Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner

Should you repair or replace your existing air conditioner? If something breaks or is under-performing, it’s tempting to pursue the easy fix and pay for repairs to get it up and running again as soon as possible. That quick-fix may seem to make sense now, but it may not offer the best value in the long run.

Here is a quick evaluation to help you decide which path to take when considering a repair versus replacement air conditioner unit.


Age of Existing Equipment

Most air conditioners are designed for a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. If your existing unit is approaching end of life cycle, you may be better off considering a replacement unit. As units age, there is an additional risk of developing other problems.

Older units are prone to considerations like:

  • Compressor failure
  • Much lower energy-efficiency than today’s standard models
  • Reduce performance due to maintenance lapses



The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio requirements for many air conditioner units have improved so dramatically in the past 20 years, that the cost of not using a more efficient model must be figured into any decision. It’s hard to think that an inefficient model might be worth repairing if a new model could be saving you hundreds of dollars annually.


Repair History

Has the unit been maintained? Has there been a history of major repairs? A reliable, long-term solution is a unit that you don’t have to worry about. If the existing unit is a patchwork of repairs, it might be time to consider a new unit and eliminate the sleepless anxiety!


Cost of Repair

We usually recommend that people consider the value of the repair vs the value applied to a new unit. It’s similar to a decision to repair a car. Taking into account the age of the unit and the cost to replace it, you can decide how best to proceed.


Likeliness of Moving

Your plans to stay in your home or move in the next few years can affect how you want to proceed with an air conditioner repair. Some situations would warrant immediate replace as it might add value to a home sale because it is “completed item”. New homebuyers appreciate updated appliances and mechanical systems. It also can help minimize any exposure following an inspection that might actually cost you money in a sale.



Is the equipment still under warranty or even in business still? Choosing a reputable brand that will continue to support you is important for any home improvement mechanical unit. If the unit is still under warranty, it’s a very simple decision to have it examined by your local brand HVAC servicer. Depending on the severity of the repair or if the issue is warrantable, you should be able to make an educated decision with your contractor on how to handle the repair.


Every situation we handle is different. We all have different financial situations, plans for our homes, and age of our mechanical systems. Know that at Pharo Heating & Cooling we are committed to helping you make the right decision for you. Our experts are equipped with all the tools to make the repair or replacement as easy as possible.


About the Authors:

Clint Pharo is a local HVAC Contractor in Madison, WI. He and his team of HVAC professionals at Pharo Heating & Cooling cover a broad range of services in commercial buildings, new home construction and residential homes and locally represent Bryant Heating and Cooling Products. He regularly posts on his company’s blog at

Ben Lindberg is partner in a marketing and design house in Madison, WI called Lion Tree Group. He regularly blogs at the Bark and Roar blog at