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

You Have 1 Item in your Cart. Price is $199


Air Conditioner: Repair or Replace? – Chesapeake, VA

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Follow these tips to decide whether to repair or replace your central air conditioning equipment.

So much has changed in the world of air conditioning in recent years that if your system has almost any significant breakdown — or if it’s just not keeping you as cool as it used to — it may be worth replacing it instead of repairing it.

As of 2010, for example, manufacturers must use a new kind of refrigerant that’s not an ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon. And a new system can use less than half the electricity of your old one while doing a far better job of keeping you cool and comfortable.

If your air conditioner is more than eight years old, repair is probably not worth the expense, unless it’s a simple problem like debris clogging the condenser unit or a worn fan belt. Still, to best weigh your repair-or-replace decision, ask your contractor to assess not just the condition of your existing equipment, but also the ducts that deliver the cool air and the overall quality of the insulation in your house. Improving those elements might increase the effectiveness of the system as much or more than installing new machinery.

Assess the Efficiency of Your Current System

Even if your central air conditioner is just eight to 10 years old, it could suck up to twice the electricity that even a low-end new one would use. That’s because it operates at or below 10 SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Until 2006, 10 SEER was standard, but these days, the minimum allowed by federal law is 13 SEER. That translates to 30% less electrical consumption and 30% lower cooling bills than equipment installed just a few years ago.

For an 1,800 square foot house, a new 13 SEER unit will cost $3,000 to $4,000. You can double your energy savings by jumping up to 16 SEER, which will reduce cooling expenses by 60% over a 10 SEER unit. At $5,000 to $6,000, these super-efficient units are more expensive, but they qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $300 and possibly local incentives, too.

Your installer can run the numbers for you to see whether it’s worth the additional cost. If you’re south of the Mason Dixon line, certainly, you can make up those dollars pretty quickly.

Inspect the Condition of the Ductwork

You could upgrade to the highest efficiency gear available and still not feel comfortably cool on hot days. That’s because the mechanicals are only part of the central air system. The average house’s ductwork leaks 10% to 30% of its air before it can reach your living space. Before deciding whether to repair or replace your condenser and blower units, your technician should run a duct-leakage test, by sealing the vents and measuring how much air escapes the system.

If the ducts are inefficient, he can locate and seal the gaps, typically for $25 to $35 per vent (per “run” in industry jargon), or replace the ductwork entirely with new, insulated pipe for around $100 per run. Your technician may recommend doing the duct improvements in conjunction with replacement of the mechanicals or may recommend only one or the other job.

Consider the Building Envelope Itself

If your house is poorly insulated, it’s putting a strain on your aging air conditioner. Resolving the house’s flaws may mean that your old system will have enough cooling power to continue to do the job for a few more years. Or it may enable you to buy a smaller replacement system, lowering your upfront and ongoing energy costs significantly.

Your heating and cooling contractor should assess and, if necessary, upgrade the building envelope. For example, he might seal gaps and cracks in the outer walls and attic floor, or he might blow insulation into the walls, either of which could knock as much as 30% off your heating and cooling costs. Insulation also may get you a $500 federal tax credit, and in some cases, it may be a more effective solution to your cooling problems than replacing your equipment.

Make Sure a New System Is Sized Right

If you decide to replace, make sure the contractor’s bid includes a load calculation, which is a computer printout showing how big a system you need and why.

Air conditioning is measured by the ton, which is the cooling power of a one-ton block of ice melting in 24 hours. Some old-school installers use a ballpark estimate for sizing equipment—say, one ton for every 400 or 600 square feet of living space. But that typically leads to systems that are too big. Not only do oversized systems cost more, but they also do their cooling work too quickly, which means more frequent on/off cycles, wearing out components and gobbling electricity. Plus, they don’t have a chance to effectively dehumidify the air.

