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HVAC Repair vs. Replacement: Which Option Is Right for Me?
The dream of home ownership is still alive and well in the US.
After all, Americans bought up over 5 million houses in 2022 alone.
There’s a lot of good that comes with home ownership.
But you also get saddled with some frustrations.
Right at the top of that list is home maintenance.
As a quick look at any home maintenance checklist will tell you, it’s not a joke.
It even extends to your HVAC system.
Even with good HVAC maintenance, things will go wrong with your system.
Then you face the problem of HVAC repair vs. replacement.
If you’re wondering if you should repair or replace it, keep reading to learn which option makes the most sense.
One of the numbers you see get thrown around a lot is that HVAC systems should last around 20 years.
That number isn’t wrong, but it can mislead homeowners.
Your average furnace can last from as little as 15 years to as long as 30 years.
Your average AC unit is a different story.
Even newer AC units generally top out at 20 years—and 15 years is a more reasonable expectation.
For older units, you can cut that number down to between 10 years and 15 years.
So, when you’re deciding on whether you should fix it or replace it, consider the age of the component.
If you have a malfunctioning furnace that’s ten years old, it’s probably worth repairing the unit.
You could easily see another ten years of good performance from it.
If you have an AC unit that’s 15 years old, it’s likely time for a replacement.
Even if you repair it, there’s a good chance you’ll get a new one within a few years, anyway.
Something else you must weigh when deciding on HVAC repair or HVAC replacement is the repair frequency.
Let’s say that your HVAC system has worked like a dream for the last 12 years.
Then, one hot July day, your air conditioning unit stops functioning.
Air conditioners are essential in the high heat of summer, so your kneejerk reaction might be to simply get a new unit and be done with it.
Yet, if that unit was problem free for all those years, getting a repair is often a more practical solution.
The repair can quickly get you several more years of problem-free service from the unit.
Now, if you’ve had HVAC techs out to your place five times over the summer, that’s a different story.
It probably means that your AC unit has reached the end of its useful life.
While repairs may keep it limping along for a while, things will probably just keep breaking on it.
Constant repairs are a vital sign that replacement is the better choice.
A lot of homeowners automatically default to getting things repaired instead of replacing them.
The general perception is that repairs are less expensive than replacements.
For some things, that’s even true.
It’s usually cheaper to repair a car than to get another one.
The same often holds for items like household appliances and even furniture.
However, that logic doesn’t always hold up when it comes to HVAC systems.
Depending on the age, brand, and specific part that fails, repairing a furnace or an AC unit can cost nearly as much as replacing it.
In those circumstances, you’re often better off getting a new unit.
If you must spend that much anyway, you might as well get all new parts instead of one new part.
Of course, if your system components are still under warranty, repair is usually the way to go.
Utility Bill Goes Up
Every kind of machine loses efficiency over time as wear and tear build-up.
This happens with power tools, vehicles, and with HVAC systems.
Granted, that loss in efficiency is gradual for a long time.
For example, you might see your bills increase slightly from year to year.
However, it’s usually not enough to raise eyebrows.
As your HVAC units get closer to their end of life, those efficiency losses tend to become much more noticeable.
Instead of a slight increase in your bills, you see a significant increase in your year-over-year heating or cooling costs.
This is, of course, after you adjust for changes in electricity and natural gas costs.
If your HVAC is on the older side and you see those kinds of big utility bill increases, you should prepare to replace one or both units.
Your AC Unit Uses R-22
A few years back, the US government made it illegal to make more of the R-22 refrigerant.
Unfortunately, for many homeowners, the AC units require R-22 to function.
While R-22 is still available as a refrigerant, it will get progressively more expensive.
This will steadily drive up the cost of maintenance on AC units that use R-22.
This doesn’t mean that you should immediately replace your r-22 AC unit.
If the unit still works well, there’s no real upside to a replacement.
If the unit develops a serious problem, though, you should probably give some serious thought to updating your unit.
It will keep long-term maintenance and repair costs down.
Plus, it will help you keep the ozone layer intact.
HVAC Repair vs. Replacement and You
When you’re debating between HVAC repair vs. replacement, you have a lot to consider.
You must consider the age of the components and how often they need repair.
You must also weigh the cost of a repair versus a replacement.
Repair isn’t always cheaper.
You must also look at your utility costs.
You must also decide if an AC unit that uses R-22 is worth keeping.
They’ll only get more expensive over time.
Mark Daniels Air Conditioning & Heating offers HVAC repair and replacement service in Mesa, AZ, and the surrounding area.
For more information, contact Mark Daniels today.
Not sure whether HVAC repair vs. replacement would be best for your situation? Contact us for a professional opinion. Mark Daniels AC can help with AC maintenance, repairs, and replacement. We have been providing AC services in Chandler and surrounding areas since 1996. Call (480) 571-7219 or request service online today!
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