As your home ages, so does your HVAC unit. When this happens, it’s inevitable that it will lose efficiency. This may result in sudden shutdowns, expensive inspections and repairs, and eventually a replacement. However, you don’t necessarily need to replace your air conditioning system over minor issues. What are these dilemmas we have to look out for, anyway? And when does it make sense to have a unit repaired or replaced? We enlighten you on all of this here in this post.
Repairing Your HVAC System
Experts say replacements aren’t always the solution to a troubled unit. There are specific instances or minor issues that may be addressed by simple fixes. These include clogged drain lines, disconnected wiring and loose ductwork.
While clogged drain lines can be repaired by just cleaning and ensuring the unit is well-maintained, other situations may still require you to call in a professional. Remember that not all projects are ideal for DIYs. Moreover, a repair service is also ideal when the affected unit is still under warranty.
Here are some DIYs you may consider for your heating system and air conditioning unit:
Replacing the air filter every six months to ensure your system is working properly.
Although most fixes are best handled by an expert, troubleshooting the system can be done by any homeowner.
Here are instances in which you should hire a trained, professional contractor:
Major leaks that prompt the appearance of toxic mold in your home or establishment.
Adhering to installation and repair guidelines, as most commercial HVAC units have to meet building codes.
Massive repairs that may include ductwork and even system replacements.
Other factors you have to consider:
- Your budget. As it isn’t always a good time to be spending a lot on a big purchase, always remember that in certain situations, you should still be able to manage a short-term repair. In a few instances, you can even start planning for a full replacement.
- Utility rebates. Some residential and commercial HVAC companies provide incentives for you to upgrade to more energy-efficient systems. If you’re still weighing whether repairing or replacing your unit is ideal, check for rebate programs from your utility company. You may get a rebate that helps cover the upfront cost of installing a new system.
- System efficiency. This is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), which is a rating that’s always listed as a percentage and calculation of how successful the appliance is at converting energy to heat throughout a typical year. You can easily call an experienced technician to measure the AFUE of your heating unit and determine if a replacement is necessary. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the recommended AFUE is around 90% or higher. Thus, with any rating below that mark, it’s worth considering a replacement.
Replacing Your HVAC System
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a unit replacement. It should be noted that these systems are known to last for one to two decades. Hence, resorting to a replacement after that is definitely a wise decision. It’s still a debate on reactive and proactive replacement, though.
For a clearer understanding, reactive replacement means waiting until your air conditioning unit fails to have it replaced. On the other hand, proactive replacement is a planned decision that allows you to research and select the features you want in a system.
Here we’ve listed the reasons that may convince you to get new equipment:
- You have a system that uses Freon. It’s likely less efficient and usually more expensive to repair.
- The age of your unit. As mentioned above, if your unit is more than 10 years old and has shown significant signs of breaking down, it may be time to get a new residential or commercial HVAC unit.
- The problems are extensive. If your system frequently encounters problems that involve the compressor, condenser coils or blower motor, a replacement will be necessary.
- It’s been repaired multiple times. If your system has had at least three major repairs in recent years, then it’s probably more cost-effective to have it replaced with a brand-new unit.
Other factors you have to consider:
- Geography. Depending on where you live, the humidity, average temperature and climate will determine what type of system you need.
- Energy efficiency. By upgrading to a more energy-efficient system, such as an ENERGY STAR–rated appliance, you can immediately save more on cooling costs.
- Existing unit. If you don’t currently have ductwork in your home, save on installation costs by purchasing an appliance that doesn’t require ductwork, like a portable AC unit or ductless mini-split.
While it’s critical to ensure that your place has proper ventilation, you also need to make certain that you’re able to perform regular inspections and cleaning— which can either be done by you or a hired professional. If your budget is tight, keep in mind that there are still free consultations available for you. Furthermore, to meet the preventive maintenance requirements, here are few signs you should look out for:
Increased humidity. Some amount of humidity is normal in certain regions, but if you notice an unusual change in the humidity within your property, this is an indication that something is wrong with your unit.
Imbalanced temperature. If there are areas that are oddly cooler than others, you might have issues with your HVAC system. Have it immediately inspected by a professional.
Surging energy bills. This could be the most stressful yet obvious sign you’ll ever encounter. Check if your ductwork is leaking air or if your windows are improperly sealed, then hire a trained expert to fix any problems.
You should immediately contact a local technician if you think your HVAC unit has issues. Most contractors suggest that a proactive approach toward your heating system and cooling equipment will do wonders for its efficiency and longevity. Whatever the issue, a potential HVAC repair or replacement must not be delayed or neglected.
We have the tools, equipment and experience to help meet your air comfort needs. Let the professionals at Acker Heating & Cooling aid you in keeping your residential or commercial HVAC system running at peak performance year-round. Call (706) 989-6663 or fill out our contact form today, and be sure to ask us about our financing options, too.