When to Repair or Replace An HVAC System

When it comes to air conditioning and furnace maintenance, a broken part, a unit underperforming on energy efficiency, or a dead unit can be very expensive to fix. Homeowners might be tempted to replace the malfunctioning unit, or accidentally jump the gun and replace the entire system when it could be salvaged.  So, how do you know if you should call a professional to have the unit looked at for maintenance or shop for a brand new HVAC unit? Answering just a few questions first will help you know what to do.

How old is your air conditioner, heat pump, furnace or boiler? Energy Star recommends that any A/C or heat pump unit older than 10 years be replaced. If your home has either a furnace or a boiler for heating, you should replace it after 15 years. Though both can last longer when well maintained, they will slowly lose their energy efficiency over time.  Decreased energy efficiency will cause your energy bills to rise, and no amount of repair can improve an old HVAC’s efficiency compared to that of a newer unit. You can assess the energy efficiency of a newer air conditioner with the SEER rating graph. A high-performing unit can save you up to 20% on your energy bills. If you know or suspect that the unit is older than 10 or 15 years, then it is time to consider shopping for a new one. Has the unit broken down during peak seasons?

Homeowners should be wary of keeping a unit if it has died during the hottest or coldest parts of the year, previously. During these times, your HVAC unit is working its hardest to keep your entire home cool or warm. This is when you need your HVAC the most, and when it can’t handle high performance, it’s an indicator that it won’t make it through the next wave of extreme conditions.

Another indicator of an HVAC unit in need of replacement is if it has broken down several times over the last several years. Again, this may be a clue that your HVAC isn’t suited for your home or family’s demand, is too old, or is just a bad unit. Continuous repairs can be very costly, so it might be a better idea to replace the system to ensure that it will last in the coming years.

Does your home’s temperature feel uneven in some rooms?

When you walk through your home, does it feel cool and comfortable in some rooms, but hot and muggy in others? Uneven temperatures throughout your home can be caused by several factors, but they are likely the result of a malfunctioning air conditioner. And, the same thing goes for your furnace if some rooms are freezing but others are warm or hot.  Other possible causes can be dirty filters, malfunctioning thermostats, badly insulated walls or attics, or leaky air ducts between the unit and that particular room.

Is the unit really noisy, or worse, does it shut off randomly?

A noisy unit can be obnoxious to deal with, especially at night when you are trying to sleep. The noise could be from a worn-out part or from the unit over-working itself to cool or warm the home. Eventually, the stress will wear out the unit and cause it to die. Treat the noise as a warning sign that a part needs to be replaced or repaired. It can be more challenging to diagnose the cause of a unit that is randomly shutting off – until it dies for good. Whether the unit is loud and causing racket, or if it is deadly quiet, both are indications that the unit is malfunctioning.

A broken unit during peak seasons can be stressful and costly. Unless your HVAC is older than the designated lifespan, many of these problems can be prevented with a bi-annual appointment with a licensed HVAC professional.  Of course, if you find yourself in need of a professional more often than usual, you may need to look into replacing your HVAC unit with a newer model.

Prevent any future discomfort and have your HVAC system inspected as soon as possible by a certified HVAC technician. Statewide Heating and Air Services has partnered with Trane to offer the best heating and air conditioning units available on the market. Don’t wait for winter to arrive, contact us today to set up an appointment!


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