How do you decide whether you should repair or replace your heating or cooling system? Some homeowners wait until it fails completely. 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 be lower than they think.
Additionally, the biggest cost of your HVAC system is not the initial purchase price. This is only 10-15% of the lifetime cost of the unit. The rest is the cost of utilities, repairs and maintenance over the life of the unit, which can represent $30,000-$40,000 total. Making the correct decision up front can make a huge difference!
Most furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps today are designed to last approximately 15 years. Even if your equipment is not quite that old you could still benefit from replacing it if:
- An expensive repair is needed. As your equipment gets closer to that 15 year mark, it does not make as much sense to have a costly repair done. With any significant repair you should first weigh the option to replace unit.
- You haven’t been maintaining your HVAC equipment. A heating and cooling system that is maintained will keep running much longer. If you know you have been neglecting your maintenance, think hard about whether to just replace the unit instead of repairing it. Studies show poorly maintained equipment fails 3-5 years sooner than well-maintained equipment.
- You have used the system a lot. The average lifespan is just that, an average. Furnaces in very cold areas may not last as long as those in more temperate regions. Or maybe you are a family that keeps your air conditioning set at 65 degrees. We would expect the additional hours of use to cause that equipment to fail sooner than equipment set at a higher temperature that gets less use.
- A new system would save you money on your utility bill. There are more efficient options in furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps today. If your existing HVAC equipment is not efficient, you can save money every month just by replacing it with higher efficiency equipment. In addition, manufacturers and utility companies frequently offer rebates on this equipment.
No one wants to waste money. If your older heating and cooling equipment needs a large repair, consider finding out your replacement options first. For more information about evaluating the condition of your HVAC 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.