HVAC 101: WHEN TO REPAIR VS. WHEN TO REPLACE
Your HVAC system is one of those things you probably never think about, until you suddenly don’t have it. As a homeowner, we understand there is a lot on your to-do list and HVAC repair or maintenance is often the last thing on your mind.
Just as regular oil changes extend the life of your car, regular HVAC repair and maintenance extends the life of your system. Understanding how your system works and what it needs to run properly means you are helping protect your home, family, and wallet.
The seasonal maintenance for your system is simple, but crucial, to ensure your system is working properly. We are here to help break down the basics of both repairing and replacing your HVAC system to keep your family safe and comfortable all year long.
HVAC: AN OVERVIEW
Your home’s HVAC system is one of its greatest assets. It keeps you comfortable through the scorching summers and frigid winters. Any time your unit isn’t working, it creates a major inconvenience, but it can also be expensive. The typical HVAC system accounts for almost half of the home’s utility bills. Making sure it is running as efficiently as possible is important.
At its most basic, an HVAC system is responsible for moderating the temperature and air quality in your home. During the summer, it sucks hot air out, runs it through a coolant, and recirculates cool air throughout the home. During the winter, it takes the cold air, heats it up and pumps it throughout the home to keep everyone warm. The filters in your HVAC system clean the air in your home to keep dirt and dust from taking over.
When you notice you’re a little too hot, too cold, or your house is covered in dust or dirt, your HVAC system may need some attention.
HVAC MAINTENANCE BENEFITS
Regular maintenance of both your AC and furnace is an insurance policy for the life of your system. Seasonal maintenance of your Louisville AC and furnace extend the life of the system overall. You will receive several more years of reliability from a system that has been well-cared for.
Maintenance reduces the chances of entire system failure and saves money on costly HVAC repair expenses. Not only will a maintained system last longer over time, but it will save you money day-to-day in utility bills because it runs more efficiently.
Keeping up on HVAC repair needs can also impact your health. For those with allergies or asthma, indoor air pollution can actually be two to five times higher than those outdoors. Keeping up on changing the air filter and regular maintenance can curb these allergens to keep your family healthy.
REPAIR VS. REPLACE
When it’s the dead of winter and suddenly you wake up to a house that feels like an icebox, or the humidity of the summer is settling in your living room, it doesn’t take long for panic to set in.
What happened? Does your system need a simple HVAC repair or are you in the market for a full replacement? How much is this going to cost?
We can help you navigate the path to common HVAC repairs or how to know if a replacement is necessary.
HVAC repair can be very effective in saving money in Louisville, KY.
Safety First: If you have any safety concerns about your current heating unit, don’t attempt to repair or diagnose it on your own. A smell of gas is a huge indicator of something wrong. Go with your gut on this one. Don’t risk carbon monoxide poisoning or other dangers in order to save money on your furnace.
Walk Around the House: Start by walking around your home and see if some areas are warmer while others are frigid. If the temperatures fluctuate throughout the house, it might be an indicator that the current furnace isn’t being efficient, and you may be in the market for an upgrade. Be sure to check the ducts to make sure they’re open and not clogged. If your system seems to be working hard and the house is still cold, it’s time for a replacement.
Check The Thermostat: If your thermostat isn’t holding the right temperature, or if the temperature in the home doesn’t match what the thermostat says, it is likely an easy fix. Try replacing the batteries in the thermostat, and make sure it’s programmed correctly.
Do You Have a Contractor on Speed Dial? If you are having to call for frequent HVAC repair, then that is a good sign your furnace is nearing the end of its life. A good rule of thumb is, no matter the age of the furnace, if the cost to repair is 50% of the cost of a new furnace, you should replace it.
Check Your Utility Bills: Even if the unit itself is working OK, if your energy bill keeps increasing but your rate stays the same, it’s time to give your unit some attention. Start with a new filter and a fresh maintenance tune-up, but if your system is older, it is time to consider a replacement. Newer units are simply more efficient and can save you money in the long run.
Dust Overload: If you notice your home is getting dirty quickly, it might be your HVAC’s fault. Start with a fresh filter, and then give the area around your unit (both inside and outside) a good sweep to remove dust, dirt, and debris. If the problem persists, you might want to look into having your ducts cleaned out.
Call a Professional: If you’ve done all you can do by replacing the filter, checking the vents, and checking the thermostat, it’s probably time to call a professional. It’s not a good idea to open up your unit or start messing with components, as the internal mechanisms of your HVAC and any type of HVAC repair should only be handled by a certified contractor.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I REPLACE MY HEATING UNIT?
Typically, a furnace will last fifteen to twenty years. But there isn’t a hard and fast rule on when HVAC repair service turns into replacement services instead. With some love and attention, your furnace can last twenty years or more. However, you may have a unit that is only 10 years old, but needs to be replaced. Generally, the difference is the quality of product and maintenance history.
However, once it hits that fifteen-year mark, a newer model can be more efficient and more cost effective, even if the old one is still in working condition. A new furnace will run you about $2,000 to $5,000. This cost will differ based on brand, size of your house, and what climate you live in.
There are plenty of DIY projects you can do to save a little cash and upgrade your home. An HVAC install isn’t one of them. Installing a new system requires several hazardous components. There are electrical components, combustion equipment, refrigerant coolants, natural gas lines, and sharp metals. This needs to be professionally installed by a certified HVAC contractor.
A substandard HVAC install can lead to gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, and house fires, not to mention a waste of both time and money. Also, keep in mind, that if you attempt to install your furnace yourself, you’ll likely void the warranty and have a hard time getting any service help in the future. Most companies don’t want the liability of repairing a furnace that was not installed by a certified professional.
COST VS. RETURN ON INVESTMENT
HVAC repair can help Louisville, KY homeowners save money.
Shopping for a new HVAC is like shopping for a new car. There are budget brands, luxury brands, and everything in between. Investing in a better system now saves you money in the long run. The difference is, you’re talking about the environment you live in every day, not just the car you drive.
The most important feature of a new HVAC system is the efficiency rating. For an air conditioner, it is the SEER rating, and furnaces use AFUE number. Both numbers tell you how efficient the unit is (i.e. how much energy it uses and how much it will cost to run). The higher the number the more efficient it is.
Also, keep in mind that there are often tax returns and manufacturer rebates in most areas for a variety of units. You just have to be willing to look and put in the effort to save a little cash.
HVAC COMPANIES IN LOUISVILLE, KY
There are plenty of options for local HVAC repair companies in Louisville, but Breckinridge Heating & Cooling is the number one HVAC provider for a reason. We provide unmatched customer service, honest and reliable pricing, and expertise you can count on. Call us today for more information or to schedule an HVAC repair service!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founded in 1961, Breckinridge Heating & Cooling is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured HVAC contractor. We strive to provide the highest quality work, best customer service and most affordable prices available. We service all HVAC brands of air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers. And provide free estimates on new installations and replacements. With us you pay no extra charge on weekends! Outside of our normal business hours, we are happy to provide 24-hour emergency services in Louisville, KY and surrounding areas. Call today and see why we are the area’s best!
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Breckinridge Heating & Cooling is a licensed Master HVAC and fully insured contractor. We serve Louisville, KY and surrounding areas including Prospect, Crestwood, North West Crestwood, Shepherdsville, and the Eastend of Louisville. We provide residential and light commercial HVAC services including air conditioner repair and furnace repair as well as installation and maintenance.