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Air conditioner: repair, replace, or maintain?

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  • May 20th, 2017 7:35 am
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Sep 15, 2008
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Air conditioner: repair, replace, or maintain?

Our family bought a new house last year from the original owners; house was built in the early 2000s, so the house is between 13-15 years old. All appliances, etc. were the original when the house was built, so we have been replacing items as they flat-out die.

Air conditioner is weak: last year it took upwards of 3 hours to get the house to 21 degrees, and even sitting directly near a vent did little. The house is 1500-2000 square feet with a finished basement, semi duplex. Normally I would open windows and use ceiling fans (installed on all floors except basement), but with a new baby on the way we're leaning towards making more use of air conditioning this year. I've never had a house with air conditioning before (last residence was a condo so I left it to the condo corporation to manage that, and my parents' houses never had air conditioning), so I'm not sure what is "normal" for maintaining these units.

What would be the recommended course of action? Can you overhaul an air conditioner like you can with a car engine to bring it back to spec? Or would it be better just to replace? Some sites say 10-15 years is average lifespan, which makes me think this one is about ready to go.

Thanks.
-10d
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19 replies
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2015
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Toronto, ON
We were in almost the exact position as you are (baby, old AC). The AC was original (1980s) and would be running the whole day to reach a temperature that it would never reach,. We decided to get a new one and hàd it installed last weekend. Perfect timing for the weather we received today.
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nkit88 wrote:
May 18th, 2017 9:29 pm
We were in almost the exact position as you are (baby, old AC). The AC was original (1980s) and would be running the whole day to reach a temperature that it would never reach,. We decided to get a new one and hàd it installed last weekend. Perfect timing for the weather we received today.
Did you have central air already? As we already do, I'm hoping that it is "easy" to have a new unit installed (e.g. all of the duct work is already in place, so minimal work to replace the connections from the outside).

1980s, you definitely got your money's worth!
Photographer, Traveler, Small Time Investor, Project Manager, Grease Monkey, Trance Addict. 'nuff said. :D
[OP]
Jr. Member
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Sep 15, 2008
149 posts
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georvu wrote:
May 18th, 2017 8:30 pm
If ac that old may not be repairable or worth it to repair... can post in hvac thread ask-me-anything-about-hvac-heating-air- ... 47845/196/ or 2017 ac group buy https://forums.redflagdeals.com/group-b ... d-2092988/
Thanks; will check those out.
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tendim wrote:
May 18th, 2017 9:31 pm
Did you have central air already? As we already do, I'm hoping that it is "easy" to have a new unit installed (e.g. all of the duct work is already in place, so minimal work to replace the connections from the outside).

1980s, you definitely got your money's worth!
Yes, if you have central air already than it isn't a big job to do. If you want to be sure it's the AC that's failing, stick a temperature probe into your HVAC just after the coils and measure the temperature. It looks like a 14-18'C drop is typical between the return and output.
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Mar 23, 2006
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what brand is the air conditioner and furnace ? You may want to read up on the particular models to read up on specs and reviews.

In fact, if its non premium brand like Carrier or Lennox I would be open to the possibility of getting rid of both the air conditioner and furnace at the same time. I hate to compare it to cars, but thats the way I look at it. They both last around 12-15 years based on normal use. So based on the age of your house, its at the end of the cycle. With a baby on the way, its simply not worth it dealing with air conditioner breaking down on the hottest day of the year or furnace breaking down of the coldest day of the year.

Personally I think its best to call Chris from Four Seasons for evaluation, other forum members vouch for him.
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Sep 2, 2005
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Maybe it just needs a top up on refrigerant. check and see if your hoses are frosted over next time you use it. also change out your furnace filter....
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Apr 27, 2015
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Toronto, ON
Yes we already had central air.

It was the previous owner who got their monies worth. They never maintained anything and the a/c unit was on its last leg so we thought it was safer to replace it.
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zaius wrote:
May 19th, 2017 5:55 am
Maybe it just needs a top up on refrigerant. check and see if your hoses are frosted over next time you use it. also change out your furnace filter....
This, probably just needs a re-charge.
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Gee wrote:
May 19th, 2017 1:11 pm
Which brands are premium?
Carrier is what I have. No problems in 15 years. My dad and cousin has a Lennox. Both had them installed at about the same time, both have had a couple of problems already and were expensive to fix. Units are about 4 years old.
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jackrabbit000 wrote:
May 19th, 2017 2:40 pm
This, probably just needs a re-charge.
If it needs a recharge that means it has a leak that needs to be fixed.
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Feb 4, 2015
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zaius wrote:
May 19th, 2017 5:55 am
Maybe it just needs a top up on refrigerant. check and see if your hoses are frosted over next time you use it. also change out your furnace filter....
Good point on the filter.

Could be wrong but do not think refrigerant is consumed so a top off if necessary just band aid solution. Plus either this year or next the refrigerant changes.
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