December 9, 2016


Your air conditioner breaks down from time to time and today just seems like another one of those days. But, it turns out, today is different; your technician tells you the system is shot and needs to be replaced to the tune of $5000 or so.

There are times when a repair to an older system simply does not make financial sense. If the system is over 9 years old and requires a major repair, this can be a sign of future problems to come. Here in Tampa, most central air conditioning systems last about 12 years, so spending a small fortune on a system that may last just a few more years is not a good idea.

But before you install a new system here are a few questions to ask and red flags to look for:

1) How old is the system? If you don’t know, the technician should. He or she can run the serial number and quickly determine when it was manufactured. If they don’t know the age and still recommend replacement, they may being trying to reach sales goals set by the company they work for at your expense.

There are times when a senior tech can use clues as to the system age by simply looking at the cabinet design and color. If you have a round Carrier outdoor unit, for example, that design clue indicates it was made in the 80’s or 90’s and is at least 20 years old. Most brands undergo extensive design changes every 10-15 years or so and the older styles are immediately apparent to a trained eye.

If the technician hasn’t run the serial number, chances are he or she can’t tell the difference between a 5 year old system or a 12 year system, the condition of the equipment not withstanding. (Some systems just look old as the weather conditions here in Tampa take their toll).

Conclusion? The technician should know by the serial number how old the system is before they make a system replacement recommendation. If the serial number is worn off, they still should be able to explain why the style and condition of your air conditioner or heat pump system gives clues as to the age.

2) How much is the recommended repair? As a general rule, the closer the system is to 12 years of age, the less you will want to spend on any given AC repair. If the system is 9 years or older, I personally would suggest limiting the cost of a repair to $400 or less.

Of course, this number can arguably be higher or lower, but ask yourself this: What are the odds of another breakdown in the next several years? With each passing year, these odds mount against you in favor of a system replacement.

3) Is the system under warranty? It’s stunning to me the number of times we receive a call from a customer who has been told they need a new system only to discover that, upon arriving at the jobsite, the existing repair is under warranty. Beginning around 2009, almost every central air conditioning system now carries a 10 year warranty and warranty status, of course, should be part of your consideration.

If you or the technician suspect the system is less than 15 years old and don’t know the exact date of installation, the serial number should be checked to determine if the system is under warranty.

If you’re dealing with a new A/C repair company you know little about, it just makes good sense to check them out and get a second opinion on both the repair cost and whether a new system is justified.

Check their reviews and see what other homeowners have to say. But make sure the reviews are real and are verified by an independent and trusted third party, such as Nearby Now, the company we use to gather and post our customer reviews.

If you’ve been told you need an expensive repair or a complete air conditioner installation anywhere in the Tampa area, give us a call. Our technicians average almost 2 decades of experience and are fully qualified to provide you with the honest facts you need to make an informed decision before you invest thousands needlessly.

Our second opinions are free and so are the detailed written system replacement estimates, so give us a call right now if you want the facts.

Call 813-701-3430 and we’ll send an expert right over!