Should I Repair My Air Conditioner Or Buy a New One?

When summer comes, bringing the blistering heat with it, your home is your personal safe haven against the heat, and that’s all thanks to your AC unit. That makes it a big problem when the unit breaks down, especially because it brings up the pressing question of repair, or replacement. Which is the most cost-effective solution?

There’s a lot more than just money factoring into the answer to that question. Here’s what you need to consider.

  • Age and type of the unit
  • Maintenance
  • Efficiency of the unit
  • Tax and other government incentives
  • Comfort and convenience
  • Red flags from current unit
  • Whether or not you’re planning on moving

Let’s break it down further.

Unit Type

The type of AC unit in your home makes the biggest difference as to whether or not repairing or replacing is the best option. If your unit is ten years old or older, the Energy Department and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) both recommend it be replaced. Otherwise, the rule of thumb is 50%. If the repair would cost 50% or more of the unit’s value, in all likelihood, you will save money by replacing it by virtue of the newer unit’s improved energy efficiency.

The unit type is also where tax incentives come into play. There are tax breaks for purchasing an energy efficient unit. On the opposite end, the EPA has been phasing out the R-22 refrigerant and therefore replacing parts for that type of unit will be increasingly difficult and costly as parts become more scarce.

Ultimately, the energy efficiency is where you’ll save money, so the tax and EPA incentives are bonuses of upgrading to a better unit.


For a unit that’s not quite old and is close to the 50% mark, it may be possible to stretch out its lifespan with some maintenance. The friendly professionals at Howard Air can help you determine whether or not repairs can return your unit to its optimal efficiency and what that upkeep would be.

Comfort and Convenience

A new AC unit comes with a new warranty and, generally a single visit to install. Repairing an older unit requires a visit to diagnose the problem, and then possibly a subsequent visit for installing needed parts. Both instances will require some time, but if your unit breaks down in the middle of summer, there will be loss of comfort and convenience while waiting for repairs.

Also worth noting is the air quality from your unit. A newer unit is more able to control temperature and humidity. This means better air quality and improved comfort for your home.

Red Flags

Your unit likely needs to be replaced if it:

  • Frequently breaks down during extreme weather or whenever else it’s used most
  • Creates uneven temperatures in the home
  • Makes excessive noise, which is often an indicator of overexertion

Contact us to talk about your options if your AC is putting up any of these red flags.


It would be best to talk to your real estate agent as to what would be in your best interest for your AC unit if you are planning on moving. Repairs are generally less expensive than replacing units, but brand new units are attractive to buyers.

Howard Air

If you’re still not certain about what is best for your unit, contact us at Howard Air. We can help you decide what would be the most cost-efficient solution for your needs and provide our professional recommendations for repair or replacement. Call us today!