Should You Repair A Broken Window AC?

Most modern homes in the United States have some form of central air conditioning. Although this is certainly true of new construction, you can still find window units in many older homes and apartments. Despite seeming somewhat outdated, window units are an efficient way to cool a single room or even a much larger space.

The low cost of many window units means that their owners often opt to replace rather than repair, but there are situations where this might not be the most cost-effective option. If your window unit no longer seems to cool your home, then consider these three scenarios where repair might be the right choice.

1. Large, Expensive Window Units

Not every window unit lives its life cooling only a single room. Many large, expensive air conditioners offer heavy-duty cooling potential to keep an entire house or floor comfortable through even the hottest summers. Residential units with 30,000 BTU or greater capacities can often take the place of central air conditioning in smaller homes or apartments.

These heavy-duty units can also be expensive, usually costing a thousand dollars or more. When one of these behemoths fails, the cost to replace it can be prohibitive, especially if it's relatively new. A professional repair will often save you a significant amount of money in these cases, even if an expensive internal part requires replacement.

2. Custom Installations

Properly installing a window air conditioner usually requires a bit more care than simply screwing it into a window. While installing these units typically is not too difficult, it can become more of a challenge for substantial air conditioners or unusual windows. Custom installations sometimes include specialized support brackets or significant extra insulation.

If this situation holds for your air conditioner, replacing it with a new unit may mean that parts of your custom installation are no longer appropriately sized. The added costs of installing a new window unit might make repairing your old one a cheaper option over the long run.

3. Minor Problems

The compressor is the most expensive part of any air conditioner, and other problems tend to cost progressively less to repair. For example, bent fins, damaged filters, or even failing electronics may all cost very little to fix relative to the cost of an entirely new air conditioner. You may also only need to perform some basic maintenance tasks to restore its cooling ability.

If you're experiencing problems with your window unit, a quick call to an air conditioning repair contractor might allow you to get a better understanding of the problem. Once you know the likely cause (and cost to repair), you can judge whether it's worthwhile to choose a repair over a replacement.