Should You Repair Or Should You Replace?

Your HVAC system has seen better days, but you're probably still wondering if it's time for a replacement or if you're better off repairing your current system. It's a simple question that has a surprisingly complicated answer, depending on your unique heating and cooling circumstances as well as other crucial factors.

When a Replacement Is Most Likely Needed

The first thing you should do is figure out if your system requires a complete replacement. The following offers some scenarios where buying a brand-new HVAC system would be the smart decision:

  • Your HVAC system is more than 15 years old and/or has proven unreliable over the past year or so
  • The overall cost of repairs greatly exceed the cost of replacing the entire HVAC system
  • You want to invest in a more energy-efficient HVAC system
  • You're faced with replacing critical parts that have fallen out of warranty (such as a compressor or heat exchanger, for example)
  • Your system currently uses a refrigerant slated for eventual phase-out, such as R-22

When a Repair May Suffice

On the other hand, your current HVAC system may only need little maintenance and attention to keep it going. In some cases, it even makes sense to hold on to your current unit in spite of the steeper repair costs. If the following applies to you, you may want to rethink buying a replacement:

  • The cost of a repair is significantly less than the cost of replacement
  • Your current system is less than 10 years old and is in good condition
  • You want to get the most out of your current heating and cooling solution before committing to a replacement

Cost vs. Age

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average lifespan for most central heating and air conditioning equipment is approximately 15 years. That's enough time for advances in HVAC technology to make replacement an attractive option. But if your system is less than 10 years old and it remains economical to run, you might not be as inclined to have it replaced so soon.

Not only does a system become less energy-efficient as it gets older, but it also becomes more expensive to fix. Critical parts often become hard to find and refrigerants become obsolete and subsequently difficult to source. This can easily make repairs more expensive than, in many cases, the HVAC system itself.

A brand-new HVAC system can cost anywhere from $1,000 for a small home with a simple duct system layout to as much as $12,000 for a larger setup, according to CostOwl. If you want a quick and simple way of weighing cost vs. age, simply multiply the cost of your HVAC repair by your system's age and measure that against the quoted price of a new system from your local contractor. If the end figure costs significantly more than the cost of replacement, then you're likely better off with a new HVAC system.

Other Factors

In addition to cost and age, there are plenty of other factors surrounding your eventual choice of a new HVAC system or well-needed repairs for your current system. These factors should always be considered as you shop around:

  • Consider how long you plan on owning your home. The longer you own it, the more likely it is you'll invest in and benefit from a brand-new HVAC system.
  • Take a close look at your utility bills, including your average kilowatt-hour cost and consumption. Older HVAC systems tend to be less energy-efficient than their older counterparts due to the use of older, less efficient technologies.
  • Consider the comfort benefit you'll get from a new system vs. sticking with your old one.

When you keep the above in mind, it becomes much easier to decide whether to repair or replace your HVAC system. Don't forget that you can always have a technician make an assessment of your current unit and determine on your behalf if a replacement or repair best suits your home comfort needs. Try visiting to learn more about air condition installation and repair services.