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Should You Repair or Replace Your Old AC?


Happy springtime! Are you enjoying the beautiful weather? Getting out there and gardening, grilling, or going for a hike? Don’t forget, though, that you want to be prepared for summer before the heat really hits. How’s your air conditioner doing? Getting old? Needing repair? Or could it possibly be time to stop repairing your old AC and replace it instead?

There is no one simple answer to the question of when to stop repairing your air conditioner and start looking into your AC replacement options. Instead, there are a variety of factors you should consider while you’re trying to make that decision. We’ll tell you the things to keep in mind and give you some hints about how to weigh them.


Your air conditioner is certainly not new if you’re thinking about whether to replace it. But how old is it? Anything over ten years is definitely getting to retirement age, though an air conditioner will sometimes last 12-15 years or so.


Annual maintenance makes a huge difference in how long an air conditioner will last, and therefore how long it’s reasonable to keep investing in repairs for it. If your AC has been professionally maintained each year, it is much more likely to make it to 12-15 years. If it’s never had maintenance, it might only last 6-7 years.

Repair Frequency

Some repairs don’t take long or cost very much. They might not be a particularly big concern to you. But if they’re happening again and again, those costs will eventually add up to quite a lot. And as your air conditioner ages, repairs will only get more frequent, not less.

Repair Cost

If you’re looking at a significant repair need in order to get your air conditioner in shape to run this summer, how much will it cost to have that done? Keep in mind the other considerations. A five-year-old air conditioner that’s been maintained every year is worth repairing, even if the repair is expensive. A ten-year-old air conditioner that’s only sometimes had maintenance might not be.

The 50% Rule

One way to consider these factors is the 50% Rule. This is the idea that an AC repair is only worth it if the expense is less than 50% of the cost to replace the unit. If the repair would be more than half of the cost of a new unit, get the new unit instead.

The 5000 Rule

To get a slightly more specific answer, you could try the 5000 Rule. Take the age of the unit in years and multiply that by the projected cost of the repair it needs right now. Is your answer less than 5000? Get the repair. More than 5000? Replace the unit instead. If your answer is just about exactly 5000, consider the other factors, and repair a well-maintained unit, or replace one that needs frequent repairs.

If you have any other questions about your options for a new AC unit or about air conditioning repair in Beaver Dam, WI, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

You can always count on 24-Hour Home Comfort Services, your heating and cooling specialists.

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