It’s a time every homeowner dreads – but one most will face if they live in one place long enough: an unexpected breakdown occurs on an older home HVAC system, and you’re left with choosing between fixing it and investing in an HVAC upgrade.
It’s not always an easy decision, or one you should take lightly – but there are questions you can ask yourself that will help you get to the bottom of a choice you can live with.
In part one of this two part post, we’ll discuss some of the questions you should consider as you mull your HVAC options. We’ll add a few more, plus some further guidance, in Part Two.
Repairing or replacing your HVAC system: Key questions to ask
How old is your system? In general, the older your furnace or air conditioner is, the less sense a repair makes. Most home heating and cooling systems last about 15 years – which means that if your system is 10 or 12 years old, It has probably lost a step or two over the years due to normal wear and tear. That comes into play when you weigh repair vs. replacement, since today’s high efficiency heating and cooling equipment will almost certainly outperform and older system by a fair margin (meaning a new system will pay for itself quickly in energy savings). If your system is less than 10 years old, you will have a tougher decision – talk with us to discuss your options (here’s a rule of thumb: if a repair costs 50 percent or more of the replacement cost, it’s usually worth it to upgrade).
How well have you maintained your current HVAC system? A properly installed and maintained HVAC system will last longer – sometimes years longer – than a one that’s been neglected (one of the main reasons why we’re so adamant about the importance of routine maintenance on this blog). However, while proper maintenance may help you delay replacing your system, no amount of maintenance will make your equipment perform better than it did when it was new – and as we said above, today’s systems are more advanced and operate more efficiently than ever before.
What kind of fuel does your current system use? Your home heating system should take advantage of the most efficient fuel source available for the area where you live (we’re lucky to have several options here in Maine and New Hampshire). If it doesn’t, you could be paying more than you should to provide the heat or cooling you need. Contact us to learn if a fuel switch could save you money in the long run.