HVAC techs: Should I replace A/C crankcase heater?

I have a Trane XL 1200 split system air conditioner (cooling only, no heat pump). It's 14 years old. Earlier this week, it tripped the circuit breaker. The breaker would not stay reset, even with the thermostat set to "off". The HVAC technician immediately suspected a shorted crankcase heater. ... show more I have a Trane XL 1200 split system air conditioner (cooling only, no heat pump). It's 14 years old.

Earlier this week, it tripped the circuit breaker. The breaker would not stay reset, even with the thermostat set to "off". The HVAC technician immediately suspected a shorted crankcase heater. He disconnected it, the breaker stayed "on", and it's been working fine ever since.

He's telling me that I don't have to have the crankcase heater replaced. This is a residential application, and I won't be running the A/C when the outside temperature is below 50 degrees F. He's also concerned that there's some risk to the other components when opening up a 14-year-old unit to replace the heater. I'll add that the outside unit is on the southeast side of the house, and gets both direct sunlight, and sunlight reflected from two stucco walls. It's an unusually warm location.

I'm looking for a second opinion. What am I risking without a working crankcase heater? I'd just as soon save the money, but not if it means I blow up the compressor in a couple of months...

Thoughts and opinions?
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