820 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 6
Chesapeake, Va 23320
- 2646
Office: 757-655-6447 | FAX: 757-523-6530

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Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

Darren Kincaid - Friday, September 01, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VACheck these factors before deciding whether your A/C needs to be replaced.

Consider the age of your A/C

Age is one of the most important factors to consider when it's time to repair or replace an air conditioner.

The 5,000 rule

Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it. For example, a 10-year-old unit with a $350 repair equals $3,500. It’s OK to repair.

Energy efficiency matters

Recent advances in A/C technology have greatly improved energy efficiency. Energy Star recommends upgrading to an energy-efficient unit if your current central air conditioner is 10 or more years old. Many HVAC technicians say they typically recommend replacing units if they are 15 years or older. The average lifespan of an A/C unit is about 14 years.

R-22 can influence your options

If an A/C unit requires additional refrigerant it signals there’s a coolant leak.

Topping off a system with R-22 refrigerant, known as Freon, costs as much as $40 to more than $175 per pound — which may also include the cost of the service call. Fixing the leak and putting in several pounds of refrigerant can cost $550 to $1,000.

A unit that takes R-22 that develops a leak should probably be replaced. Once you get a leak, the compressor (which can cost up to $2,000) will usually go out eventually.

Repairing a leak, adding refrigerant and replacing a compressor can cost about the same as buying a new, low-end unit.

R-22 prices, meanwhile, have soared in recent years due to the EPA's eventual phaseout. HVAC manufacturers stopped making units charged with R-22 in 2010. Production of R-22 will end 2020.

Other factors affecting the repair/replace decision

Aside from the unit’s age, a few other signs can signal it’s time to replace your air conditioner, according to Energy Star. Consider how frequently you make repairs, whether your energy bills are rising or if your home is too hot in the summer.

How long are you going to live in the house, and what are your utilities like?. If the unit is older and the repair is a couple hundred dollars, it may not be worth fixing.

If you do buy a new, energy-efficient A/C unit — which costs $3,600 to $7,200 — Energy Star estimates a 20 percent savings on heating and cooling costs.

On the other hand, some HVAC technicians say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If your system shows no leaks and your energy bills are low, there is no reason to replace it.

To gauge the condition of your existing A/C, schedule an inspection with an HVAC technician.

For more information, contact Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VA.


Reasons for an AC Tune-Up

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAHeating and cooling technicians often find mice and chipmunks and spiders and other unwelcome critters in air conditioning units during spring inspections. They make their nest in the outdoor unit’s electrical service panel and create all kinds of havoc. Even spider nests interfere with the low voltage process.

The potential for a rodent invasion is just one reason why it’s important to get your air conditioning system checked, before the weather warms up too much.

In addition, a properly maintained system lasts longer, costs less to run, and is more efficient.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, lack of maintenance is the number one killer of HVAC systems.

The site recommends getting a professional tune-up before every cooling season.

Energy.gov reports that 48 percent of the energy use in a typical home in the United States goes to heating and cooling. For most homeowners, that makes it their largest household energy expense.

It’s all the more reason to make sure these systems are operating at peak efficiency.

While a spring tune-up ensures optimum operating conditions, such routine seasonal maintenance also helps uncover hidden problems that include mold or bacteria building up in the drain system inside the house. A professional can easily and quickly detect and treat these problem.

A multi-point check involves opening up the air-conditioning unit and checking for uninvited guests as well as other potential issues. Technicians make sure cooling coils are clean so they function at peak performance.

Here are three easy steps that homeowners can take care of on their own:

1. Change the furnace filter.

Many people think their furnace filter only applies to the heating season, but it's very critical in the cooling season as well. Lack of clean air flow will cause your unit to stop cooling and ice up inside, creating a service call that could be avoided.

2. Adjust the furnace humidifier.

Summers are humid enough without adding moisture to the air, so set the humidistat to the off position. While you’re at it, flip the duct damper from winter to summer, too.

3. Change the batteries in the thermostat.

This is especially true if you’re experiencing a problem. Before making a service call, check your thermostat batteries. You don’t want to pay for a visit only to discover that the problem is dead batteries.

The most important tip to homeowners who are getting ready for the warmer weather?

Don’t be afraid to call a pro if you have questions. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you don’t understand something, give us a call and we’ll talk you through it on the phone.

Oh, and if they happen to find a dead rodent in your system when conducting your annual air condition inspection, they’ll remove it at no extra charge.

For more information on AC tune-up in Chesapeake, VA, call Central Plumbing and Heating .


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