Air conditioners: When to repair, replace


Although this summer hasn't been very warm, we still have several weeks to go. If your air-conditioner needs a mid-summer tune-up here are some factors to think about  before calling for service.


It's never fun paying for appliance repairs. And, even if you're just buying freon for your air conditioning you'll want to shop around.


Angie's List just finished some research on air conditioner repairs, and the website's founder says prices can vary a great deal,  "We saw areas of the

country where it was as low as $40 a pound.. all the way up to $125 a pound."


Industry Change: New Freon


Hicks also points out that a change in the industry could complicate any decisions on whether to repair or replace your air conditioning unit. R-22 freon is now being phased out. "The process started in 2004 and it will be completely banned by 2020." explained Hicks.


R-22 freon will be replaced by a new, more environmentally friendly refrigerant called R-410-A.


So, what do you do if your R-22 air conditioner breaks down now? Hicks says follow the five thousand dollar rule. "If you find out how much the repair is going to be and the number of years old your air conditioner is. If the two multiplied together add up to more than $5000 -- you should go ahead and replace your unit." advised Hicks


For example, if your unit is eight years old and repairs would cost you two-thousand dollars: eight multiplied by two is $16,000. So it might be better to take the plunge and replace that unit.


The average air conditioner should last you about 16 years and newer ones are already equipped to run the new refrigerant.