Should I repair or replace my HVAC? It’s a common question — and you need to weigh several factors to make the decision. One of the most significant factors is the lifespan of your unit. According to EnergyStar — a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program — an A.C. unit lasts about 15 to 20 years. On average, a heat pump perseveres for 16 years and a furnace functions for between 15 to 20 years, reports This Old House.
All AC repairs were not created equal. While a new filter could cost as low as $20, a refrigerant leak repair can cost up to $1,600. Just like any aspect of the house, certain repairs will mostly depend on the damage. Clearly, the more serious issues will cost more. That not only means more time for the HVAC pro, but more complexity and materials as well. Sadly, neither come without a hefty markup.
We are a local, family-owned business that has been serving the Lancaster County area since 1945. For many homeowners, we are their trusted partner for home improvements and repairs, providing certified electrical and plumbing services, home remodeling, and major home appliance sales and service. Our large team of experienced installers, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC repair technicians means you can rely on Brubaker, Inc. to respond quickly for all your home repair needs.
Second, there are the diagnostics involved as well as the return trip to effect the actual repair. What about the hidden costs such as having the part picked up at the supplier, was this considered? As for the parts manager at our shop having wasted time tracking the part down, it often happens that we have to contact several suppliers to find parts especially during the recent cold spell when so many suppliers were out of stock of even the most common service items due to demand being so high.
In the fall you should prepare your HVAC unit for winter. Turn off your air conditioner’s circuit, then hose it off to remove debris. It must dry completely. Do this when it’s warm enough that there’s no risk of the water freezing. Cover the exposed pipes with foam pipe insulation ($1-$3), and protect your entire unit with a weatherproof cover ($20-$50).
Fast forward 1 year and 1 week and the circuit board that HVAC Service had installed has failed again. They came out and said that it failed from water condensation dripping onto it, so we needed to replace it and reroute the pipes to prevent future water damage. That would cost double what I paid last year. Why didn't they fix the problem last year at the initial repair instead of putting in a circuit board that was bound to fail again?!? They were strongly recommending that the furnace be completely replace for a huge fee to avoid the same thing happening again. I paid $59 for them to tell me they didn't fix it right last year. This didn't feel right, so I sought a second opinion. I'm very glad that I found another guy to come replace the circuit board and put it away from the water, fix the water leak, and also find and fix another impending failure. All of that was for much less than HVAC Service wanted to charge for repair or replacement. The other guy did a great repair, so I'm confident it will not break down again, but if it does, I will not call HVAC Service. Don't get suckered by their Yelp Deal.
If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.
In addition to the information below, see these two articles for the general care and maintenance of your air conditioner: Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer and How to Replace Furnace & AC Filters. Most noteworthy, you should replace the filters at least twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons. For information on furnace problems, please see Furnace Not Working.
Just like running a marathon, we perform better at full strength. If we’re not feeling great, it’s that much harder to finish the race. Similarly, when you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, the system is tasked with maintaining that temperature throughout the room. Working at full strength, the system can easily maintain that temperature (as long as it’s not below 60 degrees or above 80 degrees). However, when injured, the system may struggle to keep the room at your desired temperature. As such, it’s working harder, which means higher utility bills.
We’ve found that many homes and businesses in Atlanta face significant indoor air quality issues as a result of the seasonal high humidity in our area, which creates conditions ripe for mold and mildew growth in both old and new HVAC systems. Our HVAC technicians can help you determine which strategies will work best for neutralizing airborne particulates in your home, which often involves a combination of filtration methods and ultraviolet light technology that together can help keep your system perpetually free of contaminants. We can also install whole-house dehumidifiers and humidifiers, which can make a huge difference in the amount of work your HVAC unit will have to do to be effective.
Repairs—If something appears to be not working right with your heating and cooling, a professional will examine the whole health of your system. It’s easy to hop on the internet and research information to find our own conclusions, but there could be an additional component or reason why your system isn’t working properly that isn’t clear or recognizable. Consider our own health concerns—you might check out your symptoms online to try and draw your conclusions, but it’s always best to make an appointment with a doctor to receive an expert opinion.