If you have an older heating system, then you may know how it feels as you approach the coldest months of the year, wondering if this is the year when it will finally give out. Instead of waiting for the inevitable, check out these 5 red flags that can help you figure out whether or not it’s time to replace your HVAC system.
Your system is about 20 years old.
Every HVAC manufacturer says their systems have a 20-year lifecycle. Like a car, it simply wears out over time and needs to be replaced. As you approach 20 years, the likelihood of a major breakdown increases. At the very least, expect repairs to cost more because parts for older systems may not be readily available.
If your heating system broke down recently—especially if it’s more than 15 years old—you may want to start researching new systems. At this point in the life of your system, it could cost more to repair it than to put a down payment on a new one.
The repair costs are high.
Speaking of repairs, if the cost of repairing a newer system is more than half the cost to replace it, replace the system instead of repairing. If your system is three-quarters of the way through its lifespan—about 15 years for most systems—and the cost of repairing it is a third of the cost of replacing it, consider replacing your system.
It’s been more than 2 years since a technician has looked at your system.
If your system has lived more than half its life and it’s been more than two years since a technician has looked at it, it might be time to see what’s happening. A technician can identify potential problems before they turn into emergencies and make sure your system is running optimally. They can also identify potentially dangerous situations, such as leaching carbon monoxide.
Your system is running excessively.
If you’ve noticed your system running…and running and running, that could be a sign that it’s getting older, less efficient, and in need of replacement. If you notice a big change in the way your heater functions, compared to other years with similar weather patterns, it may be time to replace it. You can repair an aging system, just be aware that repairs will get more frequent and less effective over time. Talk with an experienced HVAC technician to figure out when it’s the ideal time to purchase a new system.
You hear unusual noises.
Do you hear grinding, rattling, squeaking, or other unusual noises from your heating system? Typically, that’s an indication that a motor is wearing out. But sounds can also be due to other, less dire causes. A technician can help you decide whether parts replacement makes sense, given the age of your system.
Your energy costs have been steadily going up.
If you’ve noticed increases in your heating bill—even though this season’s weather has been more-or-less the same as that in years past—it could be that your system is starting to fail. Each year, energy-saving technology in HVAC systems improves, so if you’re running a less-efficient model, it could be that replacing your system now will give you significant savings.
Need to have a technician out? Check out our post on what to look for in a heating and cooling maintenance technician.
Need info on a new system? You can schedule an estimate here .