This is a question we get all the time, when is it time to do a repair and when is it time to do a replacement?  Well there are many ways to determine this.

First thing to consider, how old is your system?  The system you installed 15 years ago is not as efficient as when it was first installed, nor was it ever as efficient as the options available now.  Upgrading could reduce your overall costs by reducing the amount of energy consumed.  So if your system is old, it might be better to upgrade than to repair.  What is “old”?  Energy Star says that if your system is greater than 10 years old, it’s probably best to do a replacement.  (If properly maintained, annual maintenance, your system can last closer to 15-20 years.)

Another thing to consider is the amount of repairs you’ve faced already.  If this is the first major repair your A/C has required, chances are it’s not quite time to replace.  But if you’re on repair #5, it might be time.  Go by the “$5000 rule,” take the cost of the repair times the age of the unit, if it’s greater than $5000, it’s probably time to replace.

Ex: Repair cost is $583 and your A/C is 9 years old.*

$583 x 9 = $5247

In this scenario, even though the A/C is only 9 years old, it might be better to replace than it is to repair.  It also works if you’ve done multiple repairs.

Ex: Replaced capacitor for $130, changed fuse for $112, replaced blower motor for $375 and your A/C is 11 years old.*

($130 + $112 + $375) x 11 = $6787

In this scenario, you’ve already put $617 into your system and chances are it’ll break down again, plus it’s well over the $5000 rule.  This is a situation when replacing is a definite possibility.

The type of refrigerant in your system should be a factor as well.  R22 is now a refrigerant of the past.  The newer systems are using R410 and the prices for R22 are going up like crazy.  We don’t even want to recharge systems with R22 anymore because the cost is too high, it isn’t a financially responsible decision.  So if your system needs more refrigerant but you have R22, talk to someone about upgrading.

Some other questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your A/C properly sized? We’ve learned that there’s more to sizing a unit than the square footage of your home, we have to consider hot spots, cold spots, insulation of doors and windows, roof type, outdoor landscaping, etc. They say approximately 50% of units are improperly sized, which means you’re either over-working your A/C or paying more by using a system that’s too large.
  • Are your energy bills increasing even though usage remains the same?  This means your A/C is not running as efficiently as it should.  Your failing system might need to be replaced.

If you aren’t sure whether a replacement is something you want to do, then ask the experts at Supreme Air Systems.  Our goal is to make your home as comfortable as possible, we want to come up with a plan that fits your property and your wallet.  If you want to set up a time to meet with one of our field reps, give us a call at 408-376-0406 or visit us online at

*Repair costs are not indicative of actual prices, just arbitrary numbers chosen for the examples.