The typical HVAC system has a service life of 8 to 20 years. The magic number, however, is 12. If your HVAC system has been in use for at least 12 years and has started breaking down, it’s a good time for a replacement, letting you avoid costs associated with excessive repairs and energy inefficiency without failing to make the most of your HVAC system’s service life.
A Numbers Game
To determine if you’ll be better off with repairs or a replacement, keep in mind the “5,000 rule”. Multiply the age of your HVAC system by the costs of repair, and if you get less than $5,000, you can go ahead and carry out repairs. If you end up with an amount exceeding $5,000, however, your more practical choice is to do a replacement.
If you’re opting for repairs, take into consideration as well how many times you’ll be doing so. An older unit may require frequent repairs, which could end up setting you back significantly given you have to spend a couple of hundred dollars each time. Buy an energy-efficient air conditioner instead and you’ll spend between $3,600 and $7,200 but are also looking at 20% savings on heating and cooling down the line, according to ENERGY STAR®.
On the other hand, it’s also crucial to keep in mind that if it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it. If your system doesn’t have leaks and your energy bill is not high for unknown reasons, you should invest in quality repairs, rather a replacement. A thorough inspection from an HVAC expert will clue you in on your system’s current condition.
Got a freon-based air conditioner? A primary ingredient in the refrigerant freon will no longer be imported by or produced in the United States starting Jan. 1, 2020. While this doesn’t mean you have to replace your unit, it may make services more difficult to come by and, consequently, more expensive. Depending on your needs, this may offer a point in favor of replacing an air conditioning unit.