Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace or HVAC System?

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Maintaining high-functioning heating and cooling equipment in your Windsor, ON home is key for ensuring the year-round safety of all building residents. Your HVAC system regulates your indoor temperature and humidity, filters your air, and promotes good ventilation. Unfortunately, as it ages, your indoor air quality (IAQ) declines and your home energy bills rise. Moreover, aging furnaces and air conditioners frequently need repairs. With the costs of keeping everything up to speed constantly increasing, you’ll eventually have to choose between fixing and replacing your equipment.

The Average Lifespan of Furnaces

Average furnace lifespans are on the rise. In years past, most furnaces lasted between just 15 and 20 years. However, some of the latest models can last up to 25 years if correctly sized, professionally installed, and diligently maintained. In households with moderate or limited furnace use, some of these heaters could last three decades or more.

If you haven’t replaced your furnace in quite some time, you can ask your HVAC technician to give you an estimate of its remaining lifespan during your next maintenance service. You can also keep your eye out for clues that your furnace is declining. Aging furnaces tend to be far noisier than they were just after installation. Foul smells during operation, hot and cold spots throughout the building, and longer than normal heating cycles can all be indications of an impending, age-related or wear-related breakdown. Keep in mind that an aging furnace will experience more repair issues during its last two years of service than it will at any other time in its life.

Consider Recent Changes in Your Heating or Cooling Costs

One easy way to determine whether your HVAC equipment is worth repairing is by comparing your current energy bill to your energy bill from the same month in the prior year. It’s estimated that most heaters and air conditioners lose approximately half of their efficiency after just 10 years of service. Thus, if your 10-year-old furnace had an efficiency rating of 90% when it was first put in, its current efficiency level is much lower. With HVAC use accounting for nearly half of the average home energy bill, having a new furnace installed could drop your monthly overhead costs significantly.

The Lifespan and Integrity of Your HVAC Air Ducts

For total HVAC system replacements, it’s important to note that both heaters and air conditioners can last between 15 and 25 years while still performing at acceptable levels. However, must HVAC ductwork cannot. The average lifespan of HVAC air ducts is between just 10 and 15 years. After this time, structural damage, air leaks, and stubborn build-ups of dirt and other debris make air duct replacement the safest and most cost-effective choice. Thus, if your furnace needs major repairs and your ductwork has reached the end of its lifespan, opting to replace both at once can result in energy savings, higher IAQ, and air ducts and heating equipment that are streamlined to perfectly support one another.

Calculate Your Cumulative Repair Costs

In regions with exceedingly cold winter weather, many homeowners are surprised by their cumulative furnace repair costs. Take stock of how much you’ve already spent to resolve problems in your current heating equipment. If your total repair bills for the last five years are equal to or greater than half the cost of furnace replacement, now is the time to get a new heater. As your furnace grows closer to the final years of its service life, you could see new problems crop up several times throughout each cooling season. If your furnace is already 10 years old or older, you might want to consider replacement when facing any repair that costs just 20% of your estimated replacement price.

Furnace Sizing Issues

No matter how old your HVAC equipment currently is, you should definitely consider replacing it if it isn’t the right size. When installing furnaces and air conditioners, HVAC companies should use the Manual J load calculation method. This method accounts for insulation amounts, building layouts, household sizes, and many other factors. Without it, homeowners are at risk of installing units that are either too large or too small for their needs. This can lead to rapid wear, frequent and recurring repair issues, higher-than-average home energy bills, excess humidity, and more. If your furnace or AC frequently cycles off and on or runs all of the time due to sizing issues, replacing it will save you money and make your life easier.

Residents of Windsor, ON can count on us for expert furnace and air conditioner installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also provide heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), air purifiers, and ductless mini-splits. To schedule an appointment, give Guaranteed Comfort Heating & Cooling a call.

Matt Henderson