How to shop for your first HVAC system

December 22, 2020

If you own your first home (or if you’ve owned a string of homes for shorter periods of time) one thing you may not have thought about is how soon you’ll need to shop for your first HVAC system. It’s a major purchase. But since your system is hidden away in a basement or garage, you may not think about shopping for one until it’s an emergency.

Even if your next HVAC purchase won’t happen for another 5 or even 10 years, read through this post and tuck the information away in the back of your mind so that when the time comes, you won’t be surprised.


When should you start planning to replace your HVAC system?

Once your HVAC system is 15 years old, it’s time to start planning. If you’re able to set aside funds for a new system, it’s a good time to start doing that. You can also start looking at options to figure out what kind of system might be best suited for your home. You can even get a formal proposal to give you an idea of how much you’ll need to spend.

Is it smart to repair an older HVAC system?

It depends. A minor repair (under $200) on a system that’s 15 years or older is probably worth it.

But if a repair runs into multiple hundreds of dollars, you may want to consider getting a quote for a new system. Like an older car, there comes a point when continuing to pay for costly repairs makes less sense than putting those dollars toward the purchase of a new unit. A good technician can evaluate when it’s time (or past time) to replace your HVAC unit and can give you options to consider.

HVAC timeline

Here’s a short look at what you can expect financially from your HVAC system at each stage of its life:

If your HVAC system is 5 years old:

  • Hold some money aside for regular maintenance and potential minor repairs.

If your HVAC system is 10 years old:

  • Hold some money aside for regular maintenance and potential minor repairs.
  • Keep in mind that a big repair is a possibility.
  • Pay for repairs, even up to several hundred dollars.

If your HVAC system is 15 years old:

  • Continue to hold money aside for regular maintenance and potential minor repairs.
  • Pay for repairs under $200.
  • Do not pay for repairs of more than $200-300.
  • Start putting money aside for a replacement within the next 5 years.
  • Do preliminary research on a new system, so you’re prepared down the road.

If your HVAC system is 20 years old:

  • It’s time to start looking for a new system. Consider all your options, including cost- and energy-saving models, variable-speed systems, and the addition of air conditioning.
  • Gather financing information. We know that many people don’t have the luxury of saving up for an HVAC system. So we have a financing partner who helps our customers get a system when they need it at a monthly price they can afford. Whoever you choose for your system, be sure you ask them about your options.

Looking for information on different types of systems? Read these posts!


Heat Pumps: Efficiently Heat and Cool Your Home

Air Conditioning: Options for Many Budgets

Or browse our options here.

Photo Credit to : One Beautiful Life Photo

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