Repair or Replace?
Is it time to upgrade your heating and air conditioning system?
It’s not easy to know whether you should repair or replace your home’s heating and cooling system, especially if your system isn’t working at the moment. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, there are some important considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision.
Age of Your System
Air conditioners and heat pumps last an average of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces have a life span of around 15 to 20 years. If your equipment is within those ranges, expect more repairs in the near future.
If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.
Technology changes all the time. This is as true for your heating and cooling system as it is for your phone. By replacing aging equipment, you’ll be able to take advantage of smart new features and increased efficiencies that can save you money on your utility bills.
If there are periods of time when no one is at home and you do not have a programmable thermostat, you’re probably spending more on your energy bills than you should. Install a programmable thermostat – or have the comfort experts at Southern Air install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while they’re away or sleeping.
Cost of Repairs; Frequent Repairs
As a good rule of thumb, Consumer Reports recommends replacing a product when repairs exceed 50% of the cost of a new one. The experts at Angie’s list recommend the “$5000 rule” to determine if you need to replace your air conditioning unit: To decide if you need to replace your AC unit, multiply the age of the system by the estimated cost of the repair. If the total exceeds $5,000, replace your air conditioner instead of fixing it again. After all, in addition to enjoying a more efficient unit, you can also enjoy the bells and whistles modern AC systems offer.
Southern Air is a great resource for current promotions that could significantly reduce the cost of a new system, and our expert technicians offer a free consultation so you can rest assured the new system installed is right for your home.
Energy Bills Increasing; Some Rooms Too Hot or Too Cold
If your electric and or gas bills are increasingly higher, it could be a sign that your heating and cooling systems are not operating efficiently. Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause. If your system is having to work harder than it should to keep you comfortable and you have areas of your home which are too hot or too cold, you should consider having an evaluation of your system to determine whether repairs can be made, or whether a newer, energy efficient system should be considered.
Research has shown that replacing an air conditioner that is as young as 10 years old with a newer, more efficient version can cut your energy costs by as much as 40%. To put this number into perspective, if you spend $300 a month on power during the summer months, updating your air conditioner could reduce your bill to as little as $180, leaving you with more wiggle room in your budget.
Poor Air Quality
Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.
Home Energy Yardstick Score
If your score on the Home Energy Yardstick is below five, your energy use at home is above average and you’re probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.
Purchasing high-efficiency systems can make you eligible for state and local tax credits. A federal tax credit is available through 2021. For more information on available tax credits, click here and enter your ZIP code to see what is available to you, or contact your Southern Air Home Comfort Specialist.