HVAC Repair vs. HVAC Replacement: How to Choose

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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HVAC repairYour heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is an essential part of maintaining the comfort inside your home. The main purpose of a fully functioning HVAC system is to maintain and preserve a comfortable, consistent indoor climate for your family, completely independent of outside weather factors. There is nothing as wonderful as stepping into a cool home on a hot, sticky summer day, or a cozy living room on a chilly winter evening.

HVAC systems are the most common, efficient and affordable way of regulating the environment inside your home. HVAC system installation can drastically impact the effectiveness of your system. So it’s imperative to ensure that you choose expertly trained technicians who provide superior installation services backed by comprehensive maintenance agreements.

Still, even modern HVAC systems aren’t completely infallible. With that in mind, what happens when something goes wrong with your system? How do you determine the severity of the problem? Is it appropriate to settle for repairs, or is a replacement necessary? Before addressing these questions, let’s briefly examine some common types of HVAC systems:

Types of HVAC Systems

Central System

A central heating and air conditioning system is the most common type found in North America. These systems often involve components that are both inside and outside the home. Some major parts of a traditional split system are: the furnace, duct work, evaporator coil, control panel, and condenser.

Ductless Split System

HVAC repairIts name partially gives away its composition, as ductless split systems don’t rely on ductwork to distribute the heated or cooled air throughout the home. Because it is not restricted by ducting, it can often reach areas of the home which may be out-of-reach for the traditional split system. For example, a ductless split system could provide additional heat to non-essential rooms such as garages, and any rooms added in an extension without having to completely replace the entire HVAC system.

Geothermal System

Geothermal systems are facilitated by a ground-sourced heat pump that passes water through an underground looped piping system. The heating employed by this type of system is often found to be more dependable than alternative systems. Geothermal systems use no fossil fuels and significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing the heat present in the earth as fuel.

Signs that You Should Opt for HVAC Replacement

How Old is the System?

The age of your system should be highly considered when deciding whether you should have it repaired or completely replaced. As a general rule, the newer the system, the less likely it is that a replacement is needed. If your system is ten years old or older, replacement may be a more sensible option than general repair as it approaches its general life expectancy.

Energy Bills

Monitoring your energy bills, particularly when you start to notice issues in electrical appliances throughout the home, is a great way to keep abreast of the general efficiency of your system. If your bills unexpectedly begin to rise without a clear cause, this is a good sign that an appliance is not working to its full capacity and is draining energy as a result. Your HVAC system is a likely culprit for your increased energy bills. If this happens, your first option is to contact an HVAC professional for a consultation to find out the extent of the problem. The professional will be able to tell you whether repairs will address the problem, or if HVAC system replacement is a better investment in the long run. For more information about monitoring your system performance with energy bills, check out our 5 Ways to Cut Your AC Bill this Summer and Tips for Home Efficiency During the Winter.

Frequency of Repairs

If your HVAC system needs to be repaired frequently (once a year or more), it may be time to replace the system entirely. Frequent repairs often mean that there is a larger issue that can really only be resolved by investing in a new system. Sometimes repair jobs act as a band-aid, patching the symptoms temporarily while never truly addressing the root of the problem. If the components are old and worn out, frequent repairs do little but keep it ticking over until the next repair is needed. It’s tempting to try and save money by opting for repairs instead of replacement, but if you factor in the inconvenience and cost of frequent repairs, a new system can be a better decision in terms of peace of mind, time expended, and overall investment.

Consider the Tradeoffs for HVAC Repair

HVAC repairThe age of the system, the impact it has on your monthly energy bills, and the frequency of repairs, are three factors that determine whether you choose replacement or repair. If the system is old, if it is constantly running at full steam to little impact and costing hundreds every month to maintain, or if it needs repairs every few months, it’s to your benefit to consider having a new system installed. A new system will provide exceptional comfort to your home environment and you’ll notice immediately how efficiently it runs. You will likely not have to have any major repairs for a number of years, and you’ll notice a marked change in your monthly energy bill.

However, there are some common reasons for simply having your system repaired instead of replaced. If one of the following issues describes what’s going on with your own HVAC system, repairs are probably a better option than system replacement:

Worn Contactor

Most HVAC systems use three contactors. These are responsible for creating an electrical connection in the system, which engages the motors so that the heating or cooling can take effect. If these are worn, the system will not start up properly. Worn contactors are a common problem that can easily be repaired.

Damaged Compressor

The compressor is an essential component of your HVAC system. If too much burden is placed on the system, or if refrigerant isn’t used in the correct amounts, your compressor will become over-burdened and damaged over time. A damaged compressor can be repaired and your system will function effectively again.

Dirty Filter

Correct ventilation is essential for the effective running of your system, so if the filter becomes clogged with dust, the motor will overheat and the system will be impaired. Cleaning the filter is an easy repair job, so if this describes the condition of your HVAC system, repair is preferable to replacement.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog for other helpful hints and tips about staying comfortable in your home. If you’re considering repair or replacement for your HVAC system, contact Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free on-site consultation and service estimate.

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