If your HVAC system isn’t performing quite as it should, you are probably wondering what the next best (and most cost-efficient) step is. When facing this dilemma, many homeowners tend to settle for a quick repair to save some money. But this option doesn’t always help your wallet in the long run.
Sometimes, taking the plunge and investing in a new system altogether can help you save more time, money, and resources than you would with a repair. So, how do you know which option is right for you? We at AGL Heating and Air in Charleston, SC, are here to give you some general tips to keep in mind so that you can safely and efficiently maximize the lifespan of your HVAC system (and your hard-earned dollars!).
Is It Time to Repair or Replace My Charleston, SC, HVAC System?
5 Signs Your HVAC System Might Need Work
Your Charleston, SC, HVAC system should effectively filter the air in your home. If you begin to notice more dust, dander, and debris, it could indicate that your system is running inefficiently. Check and replace your filters, and if the problem persists, it may be wise to consult a professional.
Your Charleston, SC, heating and air system should run quietly. A well-installed and well-maintained HVAC system should be unobtrusive and inconspicuous. Squealing, grinding, or thumping noises can indicate a problem with the unit or an obstruction in the vents.
Sometimes odors are harmless, like when you turn your system on for the first time in a while and a little bit of dust burns off the coils. However, a foul or unusual odor coming from your HVAC system could also be more nefarious, especially if it persists. A burning smell can indicate mold or a melting wire. A musty smell may be mildew. Do not live with the discomfort of a foul smell – the safe and wise idea would be to consult a professional.
Increased Energy Bills
If your energy bills are rising, or you’re finding it more difficult to keep your home at the right temperature, this can be a sign of an inefficient system. Try cleaning the system, routinely replace the filters, and if the problem persists, consider whether it may be time to upgrade your HVAC system in order to save on your monthly energy costs.
If you are having trouble reaching the desired temperature of your home, you may be experiencing the side effects of an aged, underperforming, or incorrectly sized heating and cooling unit. Keep in mind that there could be a number of underlying causes that are simple fixes, from an incorrectly displaying thermostat to a clogged filter.
If your HVAC system is experiencing any of these “symptoms”, it may be time to evaluate the best course of action moving forward. For a few helpful hints when deciding whether to repair or replace your HVAC system, continue reading!
Should I Repair or Replace My Charleston, SC, HVAC System?
Most HVAC systems last for about 15 years, depending on a variety of factors, including whether or not you have routine maintenance performed on your system. Eventually, every homeowner reaches an unfortunate breaking point, forced to consider whether their HVAC system is on its last breath. When faced with this scenario, the most important factors to consider when evaluating whether you should repair or replace your system are the safety, lifespan, efficiency, and effectiveness of your Charleston, SC, heating and air system.
Your HVAC System Is 10+ Years
If your system is between 10 and 15 years old, it may be more cost-effective to replace your system rather than make further repairs. Keep in mind that some heating and cooling systems can last upwards of 20 years, so not every problem is indicative of a system failure. A simple fan belt replacement or cleaned condenser can be a quick and easy repair, without affecting the long-term health of your unit. If your system is less than 10 years old, it may be an issue with the efficiency of your Charleston, SC, HVAC unit.
When we have hit peak summer temperatures in the Lowcountry, take time to conduct your own test. Start by turning on your AC unit and setting it to about 70 degrees. Let it run for 15 to 20 minutes before using a thermometer to check the exterior return duct. Then, do the same thing for your most powerful (and easily accessible) vent inside. Now, subtract your interior from your exterior temperature reading. If the difference between the two is below 15 degrees, you might need work on your HVAC system.
You Have Safety Concerns
When it comes to HVAC, safety should be everyone’s first concern. Modern units have many more redundancies and fail safes designed to better protect your home. However, some older units may not always feature these safety updates. A cracked heat exchanger, for example, can result in a carbon monoxide leak, which can make your home extremely dangerous and uninhabitable.
Mold, mildew, and dust particle build-up can ruin the air quality in your home, aggravating allergies and other respiratory conditions, too. Older, ill-maintained, or frayed wiring can also create fire hazards. In any of these cases, it is important to get a diagnostic consultation from one of our heating and cooling professionals as soon as possible to ensure the safety and comfort of your home.
You Are Constantly Making Repairs
Oftentimes, the older an HVAC system is, the more maintenance it needs. If you find yourself calling your local HVAC technician more than twice a year, you’re probably making too many repairs. At a certain point, you must consider whether the maintenance costs have surpassed the potential cost of a new unit.
Generally, if your Charleston heating and air conditioning system is older and repair costs are going to exceed 50% of the total cost of the system, you may want to consider replacing your unit instead. While this can lead to a higher upfront expense, the purchase cost is often compensated by long-term savings on costly repairs, as well as your monthly energy bill.
Your System Isn’t As Efficient
Modern systems are considerably more energy-efficient than older units, and by replacing your HVAC system, you may save up to 40% on your monthly utilities. Freon, for example, is an odorless and colorless gas that used to be a critical component of many older heating and cooling units. The government is currently phasing out this chemical to conserve energy, making it more costly to use. Incorrectly sized heating and cooling systems can be another contributor to inefficiency. If your HVAC unit is too large, it can be ineffective and inefficient, while a small unit may struggle to effectively meet your home’s needs.
The Bottom Line
Your Charleston heating and air conditioning system is a sizable investment that is key to maintaining the comfort of your home. With the spring season being a peak time for routine HVAC maintenance, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the options available to you. That way, if your HVAC technician finds any major issues when performing maintenance on your system, you will know what to do in the repair vs replace conundrum.
Contact AGL Heating and Air in Charleston, SC, today, and we’ll send a trusted and qualified HVAC comfort specialist to advise you about the best path forward for your system. Our technicians can help advise you about cost-cutting and safety measures, or if you decide it’s time, based on our lifetime cost analysis estimate, our experts can help you find an HVAC unit that’s right for you and your home!