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When to Repair vs. Replace

Air Conditioners and furnaces are like all other appliances in your home, they are not designed to last forever. Sooner or later your system will malfunction and need to be serviced. Should you repair or replace your current system is a question we all will face? In order to make a sell some contractors want to make that decision for you. The answer is when you decide it’s time and after you have done your research and weighed the pros and cons. If your contractor insists that you change your system without giving the factors below some consideration, then change contractors. You have to realize that some contractors would rather sell you a new system that you don’t need rather than fix the system you currently have. Know which contractor you are dealer with, the salesman or the repairman. Call Collins Indoor Solutions for a Free Quote or second opinion on your current system condition. Other factors to consider before purchasing a new system are:

Cost of Repair

Depending on your financial situation it may be more cost effective to repair than to replace. If the cost of the repair seems high ask the contractor for a quote on new system. Compare the two and take into account how much energy/money you will save and for how long by upgrading to a new system. A cost calculator can help you determine this. If time permits, get a second opinion on a repair. Some contractors will boost the cost of a repair to make the new system seem more reasonable.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the strongest selling point in today’s HVAC market. Determine the efficiency of your current system before you purchase a high-efficiency system. You may find that you already have a high-efficiency system installed. Another misconception is the higher the SEER rating the more money you will save. The SEER rating is a moving scale, the higher you go the lower the savings. For example, going from a system with an 8 SEER rating to 10 SEER will save you 40% then going from a 10 SEER to 12 SEER will only save 20% for the same two point jump in SEER rating. This is why people who purchase ultra high-efficiency systems are shocked to find there electric bill is not as low as the salesman indicated it would be. Know the difference between a fact and a promise. A cost calculator can help you determine if going to higher SEER will benefit you.

Repair History

Start to build a repair and maintenance history for your current system. Invoices for maintenance and repairs could be useful when trying to pinpoint a problem. If your system is less than 5 years old and not performing well, talk to your contractor and have them diagnose the system. The problem may be with the quality, installation, design or maintenance of the system causing poor system performance. Buying a new system will only correct this situation if it is a maintenance or quality issue. If your system is between 5-10 years old and constantly breaking down or not performing well, it could be the quality of the system, installation, design or maintenance ignored over time is leading to premature failure. Use the repair history to try and pinpoint the problem. Remember repeat repairs of the same item could mean the real problem is being overlooked by your contractor. If your system is older than 10 years and constantly breaking down you may be nearing the lifespan of the system. The lifespan will depend on the quality of the system and how it was installed, operated and maintained.

How long you plan to stay in your home

When purchasing a new system, take into account the amount of time you plan be in your home. If you are moving in a year, spending several thousand dollars on new system may not be the best use for those funds. A cost calculator can help you determine how long you would have to stay in your house recoup the money spent on a new system.

Equipment Performance Issues

You have rooms in your home that are too hot or cold. Any of these could be the cause:

o Improper equipment operation (too many vents closed)

o Duct problems

o Inadequate insulation

o Improper unit sizing

You notice more dust than usual in your home.

o Distributing air through your house with poorly sealed ductwork may be pulling particles from attics, crawl spaces or basements while also clogging your equipment. Check out our Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) section to get educated on the subject.

You hear your air conditioner or heater running for extended periods of time, or frequently kick on and off.

o Undersized return air or ductwork

o Incorrect refrigerant charge

o Maintenance issues

o Improper unit sizing


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