Repair vs. Replace Your HVAC: How to Decide?
Repairing or replacing an HVAC unit is a common question. You need to consider several factors while making this decision. The lifespan of your unit is one of the most significant factors to take into account. It can be expensive to replace a full heating or AC system. Hence, you would want to consider repairing your old system before replacing it.
These are a few factors to help you decide whether to repair or replace your HVAC equipment.
1. How Safe is It?
The primary consideration in the repair vs. replace dilemma is safety. It’s common sense you should replace the system if it presents a safety hazard. This is particularly true if the repair is temporary or costly. For instance, you don’t want to repair a cracked heat exchanger in the furnace. This can cause poisonous carbon monoxide leaks which can prove to be potentially fatal.
However, other things like faulty wiring or stuck valves can be repaired. Again, you should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to arrive at the best decision.
2. Age of the Unit
The second consideration is the lifespan of the unit. As mentioned earlier, the average lifespan of a furnace is not more than 20 years. The installation technician would have written down the date somewhere on the unit during the installation process. You can also check the metal identification plate inside the chamber door for serial and model numbers. The manufacturer should be able to help you with the date of installation.
You don’t necessarily need to discard a unit that is older than two decades. These HVAC life expectancy dates are based on average. This means that more than half the units would experience a burn out. These numbers are averages, but they are not set in stone.
There are several other factors which can affect the longevity of the HVAC system. For instance, if you did not use the furnace because you were away most of winter, the equipment would likely last longer. However, this is only if you had it maintained properly.
3. Effectiveness of Heating and Cooling
Systems that are not running efficiently will not maintain a comfortable temperature. You probably have an inefficient system if you notice certain rooms in the house to not achieve the set temperature. Generally, older systems have trouble maintaining a comfortable temperature in the entire household.
4. Other Factors
There are certain other things you should take into consideration:
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
Older units usually burn more fuel to make up for inefficiencies. This causes an increase in the carbon footprint and higher utility bills. Older HVAC units generally have an AFUE of less than 65%.
Cost of Repair vs. Replacement
New furnace, boilers and other HVAC units are usually substantial investments. Cost of repairing one can be significant as well. There is always the likelihood of the same problem happening again. You should consider replacing the heating system if repairs are more than 50% of the replacement costs.
Tax Incentives and Manufacture Rebates
You don’t need to break the bank to purchase a new HVAC equipment. Current tax incentives and manufacturer rebates for energy efficient HVAC units can be useful in saving enough money to purchase a newer equipment which can make your Northern California life much better.