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Air Conditioner Repair or Replace: 3 Things to Know Before Deciding

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Last Updated on January 15, 2020


air conditioner repair or replace

When it’s only June and you’re already wondering if your aging air conditioner will make it through the summer, it’s not a good situation. Maybe you’ve been told it needs some repairs. That puts you in a tough position: do you spend the money on a commercial air conditioner repair to get through the summer? Or do you bite the bullet now and invest in a new system?

Air conditioner repair or replace decisions are challenging even for the experts. After all, predicting how much more life you might get from your existing system is not an exact science. However, there are three situations happening right now that are certain to have an impact on your decision.

Keep reading to find out what you need to know before making an air conditioner repair or replace decision.

3 new developments that could change your air conditioner repair or replace choice

For businesses and those with old R22 air conditioners, recent developments might make your air conditioner repair or replace decision easier.

1. Air conditioner repairs cost is going way up.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, chances are it uses R22 refrigerant (also known as Freon). Here’s the bad news: R22 has been phased out and can no longer be manufactured or imported in the U.S. Prices for any remaining R22 on the market are skyrocketing because supply is dwindling. And that affects the price of repairing your old unit.

If you’re facing an air conditioner repair or replace decision for an R22 air conditioner, the repair estimate might make the decision for you. It might not be worth putting that much money into an aging piece of equipment that’s nearing the end of its life.

2. You’ll have to replace your old R22 air conditioner soon anyway.

If you have an air conditioner that uses R22 refrigerant, the news only gets worse. When R22 is no longer available, you may not be able to repair it. The refrigerant needed for many types of repairs may not be available. There may be vendors selling reclaimed R22 from old systems, but the price will likely be prohibitive.

So at that point, your air conditioner repair or replace decision will be made for you. When it breaks, you will be forced to replace it.

Here’s what people don’t realize: that will be THE WORST time to get an air conditioner replacement!

Why? Because everyone else with a broken R22 air conditioner will be in the same situation you are. There will be a huge increase in demand for new air conditioners at that time, which will likely mean long wait times for installations.

What happens if your business depends on air conditioning and you have to wait weeks or longer without AC? Will you be forced to operate without it during a heat wave? For many types of businesses, you could lose a lot of revenue during that time.

That’s why, if your aging air conditioner uses R22 (and especially if you’re having problems with it) your air conditioner repair or replace decision is a no-brainer. Replacement is the way to go. You’ll save both time and money by getting ahead of the rush.

Learn more: Your R22 Air Conditioner: Repair or Replace Guidelines

3. New tax laws give you a big break when you buy a commercial air conditioner replacement.

Finally, some good news! Your air conditioner repair or replace decision might cost you money, but the new tax laws give you back some of the cost of air conditioner replacement. Typical savings can be at least $5000 for an average system! For a large system with many components, the savings can be quite substantial. Take a look at this website about the new tax changes that provides example calculations.

Since the new tax law was passed, businesses can immediately expense heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment. Now you can write off the ENTIRE COST of all components in the year you purchase them.

That’s a big change from the old tax rules. Before the new law, you had to depreciate the cost of HVAC components over a period of 39 years. We wish the equipment lasted that long! Under the old accounting rules, your tax write off would be a few hundred dollars when you purchased an average $14,000 HVAC system.

Learn more: Get a Big Tax Break When You Replace an R22 Air Conditioner

More advice for making an air conditioner repair or replace decision

If you’re not a business owner, or your air conditioner doesn’t use R22, we can still offer you some advice for making your air conditioner repair or replace choice. In this case, replacement might now always be the right decision.

First things first:

Don’t decide on the spot. Be wary of any service provider that insists you need to rush into a decision to buy a new air conditioner. Be even more wary if they have not offered an adequate explanation of what’s wrong- or they can’t answer your air conditioning repair questions.

Get an unbiased assessment of your equipment’s condition. Look for an HVAC company that does both new equipment installations and repair service. That way, you can be sure they have no vested interest in advising you to repair or replace the air conditioner.

Next, read our free guide to help you gather the facts and make an informed air conditioner repair or replace decision: Repair or Replace? A guide to making an informed choice when your HVAC system is down.

Repair-vs-Replace CTA