Good contractors use load-calculating software that factors in such data as the number of windows in your house, the thickness of insulation, the configuration of the attic, and the building’s orientation to the sun. It produces not only an exact tonnage requirement, but determines how much cool air each room needs. All bids (get at least three, from licensed, well-regarded companies) should include this one-page printout.

For more information on repairing or replacing the AC unit in Chespeake, VA, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.


Recent Posts


HVAC technicians in Chesapeake, VA signs heating system needs replacement, Chesapeake, VA Our professional plumbers here in Chesapeake, VA maintain the air duct air conditioning tune-up HVAC system, Chesapeake, VA certified HVAC technician AC system tune up heating system maintenance services HVAC equipment maintenance Plumbing utility natural gas line replace the furnace Heat Pump in Chesapeake, VA licensed plumber install pool heater gas line residential air conditioning systems Dirty air filters in your HVAC system, Chesapeake, VA hire a professional plumber HVAC system repair and replacement Chesapeake, VA energy tax credits replace a gas water heater, Chesapeake, VA energy tax credits, Chesapeake, VA heating system repair or replace, Chesapeake, VA heating system check and tune-up poor indoor air quality energy efficient products eligible for tax credits water heater installation Furnace service and maintenance plans heating system maintenance backflow preventer plumbing maintenance inspection HVAC technician, Chesapeake, VA full HVAC unit replacement Traditional Water Heater Energy Star repairing or replacing the AC unit in Chespeake, VA heating and air conditioning system, Chesapeake, VA professional furnace maintenance repairs to a gas water heater, Chesapeake, VA gas or electric water heater tanks Air Conditioning tune up new air conditioner unit with warranty home HVAC repair Central Plumbing and Heating HVAC system maintenance, Chesapeake, VA reduce home heating bills HVAC repair, Chesapeake, VA clean the air conditioning filter how to improve indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA purchasing and installing a new furnace unit HVAC equipment service HVAC professional in Chesapeake, VA HVAC tune-up full HVAC unit replacement, Chesapeake, VA hot tub or pool gas line installation Central Heating and Plumbing hvac service chesapeake va new HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA replace existing ducted furnace in Chesapeake, VA Tankless Water Heater HVAC specialist in Chesapeake, VA HVAC check-up and maintenance service professional plumbing team here at Chesapeake’s Central Plumbing and Heating Chesapeake’s plumbing experts AC tune up hvac sales service chesapeake va maximize indoor air quality repairing or replacing a water heater or HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA heating system repairs, Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing & Heating cut home energy costs this winter, Chesapeake, VA AC tune up, Chesapeake, VA Installing new air conditioning system air conditioner service water heater isn’t working properly, Chesapeake, VA frozen pipes air conditioner tips HVAC maintenance gas water heater problems, Chesapeake, VA air conditioning repair home HVAC systems plumbing system repair air conditioning tune-up, Chesapeake, VA heating system maintenance service certified plumber tips on keeping your home cool, Chesapeake, VA Installing a new air conditioning system tax credit for major systems upgrades Dirty air filters, Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing and Heating’s hot tub gas line service hvac repair install cheseapeake va AC cleaned and maintained, Chesapeake, VA plumbing repairs air conditioners require maintenance and regular tune-up reduce home energy bills HVAC service maintenance in Chesapeake, VA HVAC routine cleaning and maintenance Demand-type water heater HVAC repairs AC repair replacing the HVAC equipment, Chesapeake, VA plumbing maintenance work Tankless water heater installation Greater Boston Plumbing maintaining the air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA How Long Should a Furnace and Air Conditioning Unit Last federal energy tax credits repair or replace your central air conditioning equipment, Chesapeake, VA HVAC cleaning professionals air-conditioning tune-up home HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA HVAC contractor in Chesapeake, VA professional hot water technician Central Plumbing and Heating Services Central Plumbing and Heating Inc. in Chesapeake, VA plumbing