When should you repair or replace an HVAC unit?
Your HVAC system is an integral part of every household. When it’s on the fritz, it can change not only the temperature of the home but also the mood of every person living there. This is especially true during bouts of severe heat or cold when a system in need of repair or replacement can make even the most mild-mannered family and friends a bit cranky.
When something goes wrong with your heating or cooling unit, there’s always some degree of a “repair vs replace HVAC” discussion. The trick is learning which warning signs point toward repairs and which indicate the possible need for a full replacement of the equipment. Today, we’re going to take a bit of a deep dive into that very subject and look at different reasons why you may need to repair vs replace your HVAC system.
Little Long in the Tooth
Your HVAC system is built to last for a very long time, but like all things, it will eventually succumb to age and deterioration. A reputable brand will usually stay reliable for at least 15 years and will often exceed 20 years and beyond. If the equipment is approaching the two-decade mark or has already passed it, then it may be time to get the system replaced with a brand new model.
Potential Safety Hazards
If your HVAC system presents a potential safety hazard, this is something you’ll want to act on right away. A cracked heat exchanger, for instance, will cause poisonous carbon monoxide to be emitted into the air, which can lead to severe illness and even death. In this emergency situation, a full replacement of the system would likely be necessary. Other safety issues such as faulty wiring or a stuck valve could require either repair or replacement depending on the severity.
R-22 Freon Refrigerant
Many homeowners don’t realize that the government is phasing out R-22 Freon for the more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, which has made Freon much more expensive. If your cooling system is experiencing a Freon leak or has other coolant problems, then it may be a good idea to replace the AC unit. This will ensure that you’re using up-to-date technology while doing your part to conserve energy and help the environment.
Expensive Repair Costs
Although hiring an HVAC technician for an annual tune-up of your system will help prolong its operational lifespan and keep it running smoothly for as many as two decades, repair costs will eventually become part of the process. This presents a financial burden when repair costs add up to a full replacement cost in just a few years. If you notice that the cost to repair is getting out of hand, then it’s most likely time to replace the unit.
Since no heating or cooling equipment can last forever, it’s perfectly okay that HVAC repair becomes inevitable. Even if the repair costs aren’t too high, however, frequent breakdowns can be very inconvenient and are likely to harm the energy-efficiency of the system. You can keep up with repairs if you’d like, but replacing the equipment will eventually become the better option.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Maintaining good indoor air quality is an important responsibility for every homeowner. HVAC systems use an air filter that help with this process by capturing pollutants such as dust and bacteria. If the system isn’t running properly, however, then the filter may become ineffective. If you’ve been noticing that the indoor air quality isn’t what it used to be and switching out the filter doesn’t really do anything, then it could be the result of a equipment malfunction. If in doubt, an HVAC technician can help resolve the repair vs replace HVAC options.
Emitting Strange Noises
Most of us get a little spooked when it comes to hearing bumps in the night, but what if they’re occurring in the middle of the day, too?
The truth is that a well-functioning HVAC system will run fairly quietly, so if you’re hearing strange noises such as squealing or grinding while the system is in operation, you should definitely call an HVAC technician right away. If you ignore the problem, whatever’s causing the unusual sounds could lead to much more damage.
Emitting Strange Smells
Since your HVAC equipment’s primary function is to distribute air throughout your home, strange smells emanating from the unit are often immediately noticeable in every room. Keep in mind if the equipment hasn’t been used for a while, its initial operation may cause a burning dust smell.
After a day or two, however, continuing odors may indicate mold in your ductwork, melting wires, or more serious conditions. A professional inspection will determine if something needs to be repaired or if the system is kaput and must be replaced.
Higher Energy Bills
Most homeowners are acutely aware of their monthly energy bills, especially as we enter a new season and notice costs severely fluctuating. If your energy bills have gone up from the previous year or even the previous month from what they normally should be and there’s no reasonable explanation, then the unit may be malfunctioning.
This may also indicate a problem with your ductwork, so the best plan of action is to call a professional to check everything out.
More Dust or Humidity
In addition to heating and cooling your home, an HVAC system will also provide ventilation. When there are problems with ventilation, you could notice an accumulation of dust, debris, and dander on services around your home. Or perhaps you’ve been noticing a higher level of humidity than in the past. Both of these issues could indicate poor energy efficiency and necessitate a replacement of the equipment.
New Home Addition
It’s always exciting to add a new room onto your home, but many homeowners neglect to consider the added work that your air conditioning unit, heat pump, and other pieces of equipment will need to perform. If your system wasn’t properly sized before or was just enough for your existing home, then adding on another room may push the equipment past its breaking point.
This is usually noticeable because the system will be running on a continuous basis yet the home is never as comfortable as it should be. These situations require the installation of new equipment.
Wish to Upgrade Unit
Even if your current HVAC system is running just fine, you may wish to upgrade the unit in anticipation of future issues or simply because you want a more energy-efficient model in your home.
After all, many older units use a lot more power than modern systems, which means that you’re contributing to a larger carbon footprint and not taking advantage of potential energy savings. If this is the case, you can compare modern HVAC systems by looking at the Energy Star label that’s attached to each energy-efficiency unit.
Contact ACHV Services for Repair or Replacement of Your HVAC System
There are always a variety of factors in the repair vs replace HVAC conversation. If you’re experiencing any issues with your HVAC system, contact the professionals at ACHV Services today by calling (727) 453-2432. Our team is the industry leader in air conditioning repair in Pinellas along with all other HVAC services for residential and commercial properties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for air conditioning maintenance and repair.