To repair or replace? This question is a tough nut to crack as there are no set rules that govern when to do HVAC repairs or replacement. As the warm months draw to a close and the signs of cold weather start to appear, you begin to seek answers — and fast. Though it’s challenging to know when to do HVAC repairs or replacement, the decision should be one that will benefit you most in terms of convenience, cost, and safety. Here are some scenarios that will help you decide whether you should decide between HVAC repairs or replacement.
When to Replace a Heating System?
Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. This gas can kill when inhaled for prolonged periods. And what makes it even more deadly is its tasteless, odorless, and colorless properties that make it hard to notice. You will only know when bodily symptoms start to appear. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process that occurs in gas-powered furnaces. If the combustion chamber is cracked, possibly due to wear and tear, its contents start to leak out, then the threat of gas poisoning becomes very real. If this happens, you have to replace it with a new one.
Old Unit: As a heating system gets older, one ends up paying more for repairs as compared to having it replaced altogether. Even the highest quality heating system doesn’t last forever. A heating system needs to be replaced approximately every 15 years. It’s at this point; it becomes inefficient and ineffective. Replacement is more economical. A newer HVAC system is more energy-efficient, and the whole system runs smoother.
Average lifespans of different types of heating systems:
- Electric – 10 to 12 years
- Gas – 10 to 16 years
- Oil – 10 to 15 years
- Hybrid – 15 to 20 years
Excessive Repair Costs: The cost of repair ultimately depends on the nature of the problem. So for minor issues such as obstruction with airflow or dirt build-up on the tubes, a simple fix won’t cost that much. But when significant parts of the heating system are damaged, say a cracked heat exchanger or malfunctioning furnace motors, costs can climb up to a thousand dollars. So as a general rule of thumb, when repair costs exceed 50% of the cost of replacement, it’s much more economical for you to replace it with a new and efficient heating system.
Higher Utility Bill: Heating costs fluctuate every year due to changes in the weather, and other commercial factors such as supply and demand. But what you should look out for is when there is an unusual spike from these fluctuations, especially during the winter months when the heating system is on-demand. If you compared these spikes from your yearly heating bills, you would notice that these spikes are indicative of higher than usual energy consumption, which may be well enough to be the result of your inefficient heating system. At this point, you may consider having it replaced.
Ask An Expert
The scenarios outlined above will give you the signal to replace your heating system entirely. If you’re stuck in a dilemma between HVAC repairs or replacement, remember to take a step back and gather your thoughts. Then look back at the scenarios outlined above to help guide you make the right decisions for you.