When To Repair Or Replace Your AC System – Valley Experts Share Insight

When To Repair Or Replace Your AC System – Valley Experts Share Insight

(PHOENIX) – Sometimes it’s a no-brainer: your AC unit is 15 years old, you spent $500 last year on repairs and this year it’s going to cost $1,500 to fix. But what if your unit is 10 years old and a repair will cost $500? 

Age and price are important factors, but not the only ones when considering whether to replace or repair. 

While every situation is unique, the experts at Donley AC & Plumbing offer these guidelines: 

1. Age

Although the U.S. Department of Energy says the average lifespan of a central air conditioner is 15 to 20 years, we generally experience a shorter lifespan in Arizona– closer to 12-15 years.  Even if your AC is 10 years old, the DOE says you may save 20-40% on energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.


Annual visits to address preventive maintenance are good. Annual visits for major repairs are not. If significant components like the compressor or condenser fail, you may want to consider replacing the unit. Many older units rely on R-22 refrigerant, which the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out this year. Only existing stockpiles are available and with limited supply comes higher prices. When determining whether repair or replacement is a better investment, some people rely on the ‘5,000 rule’. You multiply the AC’s age by the cost to repair it and if it equals more than $5,000, it might be a better investment to replace the unit. It’s important to remember each situation is unique and most units come with a 10-year warranty. 

3. Efficiency

If your AC runs a lot, doesn’t cool your home properly and your energy bills are higher than they should be, you may want to replace the unit, especially if it’s older.

Here are examples of inefficient units:   

  • Failing to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat.   
  • You lowered the temperature 1-2 degrees and the unit never reaches the new, lower setting.    
  • Your home is cool in the morning but not in the afternoon and evening.
  • The unit runs continuously.
  • Blows fuse, it’s replaced, works okay for a while, and then blows fuse again.


About Donley AC & Plumbing

Jim and Mike Donley and their employees have been providing honest, caring service to Arizonans since 1976. Family-owned Donley AC & Plumbing has twice been honored with the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics Award. Donley technicians receive ongoing training to provide the most comprehensive service for air conditioning, plumbing, heating, sewer repair, maintenance management, and solar hot water.  www.donleyservice.com

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