When your AC stops working, you feel you have just entered a nightmare. You cannot stand being at home, and sleeping is impossible. Your house has turned into a sauna, and that is not what you want, particularly in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer.
You know you must do something right away. The question is whether it would be wiser to replace the unit or just go for a repair. The second question is, how much would either option cost, and which makes more sense.
- Repair or Replace Your AC
- Figuring Out the Cost
- Find an AC Professional
- When does your air conditioner need repair?
- What’s the best way to find a reliable HVAC technician?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Repair or Replace Your AC
There are certain factors that you need to consider before making a decision:
The Age of the Unit
Your AC unit should have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. However, things happen, and ACs break down. If your AC has stopped working and it is more than ten years old, replacing it with a more efficient model is a good idea. Although it implies an investment, you will save on your monthly bills since newer models are more energy-efficient.
When your AC unit requires additional refrigerant, you may be dealing with a leak. If your system still uses Freon (or R-22), you will not only be spending on the refrigerant itself plus the labor; you are also facing the fact that after 2020 Freon is no longer legally available. If your unit breaks down now, you may have no other option but to replace it.
You may think twice about replacing an AC unit purely on the amount in your energy bill. But if it is giving you trouble and you are not planning on moving out of the home soon, the energy savings of the new unit will be worth the investment.
Figuring Out the Cost
It’s been estimated that the average cost to repair an AC unit will run you about $335, with the repair generally ranging between $165 and $520, depending on the issue. The high end lies as high as $1,100.
If the air compressor needs to be replaced, you may be looking at a bill between $1,350 and $1,800, while the cost to repair the evaporator will fall between $650 and $1,200.
If you think these numbers are not helpful enough to make a decision, you can apply the following formula before writing a check – you just need to multiply the repair cost by the unit’s age. Let’s see an example.
Assuming your repair technician wants $400 to repair the unit and it is eight years old, that would give you $3,200. If the repair is $900 and the unit is 12 years old, you are looking at $10,800. In the first case, you may want to hold on and go with a repair, while in the second case, a replacement is your best option.
Find an AC Professional
There is no need for you to wait until your AC unit is broken and you are sweltering at home before looking for an AC professional that can perform regular maintenance and save you from needing emergency AC repair Orlando. By completing an annual AC maintenance check and spotting minor issues, you can have your AC running smoothly for years to come.
When does your air conditioner need repair?
Suppose you’re able to fix things around the house; kudos to you! However, fixing the AC unit isn’t something to do on your own. Instead, you should be responsible and call the HVAC technician when experiencing one of the following situations:
A foul smell
There are many reasons you sense a bad smell in your home, and a broken AC unit is one. Mold can grow on the inside of the air conditioning unit and cause a foul smell all around the house.
Until the HVAC technician comes, you should turn off the AC unit. If the mold gets blown into your house, it can alter the health of your family and pets.
The AC doesn’t blow cool air
If the AC unit no longer blows cool air into your home, the unit may have developed a severe problem. Even if you set the thermostat to the lowest temperature, there’s still hot air coming out of the ducts. No need to postpone the fixing; call the local repairmen as soon as possible.
The problem could occur because the unit is low on refrigerant; a damaged compressor could also be the problem. A broken duct could also be the reason for the situation. Call the professionals as the problem is dangerous.
The air doesn’t come out
You don’t want to know that your AC unit no longer runs in the middle of the hot summer. Most of the time, a clogged air filter is a cause. Debris and dirt clog the filter and stop the AC unit from blowing cool air.
A malfunctioning fan inside the unit or running slowly can also be the reason. Needless to say, the problem is one for professionals to solve.
A properly functioning air conditioner makes a subtle white noise that it’s easy to get used to. However, if the air conditioner unit starts to get louder than usual, you need to examine it.
Any abnormal sound should make you turn off the unit. Squealing, grinding, and any other sound that is not normal is enough of a reason to call the professionals.
The thermostat no longer runs
Just because the thermostat is broken doesn’t mean that the air conditioning unit is appropriately running. Many problems can affect the thermostat, and the AC unit is one too. Sometimes, it’s the faulty AC and not the control unit causing the problem.
