The break between seasons is a perfect time for homeowners to make big decisions. Among the biggest is whether repairing or replacing your home’s heating, cooling and ventilation system makes the most sense.
Let’s face it, getting help when your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump malfunctions can be stressful. Your HVAC is one of your home’s most important and expensive systems. When it comes to making a final decision, you need to weigh the pros and cons of repair versus replacement of your heat pump, A/C or furnace, whichever system you have.
Understanding the complexity of repair and replacement can be confusing. To make things a little easier, let’s break down what’s involved.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units – HVAC systems – may combine an outdoor unit, the air conditioner, with an indoor air handler, the furnace. Alternatively, your home may use a heat pump, which is a single HVAC system that heats and cools your home.
An inefficient heating and air unit works harder than it should to keep your home at the right temperature. This will undoubtedly cause expensive utility bills, even if you never touch your thermostat.
Repair is likely your smartest choice if your heating and air conditioning system is relatively new, is still under warranty, or hasn’t had major service issues in the past. Replacing dirty air filters or repositioning of fins usually doesn’t cost a lot, and trusted companies like Starnes, Inc. Heating and Cooling offer maintenance plans that ensure your system stays in top condition for its full life. However, if your HVAC system keeps breaking down or the motor needs replaced, even if it’s under 10 years old, replacement may save you more in the long run.
When to Consider Replacing Your Heat Pump
Choosing a repair often feels like the least expensive option, but sometimes it pays off to go ahead and replace equipment. Don’t we all wish we could see into the future and know exactly the best course of action? HVAC companies do not have this ability either. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced company like Starnes, Inc. — because the next best thing to being able to predict the future is having experience.
First, understand that HVAC units, no matter the brand, have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. The age of the unit plays a big factor in the decision to repair or replace.
One very simple industry-wide technique is to use the $5,000 rule. Take the repair cost and multiply it by the age of your system. If the number is under $5,000, then you can repair the system. But if the number is over $5,000, you’ll need to seriously think about replacing your unit.
Example: A $350.00 repair at age 10 would equal $3,500, so we would recommend making the repair. But if the $350 repair was needed at age 15, for a total of $5,250, we would recommend going ahead and replacing it.
“We have seen it over and over. People try to spend money on repairs and hope the unit will last longer, but the truth is that even if you replace one part, you still have many more that are worn out,” explains Lesley Hale, Starnes, Inc. “Sometimes, in a misguided effort to save money, people spend $500 to $2,000 dollars over a short period of time, but after a little while, come to terms that the system just needs to be replaced. We encourage the use of the $5,000 rule and heeding the advice of our experienced technicians, because all repairs are not created equal. The age of the unit should really play a large part in the decision.”
And if it is time to replace your system, Starnes, Inc. offers financing options. Interest-free or same-as-cash financing can offset repair costs over time. Understanding your financing options will likely make it easier if you should need to repair or replace your unit.
Additional Things to Consider with Heating and Air
Contact an HVAC company like Starnes who can help determine why your system needs repair. If it’s simply a matter of wear and tear, sign up for annual maintenance to keep your heat pump working at full capacity. Regularly maintained heat pumps are 25% more efficient than ones that are never maintained. That means lower energy bills.
If you do need to replace your system, it’s best to do so in the spring or fall, as opposed to winter or summer. This way, you can remain comfortable and not have to face extreme temperatures.
You’ll also want to choose a new heating and air conditioning system that’s the right size for your home. Starnes’ technicians will help determine proper system requirements for your space to ensure your future is comfortable.
If you’re still on the fence about repairing or replacing the system in your home, enlist the help of a reputable and licensed HVAC company. Call Starnes, Inc. Heating and Cooling at 1-276-325-7787, contact us online. We’ll walk you through your options, and together, we can confidently determine the best course of action.