Do I Repair or Replace My HVAC System?
To Repair or Replace? That Is the Question.
Many people will believe that it costs less to repair an HVAC system than to spend the money to replace it. The first time a repair is necessary, that might be accurate. It could even be true the second time. But what about the third and fourth repair? What if you are completing repairs on an air conditioner that is 12 years old, or a furnace that is 30 years old? Is it actually worth that kind of frustration and money? Where do you draw the line between repairing your HVAC system and replacing it?
Learning the Life Span of Your HVAC System
The federal government recommends replacing air conditioners around 10 years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The central reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that modern air conditioners and heat pumps come with outstanding long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning units could save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy expenditure. The older the unit, the less effective and more costly it will be.
When confronted with the options of repair or replacement, one should consider the current and future operating costs against the expense of installing a new system. If your system has received routine maintenance and has not required frequent repairs, and your energy costs have not gone up, then it may not be time to replace the system. Instead, it can be more efficient to make the minor repairs on a well-maintained system, despite its age. If sections in your system have malfunctioned a couple of times in the last two years, it may be time to consider replacement. If it’s wearing out parts quicker than you can replace them, it will only get worse.
How Efficient Is Your HVAC System?
The effectiveness of your air conditioning and heating system is vital to the environment, and should be important to you. Even if your system is just eight or nine years old, it might use two times the energy of a modern, more efficient system. By federal law, the current minimum SEER rating (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for an air conditioner is 13 SEER, instead of 10 SEER back in 2006. The SEER rating is measured by the cooling output across a regular cooling-season divided by the culumlative electric energy input. Though your system may not yet be 10 years old, it may still be insufficiently managing energy use and greatly increasing costs. In the long run, dumping that old 10 SEER unit with a 21 SEER unit may save more on your energy bill.
Examine the Structure of Your Home
If you have a hard time with keeping your home cool enough in summer or warm enough in winter, a poorly insulated home could be part of the problem. Adequate insulation reduces the demand on an HVAC system and allows it to perform more efficiently. If insulation issues are addressed, it could be possible to replace your current system with a smaller, less expensive one, or hold onto your current system for a few more years.
Still unsure if you should repair or replace your current unit? Ask yourself the questions below to help you decide.
- What are the average repair costs for your current heating and cooling system?
- How old is your current system?
- Have you seen a surprise increase in your energy bills over the last few years?
- How often is your system turning on (i.e., how hard is it working) to meet your heating and cooling needs?
Do you have a firm understanding of what you might need, but would like a second opinion? Give Precision Heating & Air a call at 512-772-4467! Precision offers free quotes for system replacements, and our Comfort Consultants will work to provide you with a quote that suits your budget.