April 12, 2010

Repair or Replace? That is the Question

The air conditioning went out at one of our rentals the other day.   The AC unit is apparently around 15 years old now so it isn't going to last forever.    The bill to repair the AC is around $400.   We asked how much it would cost to replace the entire unit and they gave us a ballpark estimate of $4,000.  To repair the unit or replace it is a tough decision to make.   If we repair it we're gambling that it will last longer and not just break down again in 2 months with a bigger repair bill.   If we replace it we're shoveling out piles of money that may not be necessary. 

If it were a kitchen appliance or a cheaper item then I wouldn't even think of paying any sizable repair bill and we'd simply buy a new replacement.   Consumer Reports looked at the question for such things as kitchen appliances and their general advice is : "Replace any for which you paid less than $150 and nix any repair that costs more than half the price of a comparable new product"  That sounds like good advice and probably about how I'd handle something.   I'd also add that I'd replace any appliance that has broken down and already hit its expected life span.  If you add in potential energy savings costs of getting a more efficient modern appliance then that makes the decision to replace an old broken unit much easier.   For kitchen appliances the choice to repair or replace is fairly easy decision.


For a major system like AC or a furnace the question gets more difficult.   I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that the AC at the rental will be fine for a few more years.  Its difficult to bite the bullet and lay out $4,000 for a new unit.   That is a lot of money to spend up front.   Logically part of my mind is telling me that we should just go ahead and eat the cost and get a replacement.   We'll have to wait and see.



1 comment:

  1. Don't overlook the energy savings for a newer unit which is added value to the renter (assuming the renter pays utilities). This would make the unit more "rentable" or more valuable, aka higher lease income.

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