What are Some Hidden Costs for Fixing or Replacing Air Conditioners?

Male Technician Repairing Air Conditioner

Hidden charges for repairing or replacing air conditioners have gotten a bad impression among homeowners, simply because it often means that contractors are trying to charge more than necessary.

However, not all of these surprise expenses arise because of the service provider’s choice. If you need to replace a broken unit, some of the unexpected and additional costs may include drywall repairs and electrical upgrades.

Why There are Hidden Charges

Those who live in older homes have a higher chance of encountering sudden expenses before replacing their air-conditioning units. Drywall repairs become necessary if the new unit has a different style from the ductwork that backs up the ceiling or walls, as the drywall has been cut for a good fit along the outer edges.

Likewise, a damaged ductwork would increase your total bill. The HVAC professional might discover problems like ripped or tangled ducts prior to the replacement. When it comes to electrical upgrades, an old home’s power grid may be unable to support the higher demand for energy from a new cooling system. You should consult a professional how replacing an old AC would affect the electrical capacity of your house.

How You Can Limit Expenses

Air conditioning professionals have a peak season when rates are more expensive. Try to schedule a repair or replacement during late spring or fall, which are the lean periods for them. They may even offer a discount to lure customers.

It’s better to replace an existing unit with a similar one as much as possible. If you only need to repair it, make sure that the cost is less than half of the price of a new unit. Your location also affects the actual cost of repairs. For instance, an AC repair in Orem may be cheaper than a similar service in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Cost of Repairs

houseowner looking on how the technician repairs the air conditioner

It may cost an average of $310 this year to repair an air-conditioning unit, but it is possible to spend as low as $53 up to $932. The actual cost will vary based on the problem. If your unit has a broken fuse, you should expect to spend at least $75 to fix it. On the other hand, it may not be cost-efficient to replace a compressor since this would cost at least $1,900. You can already buy a new unit with that amount.

In case your unit has been in use for more than 15 years, then it’s already past its average lifespan. You should consider replacing it even when it’s still functional to save money from utility bills. Some professionals recommend a replacement than a repair if you have been using the same air-conditioning system for 10 years. At this point, repairing it may only be a short-term solution and there’s no guarantee that the problem will not resurface.

When managing your budget for an AC repair or replacement, it is best to allot an extra 20% for unexpected costs. Always ask for an itemized quote, which ideally should be free, before hiring a contractor.

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