You have to call the HVAC technician to check out the thermostat and the AC unit.
The energy bill is higher than usual
It’s understandable why your energy bill is high in the summer—you do run the unit all the time. However, if the energy bill gets high suddenly and you use the AC unit just the same, a broken AC unit may cause the increase.
Truth be told, many things can lead to a higher than usual energy bill. Duct leaks, dirty filters, and lack of refrigerant for the AC unit are common causes. Even poor installation of the AC unit can make it run harder and use more energy than usual.
Ask your neighbors about their energy bills. If the bill is higher than theirs, you should call the HVAC technicians for investigations. Failing parts, old systems, and improper maintenances can increase the energy bill.
Don’t skip the AC repair and think it’s okay; it’s only a matter of time until the AC unit develops a problem. Nip the problem in the bud to spare you higher spending in the future.
Your house is humid inside
An AC running properly keeps the house cool and also decreases the moisture in your home. When it’s excessive, it can cause severe problems such as damage to the home’s structure. Moisture in the house can lead to expensive repairs, so do yourself a favor and contact the HVAC professionals for repair work.
What’s the best way to find a reliable HVAC technician?
Should your AC unit develop problems, you have many HVAC technicians to choose from. You want to hire a reliable one so that you don’t call him any time soon. Pay attention to the following aspects when hiring:
He has a license from the Contractor State License Board
Even if the HVAC contractor says he’s licensed, that may not always be the case. A licensed HVAC contractor can work with gas lines, electrical and plumbing utilities. You have to look for an HVAC contractor with both the license and the expertise in these fields.
He has experience
We recommend you hire an HVAC technician with experience. Sure, it’s not a guarantee that he will do the best work, but it ensures a high chance of getting the job done. Ask for certifications and training with every system. For example, the NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence) guarantees the technicians’ education and if they’re up to date or not. Also, technicians servicing AC units need authorization from EPA-approved exams.
Provides you with a home evaluation of their services
The contractor should offer a complete home evaluation to solve the heating and cooling installation issues. The home evaluation depends on factor such as:
- Square footage
- R-value of insulation
- Number of windows and direction they are a place
When evaluating your home, the contractor should check out:
- Loose insulation and segments
- Duct system for leaks
Collect references and referrals
Ask for references and referrals from contractors and contact them. Friends, neighbors, family, and local trade organizations can also give you info about HVAC contractors in your area. Check out the reviews and take them with a grain of salt.
Pay attention to bidding
Don’t go with the lowest bidder. Ideally, you should hire a reliable contractor, even if it’s pricier than others. Contractors with a low bid might not have insurance, license, or experience, leading to poor performance. If you go with the lowest bidder, you might end up hiring another contractor and spend a lot more than anticipated.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you typically pay for servicing the air conditioner?
Every repair or replacement that your AC unit requires will cost you a specific amount of money. You may need to pay around $30 for the AC servicing, and most people will pay anywhere from $150 to $400 for the AC servicing.
What does HVAC mean?
HVAC means Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC refers to the various systems that move air between indoor and outdoor areas, along with heating and cooling for residential and commercial spaces.
Is it necessary to give your AC a break?
Running the AC is not great for the environment and keeps your electricity bill high. Additionally, it can wear down the AC a lot sooner than expected. Every now and then, you should stop running the Air conditioner. The components will rest and the AC will last for a longer time.
How often is it necessary to give the air conditioner a break?
With proper maintenance and servicing, air conditioning units can last for a long time. It doesn’t mean that accidents cannot occur all of a sudden. Expect to replace your AC unit after 10 to 15 years. Stick to the maintenance scheduling and store the unit correctly once the weather gets cold. It will help with durability.
How bad is it to run the AC all day?
Running your air conditioner isn’t dangerous, and it won’t cause a fire or other severe disaster in your home. For many, running the AC all the time is a better option than turning it off in the morning and back on when coming back home from work.
Should you replace the 20-year old air conditioner?
Most HVAC systems will last from 15 to 20 years. As systems age, they become less efficient. If your HVAC is already ten years old, you should consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. Look for a unit with Energy Star certification.