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After an air conditioner achieves ten years of use, it is wise to assess the quality of the unit. If the unit seems to be running fine – creating cold air and making a sound no louder than a low hum – normal preventative maintenance should continue. This includes changing filters frequently, checking for frozen coils, and checking for water leaks. If the sound of the air conditioner ever exceeds a low hum, or if it ceases to produce cold air, it is either time to call an air conditioning specialist or replace the air conditioning unit altogether.
If you decide to call a specialist, be sure to ask if there is a fee for an estimate. Usually there is not if the specialist’s company is popular, but it is always good to ask. After the specialist gives an estimate and tells you what the problem is, it’s time to ask which route is better. Pay a specialist to repair the ten-year-old air conditioner or buy a new one?
Because there are many kinds of air conditioning units – window units, central units, outdoor units, etc – there are also many prices ranges. Window units are usually the cheapest to buy, but not always the cheapest to repair. Central and outdoor units are more expensive but, often, less expensive to repair depending on the severity of the problem. Simple math is required to find out which alternative – reparation or the purchase of a new unit – is the most cost-effective.
Here is a good method to determine which route to take, and it applies to all types of units: if the price of reparation is more than half of the initial cost of the unit, it is wise to consider purchasing a new unit. Even if you do repair the present problem with your air conditioner, since it is old, it is likely a new problem will arise in the near future. Therefore, if the cost of reparation is more, even a little more, than half of the initial cost of the unit, it’s best to start looking for a brand new unit. A new unit will most likely last longer than a ten-year-old unit that just underwent repairs.
If you find that the cost of repair is less expensive than half the initial cost of the air conditioner, you may want to consider paying a specialist to repair the unit, especially if the cost for reparation is a fourth, or less, of the initial cost. A ten-year-old unit is fairly old, but, if the brand is reputable, a repair may keep it running for ten more years.
Weigh the pros and cons of each alternative and do some research before making a final decision. Check prices of new units and call more than one specialist to compare estimates. The decision is up to you. Make the most cost-effective decision and, remember, don’t always take the cheapest route to returning your unit to working order.