacturers to offer low-interest financing for the purchase of new A/C systems. Be sure to look into your financing options before discounting the possibility of purchasing a new system. You should also remember that it may not be wise to finance a new A/C system if any of the following apply:

  • The building has significant structural issues that must be addressed in order to provide for efficient heating and cooling.
  • You plan on selling the building within the next year to a buyer who will be making substantial improvements to the property.
  • Your unit is still under warranty and is providing a reasonable level of service.

Overall Home Comfort

Don’t forget to take your overall comfort into consideration when deciding if you will repair or replace your air conditioning unit. Keep the following signs that your A/C unit isn’t providing for maximum comfort in mind:

  • Your home is never as cool as you’d like.
  • Some rooms are much hotter or cooler than others.
  • You are having problems controlling the humidity in your home.
  • Your A/C unit makes strange noises when running or starting.
  • You notice new dust buildup when using your A/C unit.

Thanks to advances in technology, you have many options when it comes to repairing or replacing your air conditioning unit. Remember that working with a qualified professional is the best way to ensure success whether you choose to repair or replace your unit.