We rely on our HVAC systems to keep our homes comfortable throughout the entire year. We tend to take them for granted until something goes wrong, and then it’s time to contact your local HVAC specialist for expert help and advice. One of the hardest things to decide is whether to choose an HVAC repair or replace the entire system. Having an expert assessment and advice from a professional can help, but the decision can still be a judgment call. In this article, we will take a closer look at this topic to help you make an informed decision.
A Brief HVAC System Primer
There are times when it is obvious even to someone with no HVAC experience that the system cannot be repaired. If this is the case, it’s important to choose a local certified heating and cooling specialist to install your new system. There is no way to sugar coat the fact that a brand new HVAC system will represent a significant investment. When you spend a lot of money, it makes sense to protect your investment with a professional installation. Involving the HVAC company at an earlier stage will be helpful when you need a complex load calculation to get the system size matched to your home. Here are four key HVAC problems that may help you to decide on a repair or replacement for your HVAC system.
1. The Age of Your HVAC System
Studies released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows a furnace should last for anywhere from 15 up to 30 years. Once the furnace gets older than 15 years, it will start to need some major HVAC repair work to keep it running with some semblance of efficiency. This may seem like a long useful lifespan, but there is a major caveat to consider. The only way to ensure that the lifespan is at the upper end of that range is with regularly scheduled maintenance. This is no guarantee, but well maintained systems tend to perform better, they have improved energy efficiency and they tend to fail less often.
If you’ve taken care of your furnace with regular preventative maintenance, it could be in great shape when that 15 year mark is reached. But, some components are going to wear out and it helps to think about your system like an older car. It is still possible to drive an older car with minor repairs, but when that final critical component goes it will be impossible to fix.
2. Analyzing the Cost of a Furnace Repair
Absorbing the cost of a brand new furnace can be hard to bear when you’re not prepared for the expense. But, when you get an estimate for a repair and that cost is half as much as the price of a new unit it’s a better idea to get the new furnace. Spending as much as half of the value of a new furnace on a repair to keep an older unit working doesn’t make much sense. If the cost of the repair is less than half and your furnace is reaching 75% of the expected life expectancy, it’s still a bad idea. This may seem like a disaster, but there are considerable advantages when you install a new furnace. Modern furnaces perform better and they have improved energy efficiency. The energy savings alone can help you recoup the costs of a new furnace in a few years.
3. Rising Heating Costs
It’s a great idea to track your energy consumption and costs closely to avoid paying too much. Energy costs tend to rise gradually, but if you’ve noticed a dramatic rise in your heating costs between this year and last year it probably means that your furnace is being overworked. The components inside your furnace may be struggling to meet your demands for heat which is leading to a lack of energy efficiency. At this stage, a repair is inevitable and you may need to factor these costs into your decision to repair or change the furnace. If you go ahead with a replacement, you can install a high-efficiency furnace that will lower the energy bills dramatically for the entire lifespan of the unit.
4. An Increased Frequency for HVAC Repairs
The best way to avoid HVAC repairs is to schedule some regular preventative maintenance for your heating and cooling system. But, eventually, even if you’re taking great care of your HVAC system there is an increasing chance that something will go wrong. After all, your HVAC system is a complex and connected series of electrical, electronic, and mechanical components. As the system ages, key parts will start to fail and they can affect other components leading to a system failure.
When an HVAC system fails it’s rare that it just shuts down with no warning at all. If you notice strange odors, noises, a lack of performance, or rising energy bills these are all signs that a problem is imminent. If you have a newer HVAC system and you have frequent repairs, it’s time to take a closer look. The system may have been installed poorly or the components are not working correctly. At this time, we would recommend that you check your warranty and explore the possibility of some component replacements.
If you have an older HVAC system that is starting to fail frequently, it’s likely that it’s reaching the end of its useful lifespan. Using the advice earlier in this article and your local HVAC specialist, it may be a better idea to replace the system entirely. Before you make a final decision check with your HVAC company because they may have some great deals to consider. Always choose a professional installation to protect your home and the integrity of your new heating and cooling system.
Choosing between an HVAC repair and a system replacement can be tricky. But, taking a pragmatic view and taking some time to analyze the factors discussed above will help. If you need some professional advice, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.