The purchase and installation of a new air conditioning unit requires significant financial resources for any homeowner. For this single reason, it should not be taken lightly. Still, there are times when it makes sense to install a new unit rather than continue to repair the old one year after year. Here is a quick rundown of the most important things that should be considered:
The Cost of Upkeep for an Old AC Unit
General Maintenance. An older air conditioning unit—especially one that is more than 15 years old—needs to be serviced four times per year rather than the usual two for newer units. This can cost upwards of $200 per year. And that’s just for the standard service call with no repairs. This amount can easily double or triple with even the smallest of repairs. For example, the replacement of a faulty condenser fan routinely runs around $400 or $500.
Coolant. Older units used outdated—and now outlawed!—coolants that become increasingly expensive as the years go by. If an HVAC unit requires Freon (R22) as its primary coolant, a homeowner can be facing a yearly or semiannual bill of $500 ($100 per lb of Freon) just to have it recharged. Any homeowner with an HVAC unit more than 10 years old should evaluate the cost of routine recharging vs replacement. It just makes good financial sense.
Operating costs. Often the monthly—and always increasing!—operating expenses are overlooked when it comes to comparing the cost of a new HVAC unit to just repairing the old one. In many cases, the inefficiency of an older unit can cost $100 or more every month in wasted electricity. Do not fail to consider this number whenever deciding on a new air conditioning unit.
As you can easily see, an old AC unit can cost in excess of $600 or more in the peak months just to be kept in relatively usable shape. And this number doesn’t include air conditioning repairs for any catastrophic occurrences.
Now let’s calculate the energy consumption savings.
The Real Cost of a New Air Conditioner: Energy Savings
Your old air conditioner actually costs more to run, because it has a lower SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). How much more? It can cost you 50 percent more and higher. Have a look at this calculator from Lennox:
Financing Your Air Conditioning Investment
It’s understandable if you don’t have a huge chunk of cash on-hand for things like a new air conditioner. That’s why many HVAC companies offer financing programs to help take the burden off your shoulders. We offer financing programs through the EnergyLoan program and Wells Fargo.
The Keystone Home Energy Loan Program is a special program for Pennsylvania homeowners to finance energy saving home improvements. All Pennsylvania homeowners who are making qualifying improvements to their primary residence or second home are eligible. Good credit and the ability to repay are required, however all income levels are eligible.
The Bottom Line: Invest in a New Air Conditioner to Save Money in the Long Run
When you run the numbers, it’s pretty clear that investing in a new air conditioner saves you money in the long-run IF you use it frequently.
- Your AC is less than 5 years old (the difference in SEER between now and five years ago is enormous)
- Your household rarely uses air conditioning
- You are planning on selling your home soon
- You enjoy chatting frequently with AC repair technicians
Then you can get by with an older AC unit until it dies. A new air conditioner will increase the property value of your home, so consider that as well. If your AC is less than 5 years old and you already need an AC replacement, you need to talk to your supplier about the warranty that should have come with your unit. If you don’t have a warranty, you’re out of luck.
Contact Jack Lehr for New AC Installation in the Lehigh Valley!
For more information on the pros and cons of a new AC unit vs. repairs on an older one in the Greater Lehigh Valley/Allentown, PA area, please contact us today! We can be found online at JackLehr.com or you can phone us directly at 888-454-7365. Our certified techs and experienced in-house staff are always ready to answer any of your electrical or HVAC-related questions.