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Repair or Replace? Commercial HVAC

If you oversee an industrial plant or commercial building, you are aware of the importance of your air conditioning system in the hot south. Whether you’re using your HVAC units to cool customers, employees or even equipment, you realize that not only is a comfortable work environment desired, it is often required. But how do you know when replacing a unit is a more cost-effective solution than repairs? Here’s what our team has to say.


As you likely know, repairs come at different prices and different levels of difficulties. Many repairs – such as fan motors, electrical components and thermal expansion valves (TXV) – make economic sense to repair, although changing a TXV would take far longer than changing a relay or capacitor. Conversely, repairs such as replacing a compressor or condenser coil are much more expensive and difficult, thus may not be worth replacing, depending on the system’s age. With average life expectancies around 15 years, a major repair like those aforementioned may not be the best option if your unit’s age is in the double digits. A general rule of thumb is to replace the system if the cost to repair is greater than 50% of the current system’s worth.


Replacing your old unit with a new one comes with a myriad of benefits. These include:

  • Newer, more efficient unit, resulting in lower energy bills

  • Available tax credits

  • Equipment warranty on parts

  • Little to no repair cost for upcoming years

  • Peace of mind

Additionally, depending on the repair or replacement, the cost of Freon should be taken into consideration. With 30 lb. R-22 drums selling for well over $500, it may make sense in some situations to replace an old R-22 system for a new, efficient R-410A system, rather than repairing a R-22 system (if the refrigerant is contaminated and the unit requires new R-22). Furthermore, if the system is a roof top unit, the cost of renting a crane should be considered as well.

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