When Should You Consider Replacing Your HVAC System Instead of Repairing It

The heating and cooling system is one of the most expensive appliances in your home. HVAC systems can last for many years, but there will be a point where you need to have it replaced, and this is going to cost you a couple of thousand dollars. The cost of replacement sometimes forces people to keep repairing their systems instead of having them replaced. There are signs you need to look out for so you can know whether the HVAC system needs to be replaced or repaired. When should you consider replacement over repair on your heating and cooling system?

Aging System

The average life span of an HVAC system is 15 years. This is the age that you can expect your system to last when you properly maintain it. Skipping on maintenance is a sure way of aging your system. Make sure your HVAC system has been serviced every year and the air filters replaced. When a system gets old, it will not perform efficiently and this will force you to pay more on your electric bill. Investing in a more efficient system will help you save on power bills, and you can even expect it to pay back itself in about two to three years. When replacing your HVAC system, make sure the technician takes a look at the ductwork because it is responsible for up to 30% of energy loss.

Air Quality

The HVAC system is responsible for the air quality inside a home. If you start noticing poor air quality, it is a sign you need to have your system replaced. A good HVAC system should provide ventilation, maintain the humidity level inside the home, and also filter small particles from the air. Most homes today are built with energy efficiency in mind, and this is why indoor air can be up to five times more populated than the air outdoors. Modern HVAC systems come with add-ons such as air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and air filters. When you have your HVAC system replaced by a modern one, you can expect better air quality inside.

Constantly Breaking Down

Repairing an HVAC system once might not be too expensive, but it will add up if you do it many times. If your system keeps breaking down, then consider having it replaced. When your HVAC system breaks down, it can cause a lot of inconvenience for you and your family. It is better to have it replaced and then forget about repairs for years to come. This is common in old HVAC systems. You might end up replacing almost every part of the system, which is very expensive.


There are refrigerants that are being phased out, with one common example being the R-22 refrigerant. If you are still using systems that use these refrigerants, then consider having them replaced because their repairs and recharging refrigerant will end up costing you a lot of money. While you will still be able to use the refrigerants being phased-out, their supplies are becoming limited, and this makes them more expensive.


The system becomes less and less efficient with time, and replacing it might be the best option for you. If you start noticing that the system is not working the way it used to be, or some areas of the home are hotter or colder than they need to be, it could be a sign that your HVAC system needs to be replaced. If the problems persist even after having them repaired, just get a new one and save yourself a lot of money.

Cost of Repairs

If the repair required costs more than half of the cost of a new unit, then you should consider replacing the system. If your HVAC system is newer and the cost to repair it is less than 50% of the cost of a new system, then you can have it repaired.

Many people are reluctant when they hear their HVAC system needs to be replaced because they are thinking about how much it is going to cost, but they forget about the benefits they can expect to get once it is replaced. You will be saving a lot in repair costs and energy bills. You can expect a return on your investment in less than five years.

Video Transcript:

When is the right time to replace your system? I always say there are two times people replace their systems. First is when the system is getting old and it seems like it may be reaching the end of its useful life. If you replace it under these circumstances, you have time to gather information and make a relaxed and informed decision without any pressure. The other time people replace their system is in a dire emergency when they’re forced to face extreme heat or freezing temperatures. These conditions often force people to make a quick decision without the luxury of a lot of research.

So, you need to ask yourself. Am I the type of person who doesn’t mind doing a few days without heating or air conditioning? Am I willing to sleep in the basement during a heat wave or relocate to a relative’s home during a cold snap? If that doesn’t sound appealing then you might want to be a little proactive about replacing that old system.

Some people are afraid that they might replace their system a year or two before they have to. That’s not really a problem. Let’s say you did replace your system two years before it was going to breathe its last breath. Here’s the scoop you’d be buying at today’s prices instead of the prices two years from now. You’d be saving the money on your utility bills for two full years and you would have a quieter and more comfortable system. Not to mention the peace of mind you could enjoy knowing that your system was not going to have a major breakdown.

What’s not to like about that? If you’re financially able to afford a new system, replacing it, when you can make an informed and relaxed decision is the way to go. So if you’ve decided to make this move you have two more decisions to make. What type of system you’re going to buy and who is going to install it for you?

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Many HVAC technicians say they typically recommend replacing units if they are 15 years or older. In Thomas’ case, HVAC experts say she should replace the unit because of its age and cost of the repair.
The Department of Energy recommends homeowners replace their HVAC systemevery 10 to 15 years. Modern air conditioners are durable, but their major components will begin to deteriorate after around ten years depending on how often you use and maintain them.
Average Costs Associated with Replacing a Broken HVAC System
  1. Air Handler – $2,500 – $3,500.
  2. Heat pump – $5,000 to $6,000.
  3. Furnace – $4,000 to $5,000.
  4. Air Conditioning – $3,000 to $4,000.
  5. Duct installation – $1,000 to $4,500.
  6. Thermostat – $200 to $500.
Generally in the summer season retailers hike their air conditioner prices because of the increased demand. This is why buying air conditioners in the off season will be cheaper. People do not opt for air conditioners in the winter season since it is already so cold, but you can get the best deals in this time.
That means that your home will only increase a certain amount, regardless of the investment you make towards your home. You must consider the value of your home and by how much a new HVAC system will increase it. The newest top-of-the-line model may be worth more than the investment will return.
Home air compressor replacement: $1350-$1800, depending on size and type. Evaporator coil replacement: $650-$1200. Condensing unit fan motor replacement: $100-$300.
While it is always necessary to replace both air conditioning components at the same time (in a split system), it’s not always necessary to replace both AC components and the furnace. The only time it really makes sense to wait to replace your furnace is if it is less than 10 years old.
Here are 3 signs that it’s time to replace your furnaceFurnaces live an average of 18-20 years, depending on if you had it professionally maintained or not. Age isn’t everything, though. The cost to keep the furnace running will give you more concrete reasons to replace or not.
If you’re planning to replace both your furnace and your air conditioner at the same time, you can expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000+. While that price can seem steep for some Colorado homeowners, the actual price you pay depends on: The efficiency levels of the units. The size of the units.
Labor. HVAC technicians generally charge $50-$70 per hour. A single maintenancevisit takes 1-2 hours ($50-$140). Flat fees for maintenance service visits range around $70-$100.

*The information above does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified attorney.

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