Repairing or replacing your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system isn’t the easiest decision. More often than not, people ask their local experts for a second opinion before diving into either option. This is a good solution if you’re not sure what you’re dealing with or if you don’t want to deal with it yourself – yes, let other people worry about that and just relax outside on your rattan sofa.
Not once have people went to experts only to find out that their HVAC systems didn’t need replacing. This can be quite the good news for someone who isn’t looking to invest a lot of money in a functional system. Replacing an HVAC system can be quite pricey. Luckily, newer system won’t require you to replace them for years to come. Often, it just comes down to maintenance and repairs.
But how can you tell? When do you repair the HVAC system and when do you replace it?
If you’re eager to find out the answers to these questions, keep reading.
The first thing you need to look at is the system’s age. According to experts, an HVAC system has a lifespan of roughly 10-15 years. That’s quite a long time for a system that is being used on a regular basis, all year round.
So, if your system is older or is closing in on the 15 year mark, chances are, you might have to replace it, rather than repair it. Naturally, you could keep repairing and patching it until it completely breaks down but that won’t be cost effective, will it?
If you don’t know the age of your system, you can still determine whether it’s old or not. The first thing you need to consider is when’s the last time you’ve repaired it? Was it last year? Did it already break down again? Did you change a part a few months ago and not a different part is broken?
Unfortunately, these are all sings that a replacement is more viable than a repair. It may seem pricier but it’s not quite true. If you factor in the price of the multiple repairs you’d be paying for with the old system, you’ll see that replacing it is cheaper in the long run.
The financial burden of a repair or replacement should also be considered before making the final decision. Depending on where you live, the size of your home or office building, and the brand you choose, a new HVAC system could easily set you back a few thousand dollars, euros, or pounds. Unfortunately, this probably won’t include the handiwork.
To determine whether or not the costs of repairing would be greater than that of replacing the entire HVAC unit, you can use the following calculation:
In broader terms, if you multiply the cost of repairs with the age of your unit in years and the result is less than the cost of the replacement unit, you can still invest in repairs. If you haven’t yet settled on a replacement unit and you don’t know the costs, try using the average price between several units. This should give you a rough estimate.
This might go unnoticed for a while. Usually, older HVACs tend to use more energy for less performance. If your energy bill has been on the rise in the past months and your household or office building isn’t really using more energy, it could be a sign that the HVAC system is getting old.
Older systems are less energy efficient from the start. However, as they age, they get even less energy efficient. There are multiple scales that assess the efficiency of a system. The most popular one is the one from Energy Star. You can use one of their tools to assess if you’re spending too much on your energy bill.
If the energy efficiency of your system is bad, repairing or replacing it will fix the problems.
Nothing is worse than an underperforming HVAC system. It won’t be able to heat up the enclosures properly, the ventilation will be sub-par, and the cooling will be almost non-existent. Given the increasing worldwide temperatures and the number of air contaminants we face everyday, this is a major consideration when talking about repairing or replacing your HVAC system.
One of the ways you can determine the performance of your system is measuring how long it takes for it to heat, ventilate, or cool the room. If your unit doesn’t seem to be able to match the temperature setting on the thermostat, you have a problem. Similarly, a faulty system may take too long to reach the right temperature. Ventilation is a bit harder to assess but you can do it by assessing the odors in the room. If it takes too long for different odors to disappear, you probably have a ventilation problem.
Everything is based on technology advancements. Even your old HVAC. Obsolete technology but technology nevertheless. The good news is that technology is constantly changing and improving.
The good news is that newer HVACs have longer lifespans, are more energy efficient, and perform better. The bad news is that older HVACs become harder to repair because the technology used to make them slowly becomes obsolete.
If your system is too old to be repaired, replacing it with a newer, modern version is a great solution to your problems. In the long run, you’re saving money on energy bills and repairs.
The best way to ensure that you’re making the right decision is to do your research. Check the age of your system, calculate the costs, look over your energy bills, and assess its performance. You can only make the right decision if you take all of these into consideration.
You probably shouldn’t be doing repairs on your own. However, with a bit of confidence and an owner’s manual, a lot can be achieved.
On the other hand, when a replacement is required, it’s probably better to ask for expert advice. Either way, remember that whether you’re repairing or replacing, you should never settle for cheap items. Often, cheap means less performance, less energy efficiency, and higher repair bills.