HVAC Repair: Is It Time For Replacement vs. Repair?

Posted on March 15th, 2020 by carrolladmin

If your heater or air conditioner seems to be going out, you might wonder if it’s time to replace it. Replacing an HVAC system is expensive, but at times it might be necessary. If it isn’t necessary, however, it can mean spending thousands more than you need to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Here, we’ll discuss how to decide whether to repair or replace your current HVAC system.

HVAC Repair vs. Replacement: Questions To Ask

Deciding whether to repair or replace your heating and cooling system comes down to a few questions about the costs involved. Would it be worth the costs of repairs, or would the replacement be more cost-effective in the long run? These questions can help you decide.

Is it an easy fix?

First of all, you should determine if it’s an easy fix. If your system isn’t performing as well as it should, it could be something as simple as a clogged filter or worn part. In those cases, fixing the issue is usually cheapest, at least for the short-term.

Often, these types of issues are preventable with routine maintenance. Heating and cooling systems should be inspected annually, and your air filters should be checked monthly. Keeping up on this preventive maintenance will ensure your system runs longer and more reliably.

How old is the unit?

The next question you should ask is about the age of the unit. If it’s more than 10 years old, it’s usually best to replace it. After that point, it’s likely to keep breaking down more and more, and it won’t operate as efficiently.

However, a new or middle-aged unit could benefit from repairs, even if it has completely broken down. Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your unit, allowing you to get the very most out of its initial costs.

How much would HVAC repairs cost?

If you have a more significant issue on hand than the minor fixes you might face, weighing replacement vs. repair can be more difficult. In those cases, it’s worth seeing how much repairs would cost compared to the value of the unit.

A general rule of thumb to apply here is if the repair costs would be over half the current value of your system, it’s probably worth replacing. Another measurement method is to multiply the repair costs by the unit’s age. If it’s over $5,000, replacement is probably the most cost-effective choice.

How has the system been performing lately?

A system that breaks down often is either poorly maintained or old. In either case, a system that keeps going out on you may be best to replace. Newer units perform better and use less energy, meaning it will pay for the upfront cost over time. You’ll also be spared the costs of frequent breakdowns.

Even issues that might seem minor may warrant replacement. If your unit has been making noise or performing poorly in terms of temperature control, and if those issues have been occurring frequently, you’ll likely benefit from a total replacement.

Additional considerations

In addition to the technical issues your system might be facing and the raw costs, there are some other matters to consider. These include:

  • Plans to move out of the house soon
  • Potential tax benefits from upgrading to a newer system
  • The value of getting a new warranty to cover parts
  • The costs of replacing old and outdated parts

If you’re planning to move out, then replacing the system may not seem strictly necessary. However, doing so could allow you to ask for a higher sale price, so it’s worth considering.

Other benefits, such as tax benefits or a new warranty, could offset the cost of replacing your current system, making the investment worthwhile in the long run.

Signs Your System Needs Replacement

When contemplating whether to get a new heating system or air conditioner, the following are signs that it might need to be replaced:

  • Frequent breakdowns
  • Consistently poor or uneven heating and cooling despite regular repairs
  • Unit is more than 10 to 15 years old
  • Constant noise or odd smells
  • Energy bills keep going up
  • Allergies keep getting worse

If these problems keep happening, you’ll likely save money in the long run if you replace it. Note, however, that if these issues aren’t frequent or if your system is still new, you’d probably be best served by getting a technician to repair it.

Signs Your System Needs Repairs

Often, replacement isn’t necessary. In these cases, repairs should help prolong the life of your HVAC system. To determine if you need repairs, consider these symptoms:

  • Recently poor heating and cooling
  • Leaks
  • New odd noises or unusual smells
  • Short cycling (the unit turns on and off too frequently)
  • Allergy symptoms are worse than usual

If your system is less than 10 years old and if these issues aren’t occurring frequently, you’ll likely be best off with HVAC repair, particularly if it’s well maintained otherwise.

HVAC Repair Or Replacement? Making The Right Choice

When choosing to repair or replace your existing system, look for the signs and ask yourself the questions listed above. Doing so will give you a clear idea of what step you’ll need to take next.

Contacting a qualified HVAC service provider, like Carroll Plumbing, can give you more insight into what your system needs to keep running, whether that’s repairs or complete replacement. They’ll then perform the agreed-upon service(s) from minor repairs to new system installation.

