6 Questions to Determine Whether to Repair or Replace Your HVAC System
Ah, your HVAC system. It’s there for you year-round, keeping you from melting in the summer and from freezing in the winter. On the hottest day of the year, it’s there for you, keeping your home cool. When the outdoor air hurts your face in February, it’s there for you, providing warm indoor air.
But we tend to take our HVAC systems for granted, and only when something goes wrong do we realize how much we rely on them for our comfort. When the system seems to run around the clock (and the utility bill skyrockets) just to manage the indoor temperature, we might just put off dealing with the problem until another day. Or when we realize the furnace seems to get louder every time it cycles on, we may just keep bumping up the TV volume to hear it over the HVAC system. But those are both signs that your HVAC system needs help now. The question is: What kind of help? Repairs or replacement?
Let’s figure it out.
Repair or Replace? 6 Questions to Ask
If you need help with your HVAC system, we’re hear for you – to answer questions, to perform those seasonal clean and checks, and to advise you. But if you’re not sure whether you’re going to need us to repair or replace your system, here are the six questions you should ask yourself before you give us a call to have us take a look.
Question 1: How Old Is Your HVAC System?
You need to know the age of your HVAC system components, as well as their expected lifespan. The average furnace has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, although it could be even shorter or longer, depending upon a few factors, including local climate. Air conditioners and heat pumps, on the other hand, tend to last just 10 to 12 years.
If your HVAC components are hitting those maximum lifespan ranges, you should consider a replacement rather than repairs. Replacing your furnace will cost more upfront, but it will save you in the long run. Not only will you avoid the parts and labor expenses of multiple repair appointments, you’ll also save on your utility bills. A new furnace will most definitely operate more efficiently than your old one.
Plus, Arendosh Heating and Cooling offers early bird promotions for replacements, as well as financing options. When you call us, be sure to ask about our current promotions and any rebates the manufacturers are currently running.
Question 2: Have You Performed System Inspections?
On your own, make sure you check and replace your air filters routinely. Clogged filters can create inefficiencies in your system because the clogs limit airflow. our heating or cooling system may not be the leading cause of your home comfort problems. We’d recommend checking your filters monthly. When you do this as a matter of routine, you’ll see how your filters are performing and whether they need to be changed every 1, 2, or 3 months. Don’t go for more than three months without replacing your filters.
Professional, annual inspections with our technicians should also be scheduled, especially as your system ages. We’ll be able to determine if any parts, such as motors or belts, have worn down. This regular wear impacts your HVAC system’s performance, so it’s helpful to catch the problem early.
We can also conduct a ductwork inspection to ensure it’s not leaking air. On average, home’s ductwork leaks 30% of the treated air before it reaches the rooms of your house. We can seal leaks or replace any ductwork that’s causing the problem, which will make your system run more efficiently. When you keep up with this maintenance every year, you’ll extend the life span your HVAC system.
Questions 3: Do You Know about the $5,000 Rule?
We hate to make you do math, but it’s simple and has the potential to save you in the long-run. If your furnace breaks down and you have an estimate on the cost to repair it, take that figure and multiply it by the age of your system. For example, if the repair is estimated at $500, and your system is five years old, the magic number is $2,500.
If that number is greater than $5,000, you’d be wise to replace the unit. So, for the example above, where the calculated amount is $2,500, it’s probably safe to schedule the repair and let your existing system live on. If, however, the estimated amount remained $500, but your system is 12 years old ($500 x 12 = $6,000), it’s probably wiser to go ahead and replace the system.
If you do the simple math and the calculation gives you a number close to $5,000, consider other factors, such as whether the unit is close to its maximum lifespan and the number of repairs its needed in the past.
If we’ve been to your house too many times to repair your system, ask our HVAC technician for a return on investment and lifetime cost analysis for a replacement system versus ongoing repairs to help you make your decision.
Question 4: Is Your Current System Energy Efficient?
Have your monthly energy bills increasing consistently? If you notice a spike in your costs, your system may be inefficient. Do be aware of energy rate increases, but if your utility bill goes up every month, you likely want to think about a new furnace.
For the average homeowner, heating and cooling the home accounts for about 50% of your home’s utility expenses! When you upgrade to new ENERGY STAR® certified equipment, it ensures your HVAC system meets or exceeds federal standards for energy efficiency, which will save you money. In addition, rebates are often available for ENERGY STAR certified products. You can check to see if your system is ENERGY STAR qualified, and we can help you determine whether you’re eligible to receive rebates based.
Question 5: Does Your System Use Outdated Technology?
Both your repair costs and comfort level can be impacted by outdated technology used in older HVAC systems. The HVAC industry rapidly progresses, and even though older, analog systems can function well enough, new, digital systems offer a range of advantages in terms of efficiency and communication.
When you upgrade your HVAC equipment, you tap into money-saving benefits like zoning and smart home thermostats. Get a win-win by saving money, while maximizing your family’s comfort. For example, using a smart thermostat allows you to automatically run your systems less often while everyone is at school or work for the day. You program it once to know your family’s schedule, and it will know when to warm things up or cool things off in time for everyone to get home at the end of the day.
If you have an older air conditioning system that uses an ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant, it was gradually phased out and, as of 2020, is no longer produced or imported. It’s now only available from recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies. That is: There’s not much left, which makes it hard to come by and very expensive. All new A/C units use R-410A, which is better for the environment, more energy efficient, and available affordably.
Question 6: Is Your System the Right Size for Your Home?
What? You didn’t know home HVAC units came in different sizes? Think about a 3-bedroom ranch versus a 4 or 5 bedroom, 2-story home. It makes sense that each home would have different HVAC needs. Other factors in addition to your home’s size impact your HVAC system needs. The size of your home, its floor plan, which direction it faces, and the number of windows you have are among the factors that affect what size system you need.
If your system’s too small, it runs too often, or you struggle to reach the right temperature level for your comfort. If your HVAC is too large, it will run in short bursts, which won’t allow it the opportunity it needs to dehumidify the air, and it will cost more than it should to operate. You need the “Goldilocks” of HVAC systems: just right in terms of how often it runs, how long it runs, and how well it maintains your comfort level.
We can help you determine whether or not your existing system is right sized for your home. And if it’s time for a replacement, we can offer you the best options that will be perfect for your home.
How does your HVAC system hold up against our six questions? It can be stressful to know that your heating or cooling systems are functioning poorly. But answering these questions should help put your mind at ease, as you’ll be more confident about what’s best for your home.
If you’re living uncomfortably, or if your utilities seem to be going through the roof, contact us today, and we’ll help you improve the air in your home.