Condenser Units: When to Repair and When to Replace
ACHR News, June 6, 2016. Image credits: stevepb
CAUSE OF FAILURE
Many things can cause an outdoor condensing unit to stop working, the most common of which are compressor and coil failures.
Scott Merritt, owner of Fire & Ice Heating & Air Conditioning in Columbus, Ohio, also said the compressor and coil are often what break in a condenser, adding that fan motors frequently cause problems, too. “The compressor takes the longest to repair and is the most expensive part,” he said. “Most of the time, customers choose to replace the entire unit when the compressor is bad.”
Lack of preventive maintenance is often the underlying cause of condenser unit failures, said Kory Burgess, service account manager with Pleune Service Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Maintenance can be an inexpensive way to prolong unit life and help provide energy savings.”
Once the cost of a repair is more than 40 percent of the total price of a new install or system, or the unit is more than 10 years old, then it might be good to explore the option of replacement, Burgess said.
“Changing technology may be the deciding factor for equipment 10 years old or older, since the energy savings, possible rebates, and the warranty of a new system can be more relevant,” he said. “Some customers prefer to avoid an emergency situation altogether, and this is one way of doing so.”
Future repair costs, energy usage, and the customer’s budget are all factors Moon considers. “Often, just the thought of waiting on repair guys will cause them to upgrade,” he said. “Their time is very important to them these days.”