Do I Repair or Replace My HVAC System?
To Repair or Replace? That Is the Question.
Many people will tell you that it costs less to repair an HVAC system than to spend the money to replace it. The first time a repair is needed, that might be right. It may even be true the second time. But what about the third and fourth repair? What if you are making repairs on an air conditioner that is 12 years old, or a furnace that is 30 years old? Is it truly worth that kind of disappointment and money? What should you choose between repairing your HVAC system and replacing it?
Establishing the Life Span of Your HVAC System
The federal government suggests replacing air conditioners around 10 years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The main reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that new air conditioners and heat pumps offer significant long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning equipment can save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy usage. The older the unit, the less efficient and more costly it will be.
When confronted with the decision between repair or replacement, one should weigh the current and future operating costs against the expense of installing a new system. If your system has been given regular maintenance and has not needed excessive repairs, and your energy costs have not increased, then it may not be time to replace the system. Instead, it can be better to make the small repairs on a well-maintained system, despite its age. If parts in your system have malfunctioned a few times in the previous two years, it could be time to start the process of replacement. If it’s going through parts faster than you can replace them, it will quickly add up.
How Efficient Is Your HVAC System?
The effectiveness of your air conditioning and heating system is crucial to the environment, and should be important to you. Even if your heating and air conditioning is just eight or nine years old, it can use two times the energy of a newer, 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 established 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 might still be poorly managing energy use and greatly increasing costs. In the long run, dumping that old 10 SEER unit with a 21 SEER unit might save more on your energy bill.
Think about the Structure of Your Home
If you have a hard time with keeping your home cool enough in summer or warm enough in winter, an inadequately insulated home can be a contributing factor. Appropriate insulation lowers the wear and tear on an HVAC system and helps it to perform more efficiently. If insulation issues are taken care of, it may be possible to exchange your current system with a smaller, less expensive one, or keep your current system for some more years.
Still uncertain if you should repair or replace your current unit? Ask yourself the questions below to help you decide.
- What are the yearly repair costs for your current heating and cooling system?
- How old is your current system?
- Have you seen a sharp increase in your energy bills over the last couple of 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 solid grasp of what you might need, but would prefer 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.