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Should You Replace or Repair Your HVAC System?

Updated: Apr 20

Sooner or later, every homeowner is going to find themselves with this question: Should I repair or replace my HVAC System?


This is not a “one size fits all”. Every case is different, and there are many factors you should take in account when deciding which option might benefit you the most.


We decided to make you a guide on whether repairing or replacing makes the most sense for you.


1 – Age of the system


The age of the unit is the first thing you want to take a look at.

An air conditioning system should last you at least 10 to 15 years, and a furnace can last anywhere from 14 to 20 years, if regular maintenance is performed by a qualified technician. If your current HVAC system is coming to an end of its lifetime, you should at least consider the benefits of a new system.


2 - Frequent Repairs


If you find yourself doing repeatedly repairs on the same aging system, and those repairs are becoming progressively more expensive, maybe it’s time to replace your HVAC system. There are many different factors that can cause frequent repairs, including how old your system already is, the overwork your system has been doing because it was not properly sized, and much more.


Dig into the cost of the last repairs you did on your system. The money you’ve been spending and will spend in repairs may help offset the cost of a new system.

On the other hand, if your system only calls for the occasional repair while performing well overall (or if it’s still new with less than five years on it) it’s likely a replacement won’t be necessary for some time and that the occasional repair is all it needs.


3 - Health and Safety Concerns


A poorly performing HVAC system can compromise your health and safety around the house.

When we breathe, pollution enters our lungs and can enter our bloodstream.

Dust and dander can make allergies worse, while mold spores can actually cause damage to the structure of your home.

A properly performing system improves indoor air quality, while reducing mildew growth or mold.


4 - Loud Noises


Excessive noise could signal your system is working too hard to keep up with the heating or cooling demands of your home.


It may be a problem with the system compressor, if the noise only happens when the system starts up or shuts down. A crunching noise often means that bearings in the fan motor are bad or need lubrication, and loud vibrations can be the result of debris caught in the fan blades.


Nonetheless, a technician should be able to locate the noise source and assess the problem.



5 - High Energy Bills


A good way to see if you need a replacement would be checking your monthly energy bills to see how they compare to the same time last year.


An increase (a significant one) may indicate a change in the operating efficiency of your system. A new, more efficient HVAC system will most likely result in savings that you can apply to the cost of a new system.



6 – Advancements over time


The HVAC industry has evolved significantly in recent years. While older analog systems can still function well, modern digital systems are much more efficient and have more communication features. It depends on the age of your system, but there are a lot of home comfort advancements that could drastically transform your air, variable-capacity units, indoor air quality innovations, and zoning technology where you control temperatures in different sections of your home. There are also now smart thermostats with the amazing ability to monitor sensors in all of your HVAC equipment to react, diagnose, and troubleshoot.

Not to mention recent regulation changes, meaning older units that still use the ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant will become costlier and more difficult to repair, due to R-22 being phased out.


7 - Expected Time in Your Home


Are you considering moving away? If you are thinking about replacing your HVAC system you should consider the expected time in your home. If you plan to move prior to reaping the benefits within the payback period, maybe repairing your system is a better option.


Still, if selling your home is in your future plans, you should speak with a local real estate professional.


Why, you ask?


To determine how a new system impacts the overall value of your home. If a new HVAC system adds value, then you may decide that replacement is worth the investment.


As you make the decision to repair or replace, rely on the expertise of Butler's HVAC, which is licensed to maintain and service your system. If replacing your system seems appropriate, we can explain the importance of efficiency, sound ratings, load calculations, comfort features, and warranties, as you select a new system.


-Your local heating and air experts since 2006


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