How to Know When It's Time to Repair or Replace Your HVAC System

One of the most common questions our staff hears is, "Should I repair or replace my HVAC system?" Like many situations in life, the answer is, "it depends." Although buying an entirely new HVAC system is expensive, so is constantly repairing an older unit that breaks down frequently.

One of the best rules of thumb, when faced with a repair versus replace question is to determine whether the repair is economically feasible. Whenever one of our technicians inspects your system, you'll receive a fair assessment regarding whether you should repair or replace. Sometimes the decision is easy, such as when the repair is inexpensive. At other times, you'll still wonder what to do even after you receive a fair assessment. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

Is It Under Warranty?

If you have a newer unit, the first question you should ask yourself and our technician is if the repair is covered under a warranty provided by the manufacturer or by us. If your HVAC system is still under warranty, it's a no-brainer: get it repaired.

Repair Cost vs. System Value

You can use a couple of different methods to determine whether a repair is worthwhile. One is the 50 percent rule. If the repair is higher than 50 percent of the current value of the system, it's time to replace. Another method is the $5,000 rule. Take your cost of the repair and multiply it by the age of the system. If that number comes out to more than $5,000, consider replacing it.

Frequent Repairs of an Older System

Here's where things get a little tricky. No matter how well you maintain your system through annual inspections and cleanings, parts will eventually wear out and break down. When repair costs start approaching the thresholds described above, it's time to think about getting a new system. Although an older system may run well once it's repaired, you'll often realize substantial savings in energy bills along with lower annual maintenance costs when you replace it with a newer HVAC system. That's because today's units are substantially more energy efficient than their predecessors. If your system is between 12 to 15 years old, think about replacing it soon. If it's over 15 years old, definitely replace instead of repair.

Wrong Size or Mismatched System

Bigger isn't always better when it comes to HVAC systems. One that is not properly sized for your home won't work efficiently and may short cycle, meaning it will turn on and off frequently. In addition, both the heating and cooling sides must match up with one another, meaning the heating capacity should not be higher than the cooling capacity and vice versa. Such installations can also result in an improperly operating system that wastes money. Make sure that your technician fully examines your entire system before recommending a new unit as problems such as excessive dirt or leaky ducts can cause an HVAC system to short cycle.


Categories: Heating & Cooling

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