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Repair Your AC or Replace It? Use The $5,000 Rule

Posted on August 24, 2017 by Chris Lancaster

Repair or Replace ACSo you have an older air conditioner. You know eventually you’re going to have to replace it, but no one wants to think about that. The cost is not something any homeowner looks forward to paying. So you’ve been limping by, year after year, adding Freon every year, and paying the repair bills to keep it going. So where do you draw the line and say, “It’s finally time to replace it with a new one.”?  At Lancaster Brothers, our technicians get asked this question a lot. So how many AC repairs are too many? Luckily, there’s a simple formula you can use to help you decide. We call it the $5,000 rule.


Replacement Rule of Thumb

So what is the $5,000 rule?

Simply multiply the age of your AC unit by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it.

For example, if your unit is 10 years old and the repair will cost $350, multiply 10 x 350 to equal $3,500. It is less than $5,000, so it is okay to have it repaired. It’s a great guideline to help you decide.


Inefficiency Leads to Higher Energy Bills

AC Ineffciency leads to higher energy billsDo you ever wonder if your AC is just nickel and diming you to death? Here’s another rough rule to follow. Generally, if you have had your air conditioner repaired three or more times in the last three years, it’s time for a replacement. Parts are wearing, motors are losing their power, it’s losing efficiency every day and that is leading to higher energy bills. If your air conditioner is costing you in repair bills, chances are it’s also costing you in higher energy bills. It may make more sense to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model and start recouping your investment in energy savings.


Consider the Rising Cost of Freon

Most older systems use a refrigerant called Freon (R-22). If your repair involves adding Freon because of a refrigerant leak, you have something else to consider – rising Freon costs. If you have a Freon leak, you will have to add more every year. There’s just no getting around it. The price of Freon is rising each year. That’s because about 25 years ago, the EPA ordered the phasing out of Freon as part of an international treaty focused on protecting the ozone layer. Because production is limited, costs to charge existing units that are leaking R-22 refrigerant are rapidly increasing. By 2020, production of Freon will end, so the price will only continue to rise until then.

Production also ended in 2010 for new air conditioning units “charged” with R-22. Today’s air conditioners use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant (R-410A) instead of Freon, but it is not compatible with older models.


Let Lancaster Help with Repairs or Replacement

LennoxIf you experience problems with your older AC, we will be happy to take a look and either repair or replace the unit so you and your family stay cool and comfortable. Lancaster Brothers is proud to install Lennox air conditioners, so if your air conditioner is on its last leg, we will be happy to provide a free estimate. There are also rebates and financing available for qualifying systems, and our comfort specialist will let you know about available programs.

Our Customers Say It Best…

“Please pass along to Chris and Curt how much we appreciate them getting to us right away and for sending down two very professional men to do the job of replacing our AC/heater.  They were very conscientious about doing the job right.   It’s nice to have a hometown business we can count on. ”

– J & P, Louisburg, KS

Call us today at (913) 851-3399 with any questions, repair or replacement needs, or just to get a free quote on a new Lennox system!

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