5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Home's HVAC System
How often do you think about your HVAC system? For most homeowners, it’s merely a blip on the radar until it gives out, leaving you sweating buckets in the summer, shivering in the winter and scrambling to find the money for a pricey repair.
An HVAC system is one of the most sizeable investments you make in your home. While you obviously want to keep it running as long as possible, it’s important to understand when it’s time for an upgrade. The heating, and air conditioning professionals at Wild West Mechanical HVAC are here to share some indications for when it’s time to replace your home’s HVAC system.
1. Your utility bills continue to rise
While it’s ordinary to spend more on utilities when you’re trying to cool your home in the summer, your bill shouldn’t be significantly higher than it was in the same month last year.
Rising utility bills can be a sign that you need to replace your HVAC system. The efficiency of the system reduces over time from normal wear and tear. It’s the buildup of dirt and corrosion on the inside that creates the greatest loss of efficiency.
You can forsee the efficiency of your system to drop 5-10% as it ages. However, if you notice a spike in your energy bills, it’s worth asking a technician to take a look at your HVAC system to see if something’s wrong. If it requires extensive repairs, you might be better off investing in a complete replacement to maximize the efficiency of your home.
2. You have irregular temperatures throughout your home
Your kitchen is freezing, but you start sweating as soon as you enter the living room. Why can’t your HVAC system provide a steady temperature throughout your entire home?
A system that’s too large for the home can do short cycling. The temperature gets satisfied in the house too quickly, and it causes the system to turn off. The humidity will remain, though, and it will feel stickier and warmer in parts of your home. A new air conditioning system with today’s technology would help you avoid those swings of hot and cold, it’s also worth inspecting your ductwork if you experience uneven temperatures.
The ductwork is what carries warm and cool air to each individual area in the home. It’s critical that whoever comes out to replace your HVAC system look at the ductwork to make sure it can administer the amount of air that the system needs to move.
3. Your HVAC system runs continually
In the dog days of summer, your air conditioning system might kick into overdrive to keep your home comfortable. But an air conditioner that won’t shut off on a regular day might need some attention.
It’s good indicator that the air conditioner doesn’t have the capacity it used to have. It could be impacted with all this dirt that needs to be removed and have everything cleaned and rebuilt. Or it could be that the compressor (the heart of an air conditioning system) isn’t operating as well as it should.
Even if you’re satisfied with the temperature in your home, you’ll probably be less than thrilled with the added costs of an HVAC system that’s continually on. Replacing it could help make your home more efficient.
4. Your HVAC system is getting old
Ask how long your HVAC system is supposed to last, and your technician might not have an exact answer.
It really depends on how well it was installed and how well it’s taken care of. It’s reported that the average air conditioning system needs to be replaced every 15 years, but that also takes into account systems that break down in six years, and ones that last 20 years.
It’s not usually worth spending the money to repair a system that’s at the end of its life, especially if it uses R22 refrigerant, as that’s being completely phased out by 2020.
That’s like trying to repair a tape deck instead of getting an iPod. You have to think about whether you’re fixing something that’s going to be obsolete, even in its repaired state.
5. You spend a lot on repairs
Keeping your HVAC system running properly will require occasional maintenance over time.
Things like the capacitor, which is like the battery, or the contactors, which are like electrical switches, are basic repairs. But when you get into leaks in the coils or the compressor starts giving you issues, those are large repairs and you wouldn’t necessarily want to do it.
If you receive repair estimates that exceed what you expected to spend, you might want to consider putting that money toward a replacement, he added. A new HVAC system will not only help you make the most of your home improvement budget, but it will keep your house comfortable — despite what the weather report says.