A: After 10 years, that’s when most manufacturers’ warranties expire. So, at that point, any major repairs or replacement of main components become very expensive. So, return on investment is very low, or non-existent at that point.
So, if your system has reached that age and you’re faced with either a malfunctioning compressor, burnout, or an evaporator coil goes out, replacement of the system is going to be the best option—for many reasons.
One, you get to restart your warranty. You get to register your new equipment for an extended warranty. Also, you get newer technology— in 10 years, a lot happens, and technology advances. You’re going to get something more efficient, probably quieter operation, a much higher comfort level, and better air filtration.
There’s a lot of accessories and a lot of features that can be added to a system at the time of replacement. So, that’s a perfect opportunity for improvements.
So, I’d say after the 10 to 12-year mark, a new system would be the best option.
If your AC breaks down, you might just need a simple repair—even if your unit isn’t exactly the newest model
If you’ve been waffling between repairing or replacing your Houston HVAC system, there are some things to consider. Factors such as how old your unit is, how it performs, and how efficient it is, not to mention, how much the average repair costs.
Keeping these things in mind will help you make a more practical decision and not panic if your system fails one July day.
Sometimes, a replacement is unnecessary—a simple repair could extend the life of your system for a few years.
Signs You May Need To Call A Houston HVAC Company
- Repetitive noises such as grinding, squeaking, grating, or vibration.
- Increasing humidity in your home
- Frequent failures
- A significant jump in energy bills
- Coolant or water leakage
- Thermostat irregularities
- Hot air blowing out of vents instead of cool
- Unit fails to power on
- Restricted airflow
- Burnt smell or mildew smell
- Greater than normal accumulation of dust
If you need help determining whether you need to replace your system or just call a Houston HVAC company for repair—read on.
Should You Repair Or Just Replace Your Houston HVAC?
Investing in a high-quality, energy-efficient Houston HVAC system is a serious financial decision. Sometimes a failing air conditioner is simply the symptom of a minor component breakdown. Other times, it could be a sign of a catastrophic failure.
Either way, having to make that call is not an easy decision but you should take into account some important factors. Some of these are common sense and others are a bit more overlooked.
Age Of Your Unit
With Houston HVAC units, even the most advanced model has a typical lifespan of up to 15 years. Now, if you maintain it well it might last you even longer. However, some systems at that milestone may still work—just not as efficient as they once did.
Is your system over 10 years old? Has your warranty already expired? Are you experiencing problems with your unit more frequently? Have the estimates to repair it been on the high side? If you answered yes, to these questions—a new system may be the more practical answer.
However, if it’s less than 10 years old and especially if it’s still under warranty—replacing it doesn’t make sense. This is especially true if you’ve maintained the unit well and kept up on all scheduled services. Unless you are experiencing a major failure, repairing is likely the better choice which coincides with the next factor.
If you have a fairly new Houston HVAC system, if the repair cost is reasonably low, then it rarely makes fiscal sense to replace. HVAC techs follow the 5K rule when consulting customers on repairing or replacing their units.
You simply take the age of your system and multiply it by the cost of the repair. If that number is over $5,000 it may make more sense to replace your HVAC. If it’s less than that, naturally, you want to just repair it.
Older Coolant EPA Regulations And Availability
Most 10 yr old units and older still use R-22 Freon coolant to condition the air going into your home. The problem is that R-22 is now banned in the US as of 2020. This means if you insist on constantly repairing your aging unit, the coolant your unit uses is now obsolete. This makes it harder to find since no one can legally produce R-22 anymore either.
Modern Houston HVAC units use the new standard refrigerant, R-410a which is approved by the EPA. It’s commonly available and makes any refrigerant-based repairs much less expensive than R-22 systems. So, this should be something to consider going forward.
Average Energy Costs
It doesn’t matter how well you care for your 10-year-old unit—it will run less efficiently than a modern unit. The SEER rating your system had 10 years ago, is no longer even a minimum standard in most cases. Modern systems progress and get more done while using less energy and do it more efficiently. However, just because your energy bills are high, doesn’t mean it’s an old system that’s causing the issue. In fact, we’ve had customers with 4-year-old units that are performing poorly and it always comes down to size. You see, having a Houston HVAC system that is too small or too large for your home will also heavily impact your utility bill. It might make more sense in that situation as well, to just replace the unit with a professional. They can do a proper calculation to determine the proper size unit you need for your home.
How Long Do You Plan On Keeping Your Home?
Even if your unit is 10 or more years old, if it’s not failing in a major way or needing excessive repairs, replacing it might not be wise. That is, not if you plan on moving in the next several years.
However, make sure you have maintained the unit properly otherwise a buyer may demand considerations to replace it during the sale. The best practice is to maintain your Houston HVAC system as it should be. When it comes time to sell your home, buyers will see that just because it’s older it shouldn’t be a problem because it’s maintained well.
Now, if you don’t plan on selling your home anytime soon, replacing it will give you peace of mind which you can’t put a price tag on.
Average Cost Of Common Houston HVAC Repairs
Aside from the factors mentioned above, we would not be giving you the complete picture without looking at repair costs. Understanding what you’re looking at for some common repairs will also help solidify your decision.
Typical Houston AC Repair Costs
Smaller components may cost under $200, such as the cost to fix a coolant leak in a system. However, even the small repairs can turn into something much bigger and more expensive. That is the hard part about HVAC repair, often things pop up while making the initial repair. A simple job can turn into a complex project real quick such as that coolant leak turning into a $1,000 complex job.
Some parts are just inherently costly such as the compressor, the evaporator coil, and your condenser outside. Replacing either of these can end up setting you back a little over $1,0000 or more.
So let’s say you have an older system with a failed compressor. You get a quote for $2,000—take a step back and consider the age of your system. A $2,000 repair on a 10-year-old system is a roll of the dice of your money going to waste.
Typical Houston HVAC Unit Replacement Cost
The average cost to replace a Houston AC unit runs on average about $5,000 for a very basic system. Mid-range systems go for more and honestly, you want to avoid a bare minimum system. AC replacement is a long-term investment.
Need Help Deciding?
If you want a professional opinion call Airteam. We can give you an honest diagnosis and estimated repair cost of your system. Whatever you do, don’t decide in haste, or assume anything.
Just contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll go over your options and what will work best for you.