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Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

The 50% Rule for Replacing vs. Repairing Your Air Conditioner

Nobody is excited at the cost of replacing an air conditioner, but how can you tell when it’s time to replace it vs. when it just needs a repair or two? When you get hit with a huge repair bill that you weren’t expecting, that question comes up, and it’s hard to navigate for any homeowner.

Either way, you need air conditioning repair in Northbrook, IL, but thankfully there’s a rule of thumb that can help you figure out what the right move is for you and your family: the 50% rule. It’s designed to help you make a smart decision for your home without being too stressful, now let’s break down what it is.

Basics of the 50% Rule

In short, the 50% rule dictates that if you get a repair bill that’s 50% or more of the price of a brand-new air conditioner, then it’s time to replace the entire system. Paying 50% of the sticker price of a brand new unit just to repair your current one doesn’t make sense, because that new unit doesn’t have years of wear and tear on it like your current unit does.

This rule comes up when you have one or more critical components of your air conditioner break that you simply can’t replace for cheap, or if there’s a chain reaction of damage in your system as it stands now.

The argument is that the efficiency of your current unit won’t be as good as a brand new system, and that isn’t the last big repair you’re going to pay for on this one unit. After enough time, you’re essentially paying the full price of a new air conditioner just to maintain your current one. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

How to Identify When the Costs Are Too Much

Maybe the price is around the 40-45% cost of a new air conditioner. Well, what do you do then? Tally up a few thing and you’ll quickly know what makes sense:

  • System Age: Is the air conditioner more than 10 years old? If so, it has 5 years left on it at best.
  • Lifetime Repair Costs: Take the receipts from previous repairs and add it up to this repair cost. Does it make sense to keep repairing the same unit?
  • Monthly Energy Bills: Find out how much you’re spending on air conditioning and ask yourself: is your unit simply not doing enough? Could you benefit from a more energy efficient model?
  • Rebate Programs: If you make the jump from air conditioner to heat pump, you may be able to have a lot of the initial price taken care of with a rebate through the Inflation Reduction Act. Could now be the time to upgrade your home without breaking the bank?

What’s the Right Move for Your Home?

Your air conditioner might be perfectly fine to repair and keep strong for a few years, but it depends on a lot of variables. Let’s get in there and take a look so we can determine whether or not you’re due for a replacement, or if a repair will be a good idea in the meantime.

Contact us today to schedule your air conditioner replacement as soon as possible.

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