Just like other items in your house, your HVAC unit has a life span. While that life span is usually decades, you may begin to notice that your unit is on its last legs when repairs become more frequent. Even though replacing an entire HVAC unit is expensive, sometimes constantly calling the repair technician is even more expensive. If you’re trying to decide what to do with your aging HVAC unit, consider these reasons why replacing is sometimes better than repairing.
Image via Flickr by DaynaT
Even with proper maintenance, most components in an HVAC system usually only last around 10 or 15 years. If you know how old your system is, and it’s nearing the end of its life cycle, it’s typically better to replace the unit instead of continually having it repaired.
Not only can this save you money on repair costs, but it can also save you money on your energy costs. An older unit is less efficient, and it can raise your energy bills as it struggles to keep your house comfortable. A new high-efficiency unit can help you save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs.
You Don’t Plan on Moving
While replacing an HVAC unit is costly, if you plan on staying in your current home for years to come, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the ease and comfort offered by that new system. However, even if you plan on moving in a few years, it’s still a good idea to consider replacing the HVAC unit. A brand-new unit can add value to a home, and you won’t have to worry about a sale falling through because buyers are nervous about spending even more money to replace a unit or about an inspection’s requiring you to fix it.
The Difference in Costs
When you’re trying to figure out what to do with your aging HVAC unit, consider the cost to repair versus the cost to replace. Estimate how much you think it would cost to have your unit repaired once or twice a year and how much it would cost to replace the unit. If you’re unsure, speak with an experienced HVAC technician and get his or her opinion on the best course of action. You could end up saving money by not having to pay for repairs a few times every year.
Your Unit Has a Coolant Leak
The EPA is phasing out the use of refrigerant R-22, also known as Freon, in favor of the more environmentally friendly R-410A. As a result, R-22 prices have soared, and adding the refrigerant could cost anywhere from $40 to over $175 a pound. If your old system develops a coolant leak, then repairing the leak, replacing the compressor — which can cost over $2,000 alone — and adding more refrigerant can end up costing about the same as a new unit.
While it’s never an easy conclusion to decide between repairing and replacing, when you’re faced with the above reasons, there are times when outright replacement of an HVAC unit is better than repairing.