When the time comes to turn on your air conditioner, it can be a heart-dropping event if warm air blows out. Many people are satisfied when an AC service tech comes out and simply adds refrigerant to their unit. Immediately, your home will become cool and crisp. However, is this the best option?
Your air conditioner does not consume refrigerant. Additionally, since it resides in a closed system, the refrigerant should not evaporate. So, if you need it added, that means the system is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced.
Many people believe that adding additional refrigerant, as needed, is a good way of avoiding repair costs. Unfortunately, this choice can often cause, more often than not, the problem to get worse and cost more in the long run.
Do you have a refrigerant leak?
If you have your air conditioner set for a certain temperature but it is not producing cold air, or certain rooms take longer to cool, you may have a refrigerant leak. Another sign is if you find water near your furnace, caused by ice buildup on the lines from the HVAC unit to the outside coils. A final signal of a problem is a growing utility bill. This means your air conditioner is working harder to keep your home cool and comfortable. Even a small leak can cause an electric bill to spike.
Should you repair or replace?
One of the best methods for determining if you should repair or replace your AC unit is multiplying the age of the unit by the repair cost. The standard rule of thumb is if the result is $5,000 or more, it is time to replace the unit. So, if your unit is 10 years old and the repair is $345, the result would be $3,450. In this instance, it is worth making the repair and getting more life from your unit. If your air conditioner is 15 years or older, this repair cost would warrant replacing the unit.