How does a home or business owner know when it’s time to call in professional heating contractors to replace or repair a furnace or AC unit? A basic rule of thumb is to replace a furnace or AC unit at the end of its expected lifespan: about 10-15 years for an AC unit, and 15-20 years for a heater. These ages are relative though, and age isn’t the only factor in the important decision to replace an HVAC system. Qualified heating contractors can help determine the overall condition of the unit, but there are several ways for homeowners to get an idea of whether replacement or repair is the best course of action.
If the equipment is making a lot of noise while running, it may indicate wear in the moving parts. In an older unit, noise is a sign of parts wearing out, and that rubbing and rattling is starting to occur. It may be possible to replace the worn parts, but usually by the time the noise is noticeable, the cost of replacement parts outweighs the price of a new HVAC system. Professional heating contractors will be able to examine the equipment and determine whether replacement or repair is the more advisable option.
Diminishing Indoor Air Quality
An aging HVAC system can begin to leak, spewing dust particles into the air and reducing indoor air quality. Over time, the heat exchanger in a furnace develops holes and cracks. These cracks may release carbon monoxide into the air. It’s important that carbon monoxide detectors be used whenever the system is in use, and that home and business owners are aware of any smell of exhaust. Another telltale sign is soot buildup around vents and around the furnace itself. A cracked heat exchanger should be replaced immediately by qualified heating contractors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Whether it’s repair bills or energy costs, extra expenses relating to the HVAC system may be a sign the equipment needs to be replaced. Older systems become less efficient over time, driving fuel or energy costs higher. Newer units are more energy efficient, using less fuel or energy to operate, which saves money in the long run.
If the home has been recently remodeled, the existing HVAC system may not be able to keep up with the new space. When adding on to a home, or changing the layout of existing rooms, more square footage is often added. Since most builders size HVAC units to the home when it’s built, the current unit may no longer be able to handle the larger space.
Home for Sale
Homeowners who plan to sell in the near future may want to consider replacing the HVAC system. Having an updated HVAC system in place makes a home more attractive to prospective buyers. New furnace and AC units are relatively modest investments that pay big dividends when it comes time to close a sale.