The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) machine is a silent worker – not in the sense that it makes no sound, but more on account of the fact that they are only appreciated when they finally break down, or something is wrong with the system’s functioning. However, if this occurs far too often, it might be time to change your old HVAC system and buy a new one!
Now, spending money on a completely new system is not a light expense for most of us, so we should at least try to get as many years as possible from the old system before switching. Therein lies the difficult question, should you just get a new one now, or wait a while longer?
The Answer is Variable
There is no one universal answer here of course, because there are so many variables to consider, such as how old the machine is; how bad the present damage seems to be; where you are located; the weather conditions at that time; how long it will take to repair the HVAC machine; your financial condition; how much you have invested in it already – and the list goes on.
Sorting Out the Variables and Finding the Signs
Just because there are a lot of things to consider, doesn’t mean you can’t make the right decision with the help of a little bit of online education (which you are receiving now!) and some experienced, professional advice. Stay with us as we sort out the usual signs and try to help you understand when it’s time to bring in a shiny new HVAC system with enhanced energy star rating and better functionalities.
Get a Professional Opinion: The One Stop Solution
Essentially, the right call to the right people can end all your confusion and make it infinitely easier to make an informed decision. If you happen to live in Southern California, this is one of the locations you can find the heating and plumbing experts that can offer exactly that, and have been doing so for nearly two decades now.
We Care Plumbing, Heating, Air and Solar have been in the business of installing/replacing/repairing pipes, solar roofs and HVAC systems since the year 2000, and have therefore gained a very precise and first-hand idea regarding how the Californian weather affects plumbing, heating and cooling in homes here. They will not just take care of your immediate heating and cooling issues with the system, but will be able to tell you exactly when it’s time to buy a new one, or dissuade you from getting a new HVAC system if their technicians think there are still a few years left in that old furnace of yours!
In all honesty, there is simply no better way to tell if your HVAC system is on the verge of death than to consult experienced and licensed technicians who have seen the same machine at the same condition probably a hundred times before!
The Decade Rule: How Old is Your HVAC Unit?
Yes, there is certainly a decade rule, although it isn’t set in stone by any means. HVAC systems can and often do go out of commission before the ten years of service are over, while at other times, a well maintained and regularly serviced unit can potentially serve your home for more than a dozen years comfortably.
However, if it’s breaking down frequently, as well as being roughly ten years old, give or take a year, it’s a certain sign that you need to buy a new one and get it replaced. It wouldn’t be breaking down often if it was not past its prime at that point.
How Much are You Paying in Heating and Cooling Costs?
If the concerned HVAC unit is 5 – 8 years old at this point, if not older, it will certainly consume more electricity than the later models, and even its younger self!
In other words, if you shift to a new HVAC machine from nearly any manufacturer that has been produced in the last three years or later, you will see a significant improvement in the power-efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling needs. However, that alone may not be cause enough to consider outright replacing it, until you fact-check the following and find it to be consistent with your situation.
Is the Old Machine Consuming Significantly More Power than Before?
When an old HVAC machine loses its energy input-output efficiency to a great extent, it will also consume a lot more electricity to serve the same heating/cooling needs as before. This not only strains your wallet and makes your home leave a large carbon footprint behind, but this inefficiency also makes the machine work harder than it should have to, making it an inevitability that it will break down a lot more often than before.
Check your energy bills from previous summer and winter months to see if you can find a sharp increase. The rates change every year, but if there has been a discrepancy in the last 2 to 3 years, you should be able to find it easily enough. While all machines lose efficiency with time, a sharp increase in energy consumption means that it’s time to change your HVAC system and save money.
On the flipside, if you do not notice any large increase in your energy bills, even after a Y-O-Y comparison, or at least any that you cannot explain away without blaming the old HVAC machine, it might be time to think about installing a photovoltaic system. In sunny states like California, Nevada, Arizona or North Carolina, they can essentially help you earn money from the energy you produce. This is largely possible due to the wide availability of solar storage technology in the residential solar energy sector these days.
Consider the Cost of Repairs + Increase in Energy Consumption + Initial Cost of the Unit
If 7-8 years have passed, and the HVAC machine has begun to break down frequently, this is a complex calculation right here, but it can certainly give you an idea about whether it’s really economic to continue making repairs, or if it’s time to finally buy a new HVAC unit and get some peace of mind.
Provided that you have spent a decent bit of money on repairs lately, and it has been 7-8 years, chances are that you have put in enough money into making the old machine survive already. Considering the cost of the initial unit, as well as the energy consumption spike discussed in our previous point, you are probably wasting money in a depreciating asset by getting it repaired again and again.
Just as mentioned previously, nothing beats a professional opinion from a sincere professional with sufficient experience, but by now, we have discussed enough of the issue to give even the most inexperienced homeowner at least a decent idea regarding how to make that decision. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of extra knowledge on your side, rather than completely relying on the advice of others, especially when it concerns the wellbeing of one’s own home, family and money.