HVAC systems have a lot of parts that inevitably wear out over time. At some point, replacing the system becomes more economical than continuing to pay for costly and unpredictable repairs. But how do you know when the right time is to purchase a new HVAC system?
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to replace your HVAC:
1. Your system is more than 10 years old
Age is not the only factor to consider, but if your system has passed its 10th birthday it may be showing signs of old age. Newer systems are engineered to function well for 15 to 20 years, but older systems were not built to last that long. A well-maintained system can last longer than a poorly maintained one and beat the odds for a while, but will eventually start needing more repairs and having more issues.
2. Repairs are more frequent and more costly
If your system is breaking down more often and calling for repairs has become a common occurrence, consider how much you are spending to keep what is likely an outdated system running. Compare the cost of frequent repairs to the cost of a new, highly efficient system. A useful rule of them is that it’s time to replace your old system when the repair costs are greater than half the price of a new unit.
3. Energy usage/bills continue to rise
Increasing energy bills are a sign that your HVAC system is losing its efficiency. That means it has to run longer and work harder to reach and maintain the set temperature. Most household energy consumption (more than 50%) is attributed to heating and air conditioning. A professional can conduct a home energy audit to determine the exact cause. A number of factors that can be contributors, such as leaks around windows and doors or insufficient insulation, but if the culprit is your aging HVAC, a new high-efficiency system can save a lot of money and keep your home comfortable.
4. Your system runs constantly
Your furnace and air conditioner should turn on and off intermittently to maintain the proper temperature. If your system runs constantly it most likely has lost its ability to heat or cool your home effectively. This could be due to age (wear and tear) or an accumulation of dirt and dust (maintenance), or both.
5. The comfort level in your home is not sufficient
Old HVAC systems will have more trouble maintaining an even, consistent temperature throughout your home. This could be caused by leaks in ductwork, a malfunctioning thermostat or other maintenance issues, but most likely it means the system is not powerful enough to effectively heat or cool your entire home. The result is less comfort due to hot or cold spots and higher energy bills.
6. Unusual sounds and smells are noticeable
A properly working system should be relatively quiet and circulate fresh, odor-free air. Bad odors or unusual noises could be a sign of a serious problem that should be evaluated right away.
7. Poor indoor air quality
Mold, mildew, excessive dust or unusually high humidity can be caused by inadequate ventilation and a failing HVAC system.