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When Should You Replace Your HVAC System?

To repair or to replace?

That’s a question you may find yourself grappling with when something’s not quite right with your heating and cooling system.

It might be an unexplained jump in your energy bill. You may notice more frequent breakdowns as time passes. And, of course, you may start hearing strange noises coming from your furnace or air conditioning unit.

Some HVAC issues are fairly simple and can be fixed on a DIY basis, such as changing your air filter. More complex problems will require the work of a trained professional to correct. And sometimes, an entirely new system is the best long-term solution. 

One of the most important considerations is the age of your unit. You’ll need to think about overall performance and efficiency. It’s also essential to weigh the cost of repairs against the efficiencies you could gain by investing in a new, more advanced system. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that can help determine whether to repair or replace your HVAC system.

Age of your system 

The typical HVAC system lasts about 10-15 years, but this varies based on many factors such as quality and efficiency. Routine maintenance, such as changing filters regularly, will also enable your system to last longer. 

After about 10 years in operation, you may notice your system needing more frequent repairs. It may also cost more to operate and cause your energy bill to creep higher. However, newer systems can be expensive. As noted above, you must weigh the overall value of keeping your old system running versus the efficiency to be gained by investing in a new one. 

As a general rule of thumb, it makes sense to repair HVAC units that are less than 10 years old, well-maintained and experiencing no major failures. Consider opting for a new system if your current one is over 10 years old, if breakdowns are happening more often, if repair bills are increasing or if the warranty has expired.

Lower energy efficiency and higher energy bills 

If you notice a spike in energy usage beyond what is normal for a particular month, it may be time to consider a new HVAC system. A sudden increase in energy costs may also signal a unit that’s past its useful service life. 

Older units lose efficiency over time, which makes them more expensive to operate. Today’s HVAC systems also tend to be more efficient than comparable new units from years ago. For example, new systems in the 1990s required a SEER rating of at least 10, while new systems nowadays typically achieve a SEER rating of above 20. Other factors impacting efficiency include the condition of system components, using the correct refrigerant and whether the system is the right size for the home. 

Uneven temperature 

An efficient system in good condition should keep your entire house at close to the same temperature throughout. Aging systems often have more trouble delivering consistent heating and cooling. 

If you notice that one room or level is significantly hotter or colder than the rest of the house, it could be a sign of trouble with your system. In some cases it will be a minor problem that can be fixed easily. At other times an entirely new system could be required. Contact a technician to diagnose the problem and determine an appropriate solution. 

Poor indoor air quality 

A decline in air quality could mean your HVAC system isn’t functioning as it should. 

You may notice dust building up more quickly even after vacuuming or changing the air filter. This may be accompanied by musty odors that linger even after cleaning the house. People with allergies or respiratory conditions may notice worsening symptoms. 

Another common problem is increased indoor humidity. This is often a sign of faulty ductwork. A professional technician will be able to evaluate your system to determine whether simple repairs are sufficient or if a new HVAC system should be installed. 

Abnormal noises 

Everyone dreads clicking, grinding or rattling sounds coming from the furnace or AC unit. This is a telltale sign of wear and tear on system components. In most cases, simply replacing individual parts is all you need to quiet things down. At other times an entirely new system is needed.

Still not sure? Ask a pro! 

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Remember, a new HVAC system will cost more up front but will likely yield savings in the form of lower energy bills and fewer repairs. If your system is more than 10 years old and the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of a new unit, replacement may be the best option for you.

A professional service provider can perform diagnostic testing to determine whether repair or replacement is the best route. 

At Lorenz Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, we have the knowledge and experience to inspect your system and perform any necessary repairs. We can also recommend and install a new system to keep you comfortable in your home for years to come.

Give us a call at 417-863-1122 or contact us online to speak with our experts!