TechnologyHVAC Replacement vs. Repair : 7 Things to Help...

HVAC Replacement vs. Repair : 7 Things to Help You Decide


Did you know that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can prevent illnesses? The US CDC even says that HVAC systems are necessary for survival. After all, they protect against excessive heat and cold and help keep dust and moisture at bay.

That’s enough reason to ensure your home’s HVAC system always performs at its best. Otherwise, a faulty furnace or AC can put you at risk of cold- or heat-related illnesses.

So, as soon as your home’s comfort system breaks down, either fix it or get an HVAC replacement. This guide lists the primary factors that can help you make the right decision, so be sure to read on.

1. Years in Service

The life expectancy of room air conditioners is 5 to 7 years, while central AC units can last for 7 to 15 years. Furnaces can last even longer, having an average service life of 15 to 25 years.

If your AC or furnace is past its mid-life point (the middle of its life cycle), it may be wise to consider replacing it. The older it is, the higher its odds of breaking down and requiring massive, pricey repairs.

2. Manufacturing or Installation Date

Those dates are strong indicators of how energy efficient your HVAC system is. The further back they are, the less energy efficient the system is.

Consider the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of air conditioners. SEER is an AC’s cooling output ratio, divided by its energy consumption in watt-hours. The higher it is, the more energy-efficient the AC is, as it uses less energy to cool a home.

The US Department of Energy sets minimum SEER requirements by geographical region. The latest standard, still used today, went into effect in 2015. It required a SEER of 13 in the North and 14 in the Southwest and Southeast.

Because the DOE only enforced it in 2015, AC units installed before that may have a SEER rating lower than 13 or 14. Moreover, the agency allowed installers to install non-compliant systems until July 1, 2016. Those include air conditioners manufactured in 2014 or earlier.

So if your air conditioner is already seven or eight years old, it may be one of those non-compliant units. If so, it’s using more electricity than cooling systems manufactured on or after 2015. That translates to higher energy bills, which you can lower by investing in a new AC with a higher SEER.

3. Number of Problems Affecting Your System

According to the folks at Lex Air & Heat, if your AC blows warm air, makes loud noises, or leaks water, it needs repairs. They also recommend HVAC repair for a heater that blows cold air or emits burning smells.

If your old HVAC system experiences only one of those issues, fixing it may be more practical.

4. HVAC Replacement vs. Repair Costs

Expect massive repair bills if your HVAC system suffers from multiple, simultaneous problems. For example, replacing an AC evaporator coil alone can already cost you over $2,000. That’s on top of the other parts that may need repairs or replacements, like the compressor or motor.

The thing is, the typical HVAC replacement cost ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. So a repair bill that’s over $2,000 is almost half of what you have to pay for a new $5,000 system. Thus, replacing the entire thing makes more sense in that case.

5. Frequency of HVAC Malfunctions

If you’ve only had your HVAC system fixed a few times, but it still works well overall, you don’t have to replace it yet. However, if you’ve had to call a repair company several times in the last one or two years, it’s time to add your expenses. If the total is at least 50% of a new HVAC system, it may be best to consider a replacement.

6. Health and Safety Concerns

Carbon monoxide (CO), an invisible, odorless gas, is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. Even at low levels, exposure to this gas can already cause poisoning. So, it’s no wonder that about 50,000 people end up in US emergency departments due to CO poisoning each year.

A malfunctioning gas furnace, in turn, can be a source of unwanted indoor CO. That can happen if the equipment’s gas exchanger breaks or cracks, letting the gas seep out.

A faulty furnace can also pose the risk of a propane or natural gas leak, which can cause an explosion in some cases. At the very least, exposure to the gas itself may cause health effects like nausea and headaches.

Another danger that a defective furnace or air conditioner can bring is a house fire. For instance, of the estimated 354,000 residential fires in the US in 2019, 9.3% was due to heating. Electrical malfunctions (which can happen to your furnace or AC) accounted for 6.8% of the fires.

So the second your HVAC system puts your health and safety at risk, consider replacing it.

7. Your Household’s Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is the sum of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by a person, object, or activity.

GHGs are heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons. They amplify the Earth’s greenhouse effect, causing it to warm faster and at higher levels.

Thus, the more GHGs emitted into the atmosphere, the worse the effects of global warming.

Unfortunately, folks in the US have high carbon footprints, with an average of 16 tons per person. That’s four times the global average! One reason behind that is that most Americans rely heavily on HVAC systems.

That doesn’t mean you need to stop using your furnace or AC, but you can at least use more energy-efficient units. Since they use far less energy than older units, they have fewer GHG emissions. As a bonus, they can cut your utility bills; for example, a high-efficiency AC can save you 20% to 40% on your cooling bills.

Invest in an Efficient HVAC System

As you can see, your HVAC system’s age, efficiency, and defects can help you decide whether to fix or replace it. So if it’s old, inefficient, has many issues, and poses safety risks, go with HVAC replacement. However, if it’s only a few years old and it has only broken down a few times, a repair from specialists like denver air conditioning repair may be a better choice.

Did you like this guide and would like to read more informative articles? If so, feel free to check out our other latest blog posts now!

To understand about Smart Greenhouse industry, Read here

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