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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    99

    Rules of Thumb: Repair or Replace?

    With so many incentives to replace old units out there I feel like it's as challenging as ever to make the repair vs replace proposal decision.

    For example: Leaky A-Coil that you know is repairable but it's R-22, needs a 1/2 day of work, 7 or 8 lbs of gas and the unit is older say 10+ years.
    Even though everything may have been perfect until the leak, it's still an older R-22 system.

    Part of my issue is that I was brought up to be a trouble-shoot and repair guy. I love fixing stuff. I take great pride in fixing things quickly and reliably. I'm so inclined to repair that it's my natural tendency. Problem is I'm not sure that it's always the smartest thing for my business or my customer.

    Got any juicy rules of thumb on this you're willing to share?

    K

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    7,415
    Mine are subject to change frequently.

    If the unit is 6 years or newer, and can be repaired, fix it.
    If it's older than that and in decent shape, repair it.
    If it's over 15 years old, you seriously better be considering replacing it even if I can fix it.

    If the unit is old enough to not be very efficient (like 11 SEER, or a furnace that's 60% efficient or so) and the cost is going to be over half of what a new unit costs (excluding labor) I'll do my best to sell a new one.

    Last rule, no matter the age. If I repair it, and it's going to keep braking down and making me look bad, it needs to be replaced.

    I almost always would rather fix something and keep it running though, good odds the older stuff will run better and out last the new stuff.
    "If you call that hard work, a koala’s life would look heroic."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    My rule is that the decision is the customer's to make - not mine. I can merely give my recommendation.
    That recommendation can get really complex sometimes with so many possible scenarios involved. Here's the one I keep running into lately. The condenser fan motor goes out. That motor now costs a LOT MORE than it did 3 years ago for some reason.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    Depends on cost. If a new unit would cost as much as the part, or even just a little more, then yes. Especially if its a very cheap brand like one of these fly by night Chinese ductless splits.
    Get money, get paid.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,253
    When I worked for Sears service their policy was if repair cost exceeded 2/3 the price of a new system then time to replace not repair. One way of explaining it to the customer was to take the total price and divide it by expected life of system. Say it is $6,000 dollars for a new system and you can expect 10 years from it. Your cost per year is $600.00 But If you replace that A-coil for $1000.00 and 6 months from now the compressor goes out not to mention how much fun it is to be without A/C on a hot day and waiting for the repairman and waiting for parts, etc. etc. Most people appreciate you taking the time to let them see the situation from your perspective. I always end the conversation with "whatever you decide is fine with me, I like repairing them, I must after 38 years". Amickracing said it perfectly. I agree with everything he said.
    Last edited by Paul Bee; 09-04-2010 at 09:45 PM.
    Challenge yourself, take the CM test --- Certificate Member since 2004 ---Join RSES ---the HVAC/R training authority ---www.rses.org

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