13 Jul 2014

Is my A\C unit worth fixing

Growing trends in the HVAC Industry and new construction building. No Comments

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Is my Air Conditioning unit worth fixing?

Is my A\C unit worth fixing is a question I get all the time. Sometimes I get that question even before I tell the customer whats wrong. We have become familiar with some items that are cheaper to replace then to repair. A lot of the inexpensive things we buy today are just not lasting that long and are not worth fixing. Why spend $700 fixing a 42 inch flat screen tv when you can buy a 52 inch for $1100? After all the 42 can break again cant it.

Air conditioning units are not that easy to throw away. It takes a qualified person to remove and replace the outdoor and indoor coils. Window units are much easier to throw away and just buy a new one, if you have one you bought at the Home Crappo. But what if you have a better unit?

I try to convey to my customers that I am a service repair technician and I believe I can fix almost anything. My feelings are that unless there is a major breakdown in the system almost all systems are worth fixing. There are to many companies and customers out there right now that do not properly maintain air conditioning systems and the result is a system that does not work properly for several years in a row, then they offer finance plans and rebates in order to sweeten the offer for a new replacement system. When had they just  (or you) taken good care of your system it would work well and be efficient. I have seen systems last thirty years or more. Then get replaced with a modern system that did not cool as well.

I have a friend in Myrtle Beach SC who had a basic heat pump that came with the house. Never had any problems with it, the company that maintained his system recommended a new system. So he went for it in hope of avoiding problems and saving electric. He had his 12 seer basic system replaced with a Trane 15 seer system. So far it has broken 4 times and my buddy just can’t tell if there is any real savings on his bill. When your a/c or heat pump unit is installed in an attic there are factors that control your electric bill other then the seer rating of the system.

Unventilated attics are extremely hot and are the cause of larger electric bills. Soffits and ridge vents do very little, they are minimum code. Large gable vents and a good sized fan are what is needed to move enough air to bring the attic down to just 10 to 20 degree’s above ambient. If it’s 90 outside most attic’s are 135 degree’s.

For example the speed the air moves thru the system plays a large part. How cold the air is also matters. A 12 seer air conditioning system installed in a hot attic that has a strong blower a large compressor and the air is coming off the coil at very cold temperature  may in fact cost you almost the same in electric compared to 15 seer unit with a weaker blower moving air that is only warmer with a much smaller compressor.

Replacement central air systems are not cheap, and they come in so many types and SEER ratings that it is difficult to decide what to do and which one to choose. In the Northeast region where I live around Fishkill New York the residential air conditioning season is only four months tops sometimes less. If your existing system cooled your house very nicely for lets say $150 per month in electric. That’s a total cost of $600 for the season. This is just an exercise your actual cost may be more or less.If you replace that system with a 15 SEER system that uses $100 per month in electric. Then your cost for the summer is just $400…That is a big difference isn’t it? That’s $200 a season in savings.

So now we take the $6000 cost for the upgrade and add it to the mix and it will only take 30 years to get to where that $200 is straight out profit. And that is if nothing goes wrong in that thirty years and you need a new system again. Most people will be talked into changing there system out in 10 years.

Is my A\C unit worth fixing? The answer is yes your A\C system is worth fixing and it’s worth maintaining.


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