In today’s blog we want to refresh a list of topics about repairing or replacing failing heating and air conditioning systems.
When a comfort system fails – with “fail” ranging from energy inefficiency to mechanical and / or electrical breakdown – you can either repair what’s broken or replace it with something new. Should you patch a problem, swap a component, modify existing equipment … or invest in a total upgrade?
Consider the following to easier decide on whether it’s best to repair or replace:
What’s too much? A repaired part oftentimes fixes the problem. But if your HVAC frequently malfunctions, tally repair bills from the past couple years to calculate whether money might be better applied toward a new, high-efficiency system that pays for itself through energy savings.A good starting value to consider replacement over repair could be when proposed repair costs exceed $500.
Age up? Age out. Heat pumps and air conditioners more than 10 years old should be replaced. Even when still fairly dependable, they’re far less efficient than new Energy Star-rated comfort systems which, properly installed, can save up to 40% on heating/cooling costs. This age-out rule also applies to furnaces and boilers more than 15 years old.
Keep your cool. Heating units tend to outlast cooling components, so it often makes economic sense to repair an air conditioning problem rather than replace the entire HVAC system.
Phase-out. Ozone-depleting refrigerants are being phased out in favor of more eco-friendly options. Therefore avoid repairs on older units requiring discontinued and very expensive refrigerants such as R-22.
The Goldilocks syndrome. This room is too hot; that one is too cold. The culprit could be improperly sized equipment (bigger is NOT always better) or faulty ductwork. Have an HVAC contractor measure your home to determine the precise capacity needed for optimal comfort, no more, no less!
Perk up. Financial incentives – rebates, tax credits, special financing – should also be considered. These are generally offered only on new equipment, not on repairs.
- Repair or replacement decisions depend on a couple of topics to answer, but eventually boil down to financing.
- System age is often the most important factor due to much improved efficiencies of new comfort systems and their energy savings compared to old systems.
- And let’s not forget incentives, especially tax incentives. We have seen incentives of up to 30% of replacement value.
Consult with your trusted heating and air contractor for the best and most affordable solution.