The most expensive appliance in the home is your heating and cooling system. HVAC equipment is designed to last a long time, but eventually you will need to spend thousands of dollars on a professional replacement.
But how does a homeowner know when to buy a new HVAC system?
When your HVAC system breaks down (and it will), usually at the worst time when it’s really hot or cold out, there is pressure there to make a quick decision about whether to fix or replace. But before you make a rushed decision, take some time to think about these 5 things and consult with a licensed HVAC professional.
What to Consider Before Replacing Your Heating and Cooling System
Many factors go into deciding whether to repair or replace the HVAC system. If you are considering HVAC replacement, ask yourself the following 5 questions:
How long are you going to be in the home?
Is this a place where you will stay forever and want to have it really nice, or are you moving next year? How long will you be there?
If you are getting ready to sell your home, however, replacing the HVAC system can be a huge selling point.
What’s the age of the equipment?
If your HVAC system is older, it won’t be as energy efficient as the new equipment on the market. Most people start considering an HVAC replacement after 10 years. After 15 years, you could save a lot of money by installing a modern, energy-efficient model.
Keep in mind that average lifespans vary greatly from one home and environment to another.
What refrigerant is in the system?
Some refrigerants are being phased out, such as the famous R-22, also known by its brand name Freon™.
If you are still using the phased-out refrigerants, you will end up spending more money on repairs and refrigerant recharging. While you can still service HVAC systems that use phased-out refrigerants, it will be more expensive since supplies are limited.
Learn more about the EPA’s refrigerant phase-out.
Have you made a lot of repairs recently?
If you’re facing one repair after another, it’s probably time to replace the entire system. Of course, a few minor repair needs shouldn’t cause you to rush into purchasing a new system. But, if frequent problems lead you to repair or replace multiple parts throughout the year, replacing the entire system is usually less costly. Speak with a professional for more information.
Are your energy bills unusually high?
Proper preventative maintenance can keep your HVAC system running efficiently for many years. However, even if you change your filters every month and schedule maintenance once or twice a year, the parts of your air conditioner and furnace will eventually wear out to the point that it simply cannot heat and cool efficiently.
If you have unusually high bills but you have made no major changes in how often you use your system, replacement may be the best choice.
Sign up for a home maintenance plan to make sure all of your home’s major systems (electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) are working safely and efficiently year-round.
Upgrade to a More Efficient System
Even if your bills have remained relatively stable throughout the years, a new HVAC system may still save you more money than an older system.
A new air conditioner will have a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), the rating system that helps you determine whether a new system is energy efficient. A higher SEER may help you save a lot of money every year, offsetting the cost of a new system.
What Is SEER?
Think about SEER like miles per gallon in a car. The higher the mpg, the more efficient that car is—you can go further on a gallon of gas. SEER just tells you how efficient the equipment when using electricity—the higher the seer rating, the less electricity it uses to keep your house cool.
How often can we expect to replace our heating and cooling system?
It varies depending where you are. For instance, if you are closer to the coast, the corrosive atmosphere can cause premature failure. Outdoor equipment may only last 5-7 years. In the Birmingham market, however, 12-15 years is closer to the average, but some go less, so go more.
For more information, read our other articles on the topic and contact the experts at OnTime Service for a free estimate on a new HVAC system.
- Is It Time to Replace Your Furnace?
- How to Tell If You Need a New Furnace
- How to Extend the Lifespan of Your HVAC System
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