When an air conditioner fails, it's common to take the position that the repairs are not worth it -- you might as well just buy a new unit. Indeed, this is true when the repairs are major, involved, and expensive. But if your knee-jerk reaction to any repair requirement is to turn it down and just buy a new air conditioner, you might be making a mistake. Some AC repairs truly are simple and affordable -- and worth making in most cases.
New Drain Pump
If your condensate drain pump is broken, water produced by condensation may just pool near the air conditioner because there is no pump delivering it to the drain. The idea of having a new pump installed does sound intimidating, but actually, this is a pretty minor repair. In many cases, the drain pump is actually a separate component, sold for about $50, which is mounted on the side of your air conditioner. Your HVAC contractor can install a new one for you in a half hour or so. It would be silly to buy a whole new AC unit in this case since the AC unit is probably just fine -- it's just the exterior pump that needs help.
Slow Refrigerant Leak
If your air conditioner is completely empty of refrigerant and hemorrhaging refrigerant like mad, that's one thing. Unless the unit is brand new, it's probably not worth repairing. But a slow refrigerant leak is often worth dealing with since it may be caused by a tiny crack in the coil that your HVAC tech can patch within a few minutes. Then, they will just need to add a little more refrigerant to the system.
(An exception to this rule is if your AC unit is more than 10 years old and runs R-22. This refrigerant is being phased out and is very expensive, so you're better off just replacing the AC unit.)
Replacing Motor Bearings
The motor that runs the fan that blows the air-conditioned air into your home, like most motors, has ball bearings that can get worn out over time. When this happens, your air conditioner may start making scratching and squealing noises. The severity of the noises may lead you to think the unit needs extensive repairs and is, therefore, better off being replaced, but really, replacing some ball bearings is a pretty minor and inexpensive repair that your HVAC tech should be able to perform.
Don't always assume you need a new AC unit. Sometimes, making repairs really is the best solution. To find out more, contact your local air conditioning repair professional today.