How to Tell When to Get Your AC Unit Replaced Rather Than Repaired

A broken down air conditioner is an awful headache to anyone living in the Coachella Valley area, but it can be an even bigger headache if you don’t know whether it’s better to repair it or replace it. If you’ve called Hyde’s, you can trust that you’ll get an honest service recommendation, but not every HVAC contractor is as honest as we are.

That’s why it’s important to learn how to tell when you’re better off with an AC replacement than a repair. Here are three steps you can take to determine whether you should have your broken down AC unit repaired or replaced with a new system. 


Step #1: Determine Your Unit’s Age

If the HVAC system was replaced before you bought your home, you may not know how old it is, and it’s important to know the unit age because an older unit is more likely to need replacing rather than repairs. You can determine your AC unit’s age by looking at its serial number.

Serial numbers vary by manufacturer, so you may need help deciphering it. The Building Intelligence Center is an excellent resource to refer to.

Let’s say you have an American Standard AC unit. Most newer models of American Standard make it easy on you by featuring the date in the upper righthand corner of the data plate, but you may also see a 9-10 digit serial number in which you see the year, week and day of manufacture followed by five letters/numbers. So if it says 7124OTW4B that translates to year 7, week 12, day 4 or March 2007.

Air conditioners generally last 10-15 years, so if your unit is over 10 years of age, you may want to replace it rather than repair it.

Step #2: Consider How Many Times It Has Needed Repair

Whether you have a newer AC unit or an older one, if it needs frequent repairs, that’s a sign that it needs to be replaced. If you’re keeping up with your regular maintenance and still end up calling for repairs every year, those costs add up. It may be cheaper in the long run to just replace the air conditioner.

Step #3: Do The 5000 Rule Math

In the HVAC business, we use a simple formula call the 5000 Rule to determine whether an HVAC should be repaired or replaced.

Cost of Repair x Age of Unit < 5000

Essentially, take the quoted cost of repairing the AC and multiply it by the age of the AC. If that number is less than $5000 (the average cost of a replacement system), it’s better to repair the AC; if the total is greater than $5000 it’s cheaper to replace it.

If you follow these three steps, you’ll have no trouble knowing whether to repair your air conditioner or replace it. And remember to call Hyde’s at (760) 360-2202 whenever you have any air conditioning concerns!