service in Chesapeake, VA HVAC system repairs, Chesapeake, VA air conditioner maintenance heating equipment maintenance natural gas line for BBQ HVAC check-up and maintenance install a natural gas line for your barbecue in Chesapeake, VA HVAC sales and services in Chesapeake, VA heating system, Chesapeake, VA replacing an older air conditioning system, Chesapeake, VA HVAC expert near Chesapeake, VA Plumbers and repair technicians heat pumps, Chesapeake, VA backflow prevention system hvac repair install weather proofing chesapeake va upgrading HVAC system repair or replace AC, Chesapeake, VA heating and air-conditioning contractor, Chesapeake, VA New air conditioning and heating equipment AC cleaned and maintained heat pump inspection and repair HVAC expert Central Plumbing and Heating Inc efficient ways to heat a home, Chesapeake, VA Tankless water heaters energy efficient HVAC system, VA improve indoor air quality furnace installation company heating system tune up improving indoor air quality air conditioning upkeep and repairs home heating, Chesapeake, VA HVAC specialists in Chesapeake, VA furnace maintenance Certified HVAC technicians in Chesapeake, VA tips to cut energy costs Chesapeake, VA AC servicing increase your home’s efficiency, Chesapeake, VA HVAC home heating service Chesapeake VA HEPA air filter certified HVAC professional HVAC tune up, Chesapeake, VA heating contractor in Chesapeake, VA cut energy costs Chesapeake, VA residential air conditioning systems service plumber AC tune-up plumbing services for your sprinkler system Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VA indoor air pollution HVAC systems checked, Chesapeake, VA expanding your pipelines certified HVAC technicians residential heating and cooling system inspect the furnace or heat pump, Chesapeake, VA Leaky pipe repairs high-efficiency furnaces, Chesapeake, VA zoning HVAC system indoor air filter traditional water heater installation Central Plumbing and Heating, Inc. repairing or replacing the central AC, Chesapeake, VA indoor air quality Furnace service and maintenance, Chesapeake, VA Chesapeake’s Central Plumbing and Heating heating system repairs sink or whole-house water purification systems certified technicians in Chesapeake, VA summer cooling tips high-efficiency furnace, Chesapeake, VA cut energy costs Plumbing services in Chesapeake, VA HVAC system service Heating specialists in Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VA improve your indoor air quality professional plumbing service Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit air conditioning service heating system replacing the central air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA fixing the air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA HVAC system cleaning qualified AC contractor, Chesapeake, VA air conditioning equipment licensed HVAC contractor energy saving HVAC systems in Chesapeake, VA air conditioning maintenance HVAC service in Chesapeake, VA certified HVAC expert in Chesapeake, VA professional furnace expert Forced air furnaces, Chesapeake, VA repair or replace the HVAC, Chesapeake, VA Zoning System professional plumber Professional HVAC experts in Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing System improve indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA HVAC expert service tankless (on-demand) hot water system Chesapeake, VA plumbing services residential heating certified HVAC specialist heating system tune-up HVAC contractor lower your utility bills, Chesapeake, VA AC service and maintenance AC maintenance and servicing AC repair and maintenance energy efficient heating, Chesapeake, VA heat pump repair, Chesapeake, VA buying a new furnace cut home energy costs, Chesapeake, VA heating contractor heating and cooling service plan in Chesapeake, VA HVAC technician certified plumber in Chesapeake, VA air conditioning filter cleaning of the AC filters air conditioning repairs and maintenance in Chesapeake, VA Energy Star Products, Chesapeake, VA Heating system inspection heating system tune up, Chesapeake, VA updating the HVAC system HVAC repair and maintenance, VA buy a new furnace home heating Central Plumbing and Heating, Inc plumbing solutions HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA AC repair and maintenance, Chesapeake, VA professional plumbers Schedule a professional tune-up new heating system replace heating system tax credit for major systems upgrades, Chesapeake, VA repair your broken water lines faulty HVAC system Central Plumbing and Heating Inc. HVAC system service and cleaning HVAC repairs and replacements replace your home heating system