There are a few things homeowners should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to invest in air conditioner repair or replacement. The first is to determine if the AC unit is still worth saving. A well-maintained and properly-sized unit with a good record of regular servicing will typically last for 10 to 15 years. If it’s older than that, or it’s experiencing frequent problems, then a replacement might be the better option.
The second factor is determining what the actual cost of repair will be. Most technicians charge a basic service fee to come out and diagnose an issue, then there’s the cost of the parts. This can vary widely, with some components costing just a few dollars while others may be several thousand dollars. Finally, there’s the labor, which can range from $75 to $150 per hour.
If you have an older AC unit, it’s a good idea to have a home warranty policy in place. This will help to cover some or all of the cost of repairs, depending on the policy and terms.
Often, a problem with an AC unit will be a simple one that can be solved by the homeowner. For example, if a window AC unit keeps frozing up and producing warm air, the problem can be as simple as resealing the area around the unit.
A dirty air filter or indoor evaporator coil can also reduce the unit’s effectiveness. In these cases, the AC system will need to run longer and harder to keep up with cooling demands. It may even need to be recharged with refrigerant.
When a homeowner notices their unit running continuously and not keeping up with cooling needs, it can be a sign that the system is undersized or low on refrigerant. Both of these issues can be costly to resolve.
The best way to determine if the capacitor is bad is to remove it from its retaining bracket and touch an insulated screwdriver between the HERM (or “H”) terminal and the COMMON (or “C”) terminal. If the capacitor discharges, it’s bad and will need to be replaced.
Lastly, the owner of an AC unit should review the operating instructions to ensure that the unit has been properly installed. Incorrect installation can lead to vibration and a number of other problems. It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s warranty for coverage details. If a warranty is available, a professional technician will be able to assist with any claims.