To Repair or Replace: That is the Question.
Many people will tell you that it costs less to repair an HVAC system than to spend the money to replace it and, the first time a repair is needed, that might be true. It might even be true the second time. But what about the third and fourth repair? What if you are making repairs to an air conditioner that is 12 years old, or a furnace that is 30 years old? Is it really worth that much frustration and money? Where do you draw the line between repairing your HVAC system and replacing it?
Determining the lifespan of your system
The federal government recommends replacing air conditioners over ten years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The primary reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that newer air conditioners and heat pumps offer significant long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning units can save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy use. The older the unit, the less efficient and more costly it will be.
When faced with the choice of repair or replacement, one should weigh the current and future operating costs against the cost of installing a new system. If your system has received regular maintenance and has not needed frequent repairs, and your energy costs have not increased, then it may not be time to replace the system. Instead, it may be more cost-effective to make the minor repairs on a well-maintained system, regardless of its age. If components in your system have failed a couple of times in the last two years, it may be time to consider replacement; if it’s wearing out parts faster than you can replace them, it will continue to do so.
How efficient is your system?
The efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system is important to the environment, and should be important to you. Even if your system is only eight or nine years old, it could use twice the energy of a newer, more efficient system. By federal law, the current minimum SEER rating (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for an air conditioner is 13 SEER, as opposed to 10 SEER back in 2006. The SEER rating is determined by the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input. While your system may not yet be ten years old, it could still be inefficiently using energy and greatly increasing your energy costs. In the long run, replacing that old 10 SEER unit with a 21 SEER unit could save you up to 56% on your energy bill.
Consider the structure of your home
If you have trouble keeping your home cool enough in summer or warm enough in winter, a poorly insulated home may be part of the problem. Sufficient insulation decreases the demand on an HVAC system and allows it to run more efficiently. If insulation issues are addressed, it may be possible to replace your current system with a smaller, less expensive one, or keep your current system for a few more years.
Still not sure if you should repair or replace your current unit? Review the questions below to help you decide.
- What are the annual repair costs for your current heating and cooling system?
- How old is your current system?
- Have you seen a significant increase in your energy bill over the last couple of years?
- How often is your system turning on (i.e., how hard is it working) to meet your heating and cooling needs?
Do you have a good understanding of what you might need, but would like a second opinion? Give Precision Heating & Air a call at 512-300-7422! Precision offers free quotes for system replacements, and our Comfort Consultants will work to provide you with a quote that fits your budget.