Repair vs. Replacing Your HVAC System

2 Guys working on AC


To Repair or Replace? That Is the Question.

Many people will argue that it costs less to repair an HVAC system than to spend the money to replace it. The first time a repair is required, that might be the case. It may even be true the next time. But what about the third and fourth repair? What if you are performing repairs on an air conditioner that is 12 years old, or a furnace that is 30 years old? Is it really worth that much stress and money? Where do you draw the line between repairing your HVAC system and replacing it?


The federal government advises replacing air conditioners around 10 years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The biggest reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that newer air conditioners and heat pumps come with extensive long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning equipment may save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy usage. The older the model, the less productive and more costly it will be.

When confronted with the options of repair or replacement, everyone should consider the current and future operating costs against the expense of installing a new system. If your system has received professional maintenance and has not required constant repairs, and your energy costs have not increased, then it may not be time to replace the system. Instead, it could be more cost-effective to make the minor repairs on a well-maintained system, no matter its age. If components in your system have malfunctioned a handful of times in the past two years, it may be time to think about replacement. If it’s straining parts faster than you can replace them, it will continue to do so.


The effectiveness of your air conditioning and heating system is important to the environment, and should be important to you. Even if your equipment is only eight or nine years old, it could use twice the energy of a new, more efficient system. By federal law, the current minimum SEER rating (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for an air conditioner is 13 SEER, rather than 10 SEER back in 2006. The SEER rating is determined by the cooling output during a regular cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input. Though your system may not yet be 10 years old, it might still be poorly managing energy use and greatly increasing costs. In the long run, replacing that old 10 SEER unit with a 21 SEER unit could save more on your energy bill.


If you have a hard time with keeping your home cool enough in summer or warm enough in winter, a poorly insulated home may be the culprit. Adequate insulation reduces the demand on an HVAC system and allows it to run more efficiently. If insulation gaps are addressed, it may be possible to replace your current system with a smaller, less expensive one, or hold onto your current system for a few more years.

Still undecided if you should repair or replace your current unit? Ask yourself the questions below to help you decide.

  • What are the average repair costs for your current heating and cooling system?
  • How old is your current system?
  • Have you seen a severe increase in your energy bills over the last few years?
  • How often is your system turning on (i.e., how hard is it working) to meet your heating and cooling needs?

Do you have a solid sense of what you might need, but would prefer a second opinion? Give Precision Heating & Air a call! Precision offers free quotes for system replacements, and our Comfort Consultants will work to provide you with a quote that works with your budget.

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