Most homeowners do not think about their HVAC system until a problem is impossible to ignore. The heat stops working in the middle of a cold snap, the air conditioning goes out during a heat wave, or the system begins to make noises that are keeping those living in the home up at night. At this point, it is time to get a technician out to service the unit and often times, to make a big decision – do we replace the unit or do we repair? It may be assumed that as an HVAC company, we’d automatically encourage our customers to replace their units, but that is far from the truth. Many things go into the decision of whether to replace or repair, and while facing this decision may seem like a daunting task, McClintock Heating & Cooling employees are well trained to help you to navigate all of these considerations.
As we have discussed in the past, regular maintenance is imperative for the overall well-being of your unit. If you have been having regular maintenance on your unit, the odds are good that repairs will be the most cost efficient way for you to address the problem. But even if your unit has been well maintained, there are still other situations that may call for a system replacement, such as the initial quality of the unit. If you’re finding yourself calling for repairs several times per year, it probably makes the most long-term financial sense to go with the replacement.
One of the biggest considerations that goes into the decision of whether to replace or repair is age. When a system is relatively young, in most cases it makes sense to move forward with the repairs and put off replacement. As the unit ages, however, efficiency decreases while the amount of repairs tends to increase, making the decision to replace more evident. The EPA and Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program recommends replacement when your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old and when your furnace is more than 15 years old.
A great rule of thumb that technicians often use when working with homeowners is the 50% rule. If the cost of the repairs near 50% of the value of the unit, it is probably time for a replacement. Conversely, if the cost of the repairs is significantly less than 50% of the value of the heating and cooling system, moving forward with just repairs may be the best choice.
Ultimately, the decision to replace or repair must come from you, the homeowner, but with advice and assistance from sources such as McClintock Heating and Cooling and the ENERGY STAR online checklist you’ll be able to make the best decision to keep your home comfortable and your unit working well!