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Thinking of Repairing or Replacing Your Home HVAC System?

Posted: August 6, 2014

Date Posted: August 6, 2014
Posted by: David O’Connell, President

Repair or Replace?

Repair or replace your HVAC  system

It’s a question all homeowners will eventually need to ask about their home heating and cooling systems – and one that doesn’t necessarily have a black or white answer. However, there are some key questions that will help you decide which tack to take – as long as you keep two realities in mind:

  • Nobody really knows if fuel costs will go up or down in the long run.
  • Monthly energy savings from new equipment will continue after you’ve paid it off.

Here are 6 more questions to ask to help you determine whether to repair or replace:

  1. How old is your system? If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, you might be better off with a new one – even if your old one is still running well.

    Just like computers, HVAC equipment becomes outdated over time. With better technology, a new high efficiency heating or cooling system can often pay for itself within a few years with the money you save each month.

    If you have problems with a system that’s less than 10 years old, you have a tougher decision. You’ll want to enlist a qualified HVAC technician to help you choose your best option (we can help you with that).

  2. How well has your current system been maintained? HVAC systems can have longer lifespans if they’ve been properly installed and maintained. We highly recommend regular maintenance from Day 1 for every HVAC system we install.

    Proper maintenance may enable you to put off replacing your system for a few years; but do keep in mind that no amount of maintenance will make your equipment more efficient than it was when you bought it – which brings us back to point #1 above.

  3. What kind of fuel does your current system use? Whenever possible, your home heating system should take advantage of the most efficient fuel source available for your region. We will be happy to review all available options as to which system is the best one to meet your comfort and your budget needs.

    Contact us to learn more about what fuel options are available for your home – and if a changeover to propane could save you money in the long run.

  4. What are the limits of your current system? Will your existing ductwork support the kind of system you’re looking for? Can your outdoor space support a larger condensing unit for a new cooling system if needed?

    Limitations such as these can dictate what’s possible for your HVAC systems without undertaking a major overhaul. However, while there can be significant costs associated with system change, higher efficiency may enable you to recoup those costs over time.

  5. What size system does my home need? More than half the new HVAC systems installed in the U.S. are not sized properly, and a mismatch means you’ll pay more every month for a system that performs below expectations. Poorly-sized heating and cooling systems may cost less to install because in order to offer a cheap price many contractors cut corners during the installation process which may result in problems down the road with system longevity, poor comfort performance and/or premature break downs, or may create other issues such as mold resulting from excessive condensation build up. And. In many cases a poor installation will result in no energy savings and possibly increased monthly utility costs.

    Be aware that structural remodeling of your house (an addition, for example) will likely affect the “load” of your HVAC systems – the amount of work they need to do to keep you comfortable. If you’ve done work to your house – or plan to – your heating and cooling systems need to be able meet the demands of a larger load. We can help you determine what size system is best for your home comfort.

  6. Is my current system safe? Older heat exchangers can crack or rust, causing carbon monoxide leaks in your home. A 10-year-old system carries a much higher risk of this problem than one that is newly installed. Annual maintenance may help to uncover and correct issues before they become problems.

When you weigh the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing older equipment with more efficient HVAC equipment, it’s clear that there are significant advantages to replacing an older system. So is repair ever a viable option? Yes, if:

  1. Your system is less than 5 years old.
  2. You’re planning to move soon and expect that the next homeowner will make structural changes to the house that will change the load of the existing system (remodeling, additions, etc.)
  3. New equipment, technology, or incentive options (a federal or state utility rebate program, for example) are planned or will soon become available.
  4. You simply can’t afford a new system.

Do your homework and invest wisely.

Your home’s HVAC system should be considered a long-term investment whose components work together to ensure your comfort. Like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money.

If you’re ready to explore new HVAC options for your home – or need help deciding whether to repair or replace – our expert technicians and sales staff are always here to help.