Post # 1
Would you invest $2,000 in new windows or a new air conditioner?
Here’s our dilemma…
This is our first summer in our 1941 house in Michigan. We turned on the air conditioning for the first time last week and what do you know it is broken. Called a service repair guy out and it is going to be $2,000 to replace it (his recommendation because the unit itself is 20 years old). Repairing the coolant leak is around $600- but what is the point if the unit is that old and we’ll have to replace the unit in a few years anyways.
Our windows are original to the house and they do not stay open on their own (have to prop them with objects like cans of soup), plus we only have 2 screens for the 10 windows in our house. So if we do prop the windows open bugs can fly in. My uncle can get us new windows and install them for $200 each x 10 windows = $2,000. Repairing the original windows might be an option, but I have not been quoted yet. They are in bad shape and probably have lead paint on them (not good for the new baby coming in July)- I’d rather just get new ones.
So what would you do- new windows or new air conditioning?
Post # 3
Personally I would do new windows… It is not worth having A/C if you will be paying out the A$$ because of the air leakage you are probably already getting with old windows…. especially because that will effect you with losing heat in the winter too :S
it also depends when you will be able to afford the ‘other’ option .. if you could afford to do the windows by winter I would do the A/C unit now – but if it had to be one.. I would do the windows and fix the coolant leak
Post # 4
I would do windows bc it’s more of a long term plan as well. Old windows whether they can open or not are drafty and new windows will save not only in the summer but in the winter by keeping the heat in. I would do windows now and then look at a new AC next early spring or even late winter. Sometimes it can be cheaper to replace when it’s not in season.
Post # 5
I would also go for new windows. The draft that is going to come through the windows in the winter is going to eat at your heating bill like no one’s business. You can save latter for an AC unit.
Post # 6
I would do windows now for the reasons mentioned above and also to see how the summer is w/o AC. Since it’s your first summer in the house, if you feel itS’ unbearable without the AC, you can save the $$ you would have spent on the increased energy bill and have all winter to get a new one put in which may save you some $$ on instillation as most contractors have less work in the winter. It soundsl ike the windows are a must do anyway, may as well knowck them out first so you can use them and they are helping to insullate your house year round.
Post # 7
About the A/C, it sounds like your service man is trying to scam you. We had the EXACT same thing happen to us last summer. A repair man came out and said it would be $800 to fix but since it’s old, we should just replace it for $2,500.
We had a family friend come over and take a look, and he said we had a blown fuse and fixed it for $40. He said NEVER replace an appliance that is working just because someone says it’s old and you may need to replace it in a few years. He’s seen people’s A/C last 30+ years with only very minor problems.
I’d suggest you get a few other opinions on the unit. Make sure the people do free estimates.
Post # 8
How hot are the summers in Michigan? In DC we can easily reach high 90s the whole summer. If the weather isn’t too hot up there, I’d suck it up this summer and invest in new windows because they are probably drafty as well, and I KNOW winters in Michigan are harsh!
You can always open your new windows and purchase some fans! 🙂
Post # 9
Do the windows. It will save you mucho bucks this winter. For now if you really need the AC just get some window units and do the big repair next summer.
Post # 10
Also if it helps my SO is an HVAC/R mechanic and has his own company .. he not only votes windows (because of energy efficiency) but said that a residential unit lasting 20 years is pretty remarkable , and he agrees that maintaining something that will very likely (certain at this point) to break down again/ die completely is just a money pit
Post # 11
I also vote windows for all the above mentioned reasons 🙂 I’d go for double paned if you can afford it and get the energy efficieny tax credit.
As one of the posters mentioned above, you might also be able to do a quick fix on your AC unit for right now. My mom was told the same thing about our almost 20 year old AC unit and pressured to replace it by a big HVAC company. We were told that no one would service our unit because it was too old. They even said it was a health hazard leaking CO2 into the house and they wanted to report it! We went to a smaller comapny who was more than happy to repair it for less than 50 bucks and had the house checked for CO2 leaks which, predictably, were absent. The big company was reported to the BBB and the boss called to apologise.
With the money we would have spent on the AC, we’ve been replacing all the windows in the house. With the new energy efficient windows we rarely use the AC and when we do, we only have to put it on for a few minutes and then the windows keep the cool air in and the hot air out.
Post # 12
I would also do the windows…buuuut…I want to know what size and type windows your uncle is looking at? We replaced all the windows in our home over the last two years and a standard Pella double pane window was ~$104. So your uncle’s quote is almost double to include labor?
We ended up buying a tad smaller size window than our opening so that we can buy standard sizes and not have to pay for custom.
Is your husband handy enough to replace the windows yourselves? It will save you a ton of money.
Post # 14
Windows for sure.
The windows in our apartment are original to the house and need to be replaced. It cost us way more in utilities (gas bill for November last year was $350) then it should for a 1000 sq ft apt.
Post # 15
I’m going to go against the norm here and say AC. I would go crazy trying to live without AC for the summer (and I lived in northern IN for 18+ years so I have a good idea of what MI summers are like).
Post # 16
I would suggest new windows and maybe a window unit AC for your bedroom and your living room. $200 per window sounds high though.