Maintain Or Upgrade — What Should You Do With Your Aging HVAC System?

About Me
Cleaning My Indoor Air

Up until a few years ago, I would get sick whenever the seasons would change. I couldn't figure it out, until one day when an HVAC contractor pointed out my filthy air filters. I am embarrassed to say it, but I didn't know that air filters had to be changed at all, and all of that filthy air was circulating through my home. After I changed the air filters and started to take care of my HVAC system, my allergies got a lot better and I didn't feel as sick. I want other people to understand the massive benefits of taking care of their HVAC systems, so I put up this website.


Maintain Or Upgrade — What Should You Do With Your Aging HVAC System?

8 May 2023
 Categories: , Blog

All home HVAC systems will eventually fail. While furnaces and air conditioners are relatively long-lived appliances, the cost to maintain and repair an old system often isn't worth it compared to a more modern replacement. However, knowing when your system crosses that critical line isn't always easy, especially if you're trying to avoid unnecessary expenses.

If your home has an older HVAC system, you will face one unavoidable choice as the years pile on: continue maintaining your old equipment or upgrade to a newer, more efficient system. These three questions will help you decide the best option for your home and budget to avoid unnecessary expenses and repairs.

1. What's Your System's History?

Have you ever owned a high-mileage car that reliably got you to work and back daily? If so, you probably know the importance of routine maintenance. Keeping up with regular maintenance can allow a car to last for many miles. Like a reliable daily driver, your HVAC system's long-term fate depends on its maintenance history. A well-maintained system will inevitably last longer than a neglected one.

If you know your system's maintenance history, you may be able to judge whether putting more money into it makes sense. Furnaces and air conditioners both tend to last for around fifteen years. If you have a well-maintained system around this age, you might want to try to squeeze a few more years of life out of it. On the other hand, replacing a neglected can help you head off some potentially costly repairs.

2. Are Your Energy Costs Excessive?

HVAC systems can be a big contributor to your home's energy costs. While newer systems include many fancy features, the biggest innovations come from improved efficiency. Modern furnaces and air conditioners are more efficient than their older counterparts, and high-end systems can be significantly more efficient than older, standard-efficiency equipment.

Most HVAC equipment also tends to become modestly less efficient as it ages, adding another wrinkle to the utility cost issue. If you have an older system, you may need to look closely at the cost of replacing it versus your current utility costs. Deciding to replace an old system may save you money by helping to keep your utility bills in check.

3. Do You Need to Make a Big Repair?

Arguably the best indication that it's time to let your old system go is the need to make a big repair. Generally, the two biggest repairs you'll face are heat exchangers for furnaces and compressors for air conditioners. These components are so expensive that replacing them outside of a warranty rarely makes financial sense.

Of course, you'll still need to consider your situation. If your system requires one of these repairs, consider the system's age, the cost of the repair, and the cost of replacing your entire HVAC system. Spending a substantial fraction of your replacement cost on a repair rarely makes sense, so letting your old system go may be the most cost-effective option. 

Contact an HVAC service for more info.