When to consider replacing your HVAC system
Is your air conditioner and heating unit on its last leg or will a good tune up do the job? You’re A/C unit is an investment. Not only because of the cost, but because of the savings it can provide. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with newer Energy Star compliance units could cut your annual energy bill by hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year.
Let’s look at the reasons and you might consider replacing you’re A/C unit.
Consider the age of your A/C
Generally, if your equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, consider replacement unit that has a higher efficiency rating than a standard model.
You can also use the 5,000 rule many HVAC technicians use. This is done by taking the age of the equipment and multiplying it by the repair cost. If the result is more than $5,000, then consider replacing it.
For example, an 11-year-old unit that requires a $275 repair cost equals $3,025. As it is under $5k, it’s OK to repair.
The 5,000 rule
Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it.
Is your unit unsafe?
Older furnaces can develop cracks in their heat exchangers, this allows deadly carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into your home. The older the unit, the higher the risk corrosion has caused a crack to form and release CO. A carbon monoxide detector is the only way to tell if you have a leak. They are easy to install and are not overly expensive. If you think you are at risk, have this checked immediately.
Remember that your units are just like any other electrical device, they have fuses that short out and connection points that weaken over time. You may only risk your air conditioner or heater ceasing to operate, but there is a risk of dangerous ﬁre. Get a regular tune-up and make sure you don’t have an electrical issue developing. If you do, consider replacing your unit.
Consider the rating of the unit
Newer, Energy Star compliant units use up to 50% less energy than models not carrying that logo. Not only are Energy Star appliances more efficient and environment-friendly, but the logo is only awarded if the appliance is either priced similarly to other models or if it will recoup additional costs within a reasonable period.
In addition, the SEER rating of a unit may also indicate why you may be having issues and higher energy bills. A SEER rating is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.
If your rating is too low for the size area or is an older unit, you are not getting optimal performance which causes your unit to work overtime to keep you comfortable. This will cause not only temperature issues, but also increase the likelihood of multiple repairs.
A few other points to consider
- Repair bills do add up. If your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up, then your cooling and heating equipment may have become less efficient. Use the 5000 rule mentioned above to evaluate not just the single repair bill, but the bills as a whole. Repairs + energy costs = your true cost of the unit.
- If some rooms are too hot or too cold it may be due to poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork and more can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer. An inspection by a licensed HVAC company can help determine the balancing, insulation needs, duct issues or unit problems that may be causing this.
- If your heating or cooling system is too noisy you could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment. This does not necessarily mean you need to replace your entire unit, but does warrant an inspection.
So when is it actually time to replace?
Look for the above telltale signs that indicate it’s time to consider replacing heating and cooling equipment, or improving the performance of your overall system. Use the formula above and call Same Day to help you make a change.
And, don’t forget to have a contractor do an annual pre-season check-up on your system in the spring and fall to keep your system at peak performance and prevent future problems.