Should I repair or replace my home HVAC system?
Deciding whether to repair or replace a furnace or air conditioner is not a fun question to answer – but it’s one that you will more than likely have to face at some point in your home-owning life.
Sometimes the choice is easy – especially if you have an older system that you know to be on its last legs. But more often than not, we find ourselves in a gray area that requires some careful consideration if we are to make the smartest decision for our Bergen county-area home.
Here are some questions to ask when it comes time to decide whether to repair or replace your HVAC equipment:
- How old is your system? Today’s heating and cooling systems can last 12-15 years or even longer if they’re properly maintained (see below), but that doesn’t mean they’ll be running at peak efficiency toward the end of that cycle. If you’re having problems with a system that is more than 10 years old, more often than not replacing is the smarter choice. At less than that age, you will have a tougher decision. Here’s a rule of thumb: if a repair costs 50 percent or more of the replacement cost, it’s generally worth the upgrade.
- How well has your current system been maintained?If you’ve maintained your HVAC system regularly since day 1, it’s a better bet to last longer with fewer costly problems (the main reason we talk so often about the importance of routine maintenance on this blog). However, while proper maintenance may help you delay replacing your system for a few years longer, no amount of maintenance will make your equipment more efficient than it was when you bought it – or more efficient than a new heating or cooling system.
- Do my space and home limit my options? If you’re looking to replace your A/C or furnace, will your current ductwork support the kind of system you’re thinking about? Do you have enough outdoor space to accommodate the larger compressor of a more substantial cooling system? Sometimes these limitations can dictate what’s possible without making significant changes to your home.
- Have my heating and cooling needs changed? If you’ve added space to your house without changing your HVAC system, the next breakdown you have could be caused by pushing your furnace or A/C beyond its comfort zone to meet the demands of a new heating or cooling load – a problem that is likely to recur if you keep your old, undersized system in place.
- Is my current system safe? A 10-year-old system carries a much higher risk of this problem than one that is newly installed. For example, older heat exchangers can crack or rust, causing carbon monoxide leaks in your home.
When you weight the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing older equipment with more efficient HVAC equipment, there are often significant advantages to replacing an older system. Is repair ever a viable option?
- Your system is less than 5 years old
- You’re planning to move
- You know that incentive options (a federal or state utility rebate program, for example) are planned but have not yet arrived
- You simply can’t afford a new system
The bottom line: HVAC systems are long-term investments whose components work together to ensure your comfort – and like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money.
When it comes time to make your choice, make it a smart one – call the pros at Bolkema.
Not sure if you should repair or replace your furnace or A/C? We can help! Contact us today and we’ll walk through your options to help you find a solution that meets your needs and budget.