If your heating and cooling system needs work, how do you decide whether you should repair or replace it? Some homeowners wait until it can no longer be repaired. But looking into replacement before you absolutely have to allows you to take your time and make the best decision. Many people have no experience replacing HVAC equipment so the overall cost may even be lower than they expected.
The biggest cost of your heating and air conditioning system is not the initial purchase price. This adds up to only 10-15% of the lifetime cost of the equipment. The rest of the cost is utilities and repairs/maintenance over the life of the unit. This can represent $30,000-$40,000 total. Making a good decision up front can make a huge difference!
Most furnaces and air conditioners today are designed to last approximately 15 years with regular maintenance. Even if your equipment isn’t quite that old you might benefit from replacing it if:
- An expensive repair is needed. When your equipment gets closer to that 15 year old mark, it doesn’t always make sense to have a costly repair done. With any large repair on older equipment it makes sense to compare it to the cost of a new unit.
- You don’t maintain your heating and air conditioning equipment. A heating and cooling system that’s maintained will keep running much longer than one that isn’t. If you know you’ve been neglecting your maintenance, consider whether to just replace the unit instead of repairing it. Studies show that poorly maintained HVAC equipment fails 3-5 years sooner than well-maintained furnaces and air conditioners.
- You use the system a lot. The average lifespan I quoted earlier is just that, an average. Furnaces in very cold areas frequently don’t last as long as those in milder regions. Or your family may keep the air conditioning set at 65 degrees. We would expect the additional hours of run time to make that air conditioner fail sooner than equipment set at a higher temperature getting less use.
- A new system would save you money on your utility bill. There are more efficient options in furnaces and air conditioners available today. If your existing equipment isn’t efficient, you could save money every month just by replacing it. In addition, utility companies currently offer rebates on high-efficiency equipment.
No one wants to waste money. If you have older heating and cooling equipment that needs a large repair, consider finding out the cost of replacement first. There is usually no charge to get a quote. For more information about evaluating the condition of your heating and air conditioning equipment, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.
Kim Nemecek works at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. After growing up in Cleveland, she lived in Florida for many years, working at an air conditioning company there. Kim has four grown children, two grandchildren and two spoiled dogs. She lives in Solon with her husband, Todd.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.