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When To Repair Versus Replace Your HVAC Unit

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

It's no secret HVAC units can be extremely pricey. In fact, your household's heating and air conditioning system is probably one of the single-most expensive things you will EVER buy for your home. It can be really difficult to know when to repair your HVAC unit and when it is time to just go ahead and bite the bullet and get a replacement. Sometimes, older HVAC units can become somewhat of a money pit, but we will try to help you decipher whether or not it is time to replace your HVAC unit or just do a simple repair.

programmable thermostat for HVAC with different modes
  1. AGE OF UNIT- Most HVAC units today have a lifespan of about 15-20 years. That is a pretty good average, and is what we see normally on our service calls here in Central Kentucky. Of course, you will always have a few outliers, like the unit we saw a few months back that was from 1965 and running stronger than most new units we see. On the other side of the coin, there are sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) issues with units straight from the factory. However, a good rule of thumb is to expect your HVAC unit to last somewhere between that 15-20 year mark. If your unit is at the latter end of that scale, you may want to start thinking about replacing.

  2. SAFETY OF REPAIRS- One of the most important things that will determine whether or not your HVAC unit can be repaired is whether or not it can be repaired safely. Most issues can be repaired safely, but there are some incredibly dangerous issues that may require replacement. For example, a unit with a cracked heat exchanger can cause carbon monoxide to leak into homes, and there is no repair available for this issue. Luckily, most issues can be repaired with no issues.

  3. TYPE OF REFRIGERANT- If you have had any type of HVAC service done in the last few years, you have probably heard that one certain type of refrigerant or freon is being phased out. That type is the R22 refrigerant. If your HVAC unit requires R22, it might be harder to get repairs done, as many companies have stopped carrying the R22 refrigerant. Eventually, R22 units will need to be replaced with units that require the newer R410A refrigerant.

  4. COST OF REPAIRS- Some more serious repairs, especially in older units, can become very costly. A good rule of thumb is what is called the "$5k rule". For issues where the cost of repair would be under $5000, it is USUALLY a good idea to go ahead and repair. For issues where the cost of repair would be over $5000, it makes more sense to replace in most cases.

older outdoor hvac unit with rust on the sides that needs to be replaced

If you are having issues with your HVAC unit here in Central Kentucky, give us a call or text (859) 771-1286. We would be happy to come out and check your unit and give you a free estimate on a replacement or a price for repairs!

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