Your HVAC system may be a sophisticated assembly of components, but it will eventually need maintenance, repair or replacement. It’s easy to just pay a heating and cooling technician to fix the thing and be done with it, but is that the best course of action? If you find yourself asking the “repair or replace” question, here are a few factors to keep in mind. Some issues might only require a skilled professional repair person to resolve, while others may require a complete swap out of your entire HVAC assemblies.
How Old Is Your Equipment?
Replacing your HVAC systems may be a wise idea to take advantage of newer heating and cooling innovations. ENERGY STAR recommends swapping out heat pumps and air conditioners more than 10 years old, and furnaces and boilers over 15 years old. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that you could save up to 20 percent on annual heating and cooling costs by switching out older equipment for products bearing the ENERGY STAR label.
Older systems also present other issues that might merit replacement. You’ll cut back on repairs that could become more frequent and expensive as they age. Moreover, many of these styles of HVAC units were made without programmable thermostats. Without the ability to control temperatures when you’re not home and with increasing maintenance expenses, keeping aging units may prove not to be cost-effective.
Do HVAC Repair Costs Nickle and Dime You?
Each service call to a heating and cooling equipment company could easily run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. You want to rectify problems and keep your units running smoothly after the technician has left your home. However, if you’re constantly making phone calls to get your assemblies fixed, that’s money leaking right out of your wallet. If you’re noticing any of these common issues, it might be time to change out your HVAC system:
- Inconsistent temperatures between rooms
- Excessive dust or noise
- Some rooms are too dry or too humid
- Frequent repairs with simultaneously rising energy costs
R22 Versus R410A: Why It Matters
In agreement with the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified a schedule for phasing out certain ozone-depleting substances. Included on the list was R-22, commonly known as Freon and used in a wide range of cooling and refrigeration equipment. The EPA ordered the phaseout of R-22 in imports and state-side manufacturing starting in 2010, except for products fabricated prior to January 1 of that year. Chances are, your HVAC systems might still be using R-22 if they were made or installed prior to 2010.
In addition to harming the earth’s ozone layer, R-22 uses over three times the amount of energy to operate an A/C unit than R-410A, a newer coolant developed in the early 1990s. In contrast, R-410A contains none of the chlorine that R22 has and is capable of running at higher pressures. Furthermore, Angie’s List revealed that repair costs for units consuming R-22 are rising sharply due to the increasing prices of their refrigerants. If your system still uses the older style of cooling, it may be time to consult your heating and cooling repair vendor about a replacement.
Get the Facts and Evaluate Your Options
The “repair or replace” decision is never an easy one, but considering your options and associated costs can help you determine which one is in your best interests. It might be a no-brainer with newer systems that are more energy-efficient, but numbers will still speak volumes when it comes to older HVAC products. Consider swapping out units that still use R-22 refrigerant, assemblies with high repair and energy consumption costs and less-efficient equipment without programmable temperature controls. If you need guidance, your HVAC company can provide some smart advice.