With any asset, there comes a time when you wonder whether you should keep spending money milking it along or if it is time to replace it. Nobody likes to leave any useful life on the table, but it isn’t fun to keep spending money needlessly either. This holds true to one of the most costly things in your home – the air conditioning system. If you are trying to decide between AC repair and replacement, there are a few things to consider:
- The age of your unit — The older the unit, the less sense it makes to continue with AC repair. One way to decide is to use the $5,000 rule of thumb. Take the number of years your system has been in operation and multiply that by the AC repair estimate you have received. If that number is well under $5,000, you can feel comfortable proceeding with the repair; otherwise look into replacement more seriously. For example, if your unit is 7 years old and the estimate is for $500 (7 x $500 = $3,500), you are under the threshold to continue with the repair.
- The efficiency of your unit — You’ll note that once you hit 10 years of age, even a small AC repair estimate puts you over the $5,000 rule, but what is also important to recognize is that at this age it is probably costing you extra in cooling costs, too. If your unit is less than a 13 SEER, it may make more sense to replace it with a 15 or 16 SEER system.
- Do you plan to move soon? — This can throw the decision off a bit because you don’t want to spend money on a home you won’t likely recoup. However, if you’ll have trouble selling with an old system, it may be worth it in the long run to replace. Ask your real estate agent what their experience in the area tells them.