When your A/C system goes out, it is important to know what you may be getting into before the Air Conditioning Technician arrives at your home. Air Conditioners (also referred to as Air Con, Central Air, Cooling or A/C) of today have come a long way since first being introduced in 1902 by Willis Carrier. The Air Conditioning equipment in our homes today are typically operated with a piston or TXV using R-410A or R-22 Refrigerant. Due to the complexity of common Air Con equipment, your service call can easily range from $75.00 to well over $1000.00. We have compiled a list of common issues that should be investigated before the service tech puts you on the spot. Our goal is to give you the most helpful knowledge we can to better prepare you for what's to come.
THE AGE OF YOUR AIR CONDITIONER
We believe the first thing to look for when dealing with a faulty Air Conditiong system is the age of your A/C equipment, including the indoor coil, Furnace and Condenser. Throughout my career as an HVAC tech and installer, I have repeatedly seen technicians unintentionally give customers the wrong data. A recent example of this would be, One of Our techs was giving a free estimate for an Air Conditioning installation in Erie, CO and he mistakenly told the customer their A/C was 12 years old when in fact the customer knew the A/C was 17 years old, because they were the ones who had it installed. This mix-up clearly upset the customer but what it came down to was the technician did not correctly interpret the serial number on the outdoor condenser. Now the situation I just described was a simple mistake but it caused confusion and gave the client a reason to feel uneasy about what they were being told. To avoid any issues regarding the age of your Air Conditioner, there is a simple soulition. All equipment for the Central Air systems have been manufactured with a model and serial number. Whether you have a RUUD, AMERICAN STANDARD or LENNOX the only question is where on your equipment did your specific brand put this information. Each piece of HVAC equipment (Furnace, Coil or Condenser) has its own tag. If you do not have the original paper work that came with your Air Conditioner or Furnace, we recomend you ask your Air Conditioning Contractor on site to show it to you, so you may look it up. I have found that some companies like AMERICAN STANDARD and AMANA make the indoor coil and outdoor condenser, serial numbers easy to interpret but on the other hand, some HVAC brands like PAYNE or MAGIC CHEF (yes they made a furnace) could be a little trickier to decipher the serial number. Either way you can google the numbers to get the proper date your A/C equipment was manufactured. Verifying this information yourself, is a great way to get ahead of the game. Once you have obtained the date of your Air Conditioner you can start to identify what the best choice is when it comes to replacing or repairing your Central Air system
IS MY OLD AIR CONDITIONER WORTH REPAIRING?
Armed with the knowledge of the manufacturng date, the next question we are looking for is, what is the lifespan of your specific Air Conditioner. In the HVAC world most, qualified technicians will say 15 to 20 years. If you know your equipment has had its annual clean and check every year, then by all means your Air Conditioner should have no problem lasting over 15 years., but even when a well maintained Air Conditioner hits the 14 year mark, a costly A/C repair like a Compressor replacement may not be the best option. In a perfect world , you would have the A/C compressor replaced and your Air Conditioner would work like new for the remainder of its years. That would be great, but what we have learned from expieriance is that once a major component has failed there are usually more parts to follow, before you know it you have spent the equivalent of a brand-new Air Conditioner trying to fix a machine with one foot out the door. Bottom line is, If your Air conditioner is reaching the ripe old age of 15, beware of expensive repairs. Decide what you are comfortable spending for another possable 5 years.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR AIR CONDITIONING REPAIRS?
Unfortunately, this is a tricky question. While coming up in the HVAC industry I have foun there is no standard price guide for the customer. Although less then 40 miles apart, a Air Conditioning repair in Denver CO, could be $100.00 more then the exact same Air Conditioning repair in Longmont CO. Because location can dramatically effect the cost of your HVAC repair, We recomend looking in to your local companies.
Most of the HVAC companies have a trip charge that will increse with distance, so wheather you live in Erie, Firestone or Longmont you should have many companies near by. We also recomend to ask about any fees (trip or hourly diagnostic) that may be charged in order to properly assess the situation with your broken A/C. Every company has its own prices so its best to ask and find out before scheduling your appointment. If you have the time, there is no harm in calling around to make sure you are getting a great Heating and Cooling company at your door