Heating and Air Conditioning systems don’t fail all at once — they fail one repair at a time. Over time if you fall into the repair trap you can wind up paying for a system twice. When is the right time to decide to replace an aging system? We’ve developed some guidelines for our service techs that may be helpful in making your decision:
Angie’s List $5,000 Rule.It may not seem like a lot to repair one component but over time it isn’t the best use of your money. Angie’s List recommends that if the cost of the repair multiplied by the age of the unit exceeds $5,000 the you should consider replacing the component.
Example: Replace fan motor on a 12 year old condenser.
Repair cost $425 X 12 years old = $5,100.
Example: Replace contactor on an 8 year old condenser.
Repair cost $234 X 8 years old = $1,872
Based on Warranty.Another rule of thumb is the warranty period. Anytime a system is out of warranty you should consider replacement.
Based on Efficiency and Matched System.By continuing to replace one piece of a system at a time you are not achieving the efficiency you could. A 16 SEER condenser may only get 11 SEER when connected to a 15 year old evaporator coil.
If you do change a component, do not match it with your older system. Think about which system you would prefer if you were replacing everything. Then, purchase the replacement component that will allow you to have a high efficient match in the future. (i.e.: purchase a variable speed air handler in anticipation of a variable speed condenser in the future.)