If your air conditioner needs expensive repairs done and the equipment is old, you may wonder whether you should have repairs done or just buy a new air conditioner. An AC contractor can explain your options and compare prices so you make the right decision for your finances and your air conditioner. Here are three times your AC contractor might recommend you get a new AC.

1. When There's A Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant leaks can often be repaired, but the repairs might be costly. Before work can be done on a coil or line, the refrigerant has to be removed. If your AC is old, it may have old refrigerant that has been outdated. The old refrigerant is difficult to find, so your AC contractor may suggest switching to the new refrigerant.

The problem is that the new refrigerant doesn't work well with the old lines and coils, so you might need to replace those too. This could turn into an expensive repair, so you'll want to compare the cost of getting new refrigerant and lines with the cost of getting a new AC.

2. When The Compressor Is Bad

The compressor is one part you don't want to go bad unless it's under warranty. It's an expensive part to replace, so if your AC is old, you'll need to consider which is the smartest move: putting in a new compressor or getting a new AC.

If your air conditioner still has several years of life in it, getting a new compressor might be acceptable since it costs less than a new air conditioner. But if you'll need a new AC within one or two seasons, it may be better to get one now and not waste money on repairs. Your AC contractor can help you decide what to do.

3. When The AC Has Been Damaged

If your AC was struck by lightning, pelted by hail, or burned in a fire, the AC contractor may recommend getting new equipment. Your homeowner's insurance policy may even help with the cost if the AC was damaged by a disaster, such as a storm.

When an AC is struck by lightning or damaged in a fire, several of the parts could be bad, and repairs wouldn't be practical. In that case, you may have no choice but to have a new air conditioner installed. You might just need a new air handler or a new condenser, but when your AC is old, the contractor may recommend you replace both at the same time.