Your HVAC system is one of those unsung heroes in your home. When it’s working well, you hardly notice. When it starts to falter, it becomes a BIG problem and it’s usually at the peak of Summer or on the coldest day of Winter. Ugh!
“Should I repair or replace my HVAC system?” This is one of the most common HVAC questions we hear and a question that every homeowner will have to consider at one point or another. No two situations are alike and there are several things that will factor into your decision. Here is Pro-Tech HVAC Home’s guide to decide!
When to Replace Your HVAC System
Choosing to replace your old HVAC system is an important decision. Modern HVAC equipment can last upwards of fifteen years, especially when maintained properly, so it’s crucial you choose the correct unit for your home’s heating and cooling needs. It’s not a decision that should be rushed. But if your older system breaks down on a scorching hot or freezing cold day, you may have to act fast. So…the more you know, the better!
Much like an old car, air conditioners and furnaces show signs of failure before they actually fail. By paying attention to the performance of your older system, you can start preparing for the purchase of a new unit before you need it.
Here are a few warning signs that suggest it might be time to replace your HVAC system:
- Your HVAC system is More Than 10 Years Old.
It’s important to know how old your HVAC system components are. Air conditioners and heat pumps last an average of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces have a life span of around 15 to 20 years, although a number of factors, including previous maintenance and the climate you live in may impact your system’s life span. If your equipment is within those ranges, you should consider a replacement rather than repairs.
- Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22 Freon.
The production of R-22 Freon was phased out by the federal government on January 1, 2020. If your AC is 10+ years old, it likely uses a refrigerant known as R-22 Freon. You can still use your AC; however, you should prepare for a replacement. If it breaks down and needs an R-22 refill for the repair, it will be very costly and R-22 is getting more scarce every day.
- Your Energy Bills Are Rising.
Today’s HVAC systems are far more energy-efficient than they were a decade ago. If you’ve noticed an increase in your monthly energy bill, there’s a chance your system is running inefficiently. Your HVAC equipment accounts for about 50%** of your home’s energy use, and upgrading to new ENERGY STAR® certified equipment ensures your units meet or exceed federal standards for energy efficiency.
- It’s becoming noisy.
We hate to say it, but that clicking, grinding, or rattling noise coming from your HVAC system is not good news. It’s symptomatic of components that are wearing out and will often be the first sign that your system is starting to fail. Scheduling an HVAC service should always be your starting point, but you should also prepare yourself for the fact that an HVAC replacement may be on the horizon.
- Changes to Your Home’s Square Footage.
HVAC systems come in different sizes — the bigger the home, the bigger the unit you’ll need to heat/cool your space efficiently. If you recently completed an addition or finished off a previously unfinished basement or attic space, then your current system unit may not be big enough to keep up with the new demands you’ve placed on it.
- Frequent Breakdowns.
Does it seem like your system is constantly breaking down? These repair costs can really add up, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units. Save yourself the headaches and the money by investing in a new unit.
- You’re Facing Expensive Repairs.
Any time you’re facing expensive repairs, you’ll want to weigh the costs against the costs of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your systems is showing any of the other signs in this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.
When to Repair Your HVAC System
The truth is that HVAC failures happen. It’s an unfortunate but inevitable part of the wear and tear involved in running an HVAC unit. However, if your HVAC system is in good working condition and is well maintained, those repairs should only occur once every few years. If they become frequent and expensive, that’s when we look at replacement.
If something does goes wrong with your system, this is when it’s best to consider a repair:
- If you have a younger system.
If your system is less than 10 years old, you should consider repair. As long as it doesn’t have a long or extensive history of breaking down, a less-than-decade-old unit probably has years of service ahead of it. Most systems last between 10-15 years but properly maintained ones can last far longer than that.
- If you have a strong maintenance history.
Without preventative maintenance from, your AC or heating unit may encounter problems that snowball into long-term damage and wear. However, if you’ve done a good job keeping up with maintenance (AND changing your filter regularly!) you’re more likely to ride out the repairs that you do need and have a longer system lifespan.
- If you’re otherwise satisfied with your system.
If your system is delivering you energy efficiency in-line with your expectations and heating and cooling that gets the job done for your family, take that into consideration when weighing repair versus replacement.
All of these are examples of when you consider the repair. However, sometimes you may have a more serious issue that’s more expensive to fix. In that case, how do you know whether it’s better to repair or replace the HVAC system? There’s a simple equation that can help.
Are you following the $5,000 rule?
A little math goes a long way in knowing whether to it’s time to repair or replace your heating and cooling system. It’s simple: Multiply your unit’s age by repair costs. If the number exceeds $5,000, it’s best to replace the unit. If your total is less than $5,000, it’s probably best to make repairs. You may also consider the number of times your system has required repairs over the past year.
If in doubt, call Pro-Tech HVAC Home! We’re always happy to help our Annapolis neighbors meet their home comfort goals!
Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.