Contact Us For HVAC Repair & Replacement Information

I reached out to Carroll Plumbing & Heating to see what was going on with the A/C unit at my rental property. David returned my call promptly and we scheduled an appointment to investigate the issue. He was very professional, knowledgeable, and able to answer all my questions. The pricing was very fair and reasonable. The install crew was very friendly, both introducing themselves upon entering the home. The system was swapped out quickly and they made sure I understood the new system prior to leaving. I was very happy with the service provided by Carroll Plumbing & Heating. They are easy to work and I highly recommend.
Carroll Plumbing and Heating installed my new gas hot water heater. Their technicians did an exceptional job. They were professional, polite, knowledgeable, and respectful of me and my home. Dave and Zach installed the gas hot water heater. Dave made sure that he answered all of my questions and that I knew how the new hot water heater worked with my Aqua Therm furnace. It was a pleasure working with multiple technicians from Carroll Plumbing and Heating.
Super quick to come tell me that my problem wasn’t a problem. Crew was honest & chill.
I have now used Carroll Plumbing three times (2 crisis times and 1 regular fix) and each time they were knowledgeable, responsive and fit me in on emergency basis. They are wonderful. If you live in an old home, you WILL have some plumbing issue at some point and your reliance on a good plumber who will come figure it out and explain it well is crucial. They are the ONLY people in Richmond I will ever use.
Our hot water heater died and we were able to get a estimator out in the morning and the heater replaced in the afternoon. They were professional, friendly and easy to do business with. Highly recommmend!
I’ve had several occasions to use Carroll Plumbing and they have always been great. Today was no exception. I had an emergency and they were able to stay on top of their schedules to work us in. Problem quickly solved. Thanks for the fast and efficient service!
We have used Carroll’s plumbing after seeing multiple positive reviews on the NextDoor app. Truly a great group of staff. From management who helped to troubleshoot an item, to Albert who specializes in sewer-related items, to Dustin, Phillip and Jamaine. We had the whole crew it seems at one point of another to our 1940’s bungalow to assist with old house issues. Schedulers are also always pleasant and responsive. Knowledgeable employees who consistently deliver great service!
I have used Carroll for everything from installation of a ducted minisplit a/c system to repair work on an aged water boiler heating system and have found them to be excellent on every job. They are 100% transparent on billing, if a job takes less time than what was budgeted the final bill reflects time spent on the job rather than the estimate. Just wonderful folks.
Great job replacing sink faucet.
Best in Richmond by far. I am a Landlord and every single time I have had a problem they have responded immediately, this has been going on for over 10 years, I am absolutely delighted that we have such a fine provider of important community service. Keep it up! Thank you Carroll.
Carroll Plumbing & Heating came through for me in an emergency. I called for help when my home warranty company couldn't send out a plumber right away. I had a busted hot water tank in my attic and was leaking water through my ceiling. I had a real emergency and they came within 30 mins. The Techs got in my attic cut off the gas to the tank and water. Then they drained the water. It was a hard job due to the tight area in my attic. The were very professional and knowledgeable. The also wore their masks. I would recommend them to anyone. I give them an "A" plus. Thanks to them guys at Carroll.
Called over holiday weekend w leaking sewage pipe. They advised cost would be high and suggested temporary water collection. Saved us money and earned our respect for their integrity. Made repair quickly after. Get service and workmanship.
Robert and Mike are great. Arrived on time and went right to work. I had another issue and they took the time to explain what I needed. I have more work to be done and plan to ask for them specifically.
I have been a customer of Carroll Plumbing and Heating for over 30 years and would not go anywhere else.
I will never call anyone else again! They were so nice, super fast, and very efficient!!! Everyone from the receptionist to the dispatcher and the technicians. The manager even checked in on us!! Cannot say enough great things about this company!! Thank you so much!!
The guys from Carroll were prompt, professional, patient & reasonable. They diagnosed my problem, replaced the parts and were in & out within an hour. This was the first time I've use Carroll and I can guarantee there will be a second when the need arises.
Excellent Customer Service
Best plumbing, heating and cooling contractor in the metro area!
Excellent job and workmanship. We had an emergency issue that required a gas line replacement. They were on the spot, courteous, and professional. We never had to go a night without heat or hot water. I'll go back to this place for all of my heating and plumbing needs. Dustin is a great plumber and Bruce runs a tight shop -- personally making sure customers are happy.
Great service! I called them late Monday and they were at my house Tuesday morning the next day. Always have had a great experience with Carroll. Highly recommend them!
Had an extremely poor experience with another plumbing company in Richmond and was sick of dealing with trying to get in contact with their "managers." My roommate found Carroll online and I called for an appointment. The receptionist that answered was very nice and seemed to know exactly who to send me to for immediate assistance, rather than have me play phone tag with multiple departments.A kind man named Bruce was over to diagnose the issue, walk me through the repair and how our aged heating system worked, and think of a creative solution that saved me over $500 off the total bill with a fair invoice that detailed the work demands and parts used--all in the same day. They may be a little pricey, but I was incredibly impressed with their speed, customer service, and attentiveness to the intricacies of aged baseboard radiators. I've never worked with any other home service companies who were willing to quote a new and innovative solution for a typically expensive repair. Keep up the great work!
Best plumbing company around :)
I called this company due to an emergency that I had. My pipes burst and I had no heat or hot water and it was 14 degrees outside. Bruce was extremely helpful, kind and quick to solve the problem. They came out quickly, gave a reasonable estimate and stayed until they were assured the problem was fixed. Dave was a great help, along with the other gentleman who helped him. I will definitely use this company in the future and will recommend them to anyone with heating and plumbing needs! They are knowledgeable, have excellent customer service, and helped me out tremendously when I needed them. A+ job!
Carroll is the best HVAC & Plumbing company in town! Two years ago, I had 5 different plumbers take a look at a new water heater where the pilot was not remaining lit. All 5 incompetent plumbers (several whom has fancy commercials that air today) could not figure out the problem. The last plumber actually referred me to Carroll and I so glad he didn't allow pride to keep him from sending me to someone who knew what they were doing. A week before X-mas, Carroll came out, figured out the entire WH needed to be replaced (through warranty), and though they didn't install the old WH they handled the entire warranty process that included removing the old WH and installing the new one. The entire process was completed in 2 days. About 3 days after they installed it, there was slight condensation buildup on one of the pipes that concerned me and after calling, Carroll immediately came out and stopped it. Today, after turning the heat on for the 1st time since last winter, I noticed cooler air blowing. I called Carroll this morning and within a few hours the dispatcher had Jacob come by. Within a few minutes Jacob quickly diagnosed the problem (which was a closed valve that was mistakenly left off when they came out last time). Jacob was a peach and the dispatcher was very kind.
Carroll Plumbing was fantastic! They were able to get me an appointment the very next day after I first called and the technician (Kenny) that they sent out was efficient, friendly and explained everything thoroughly. We will definitely use Carroll for any future plumbing needs! I HIGHLY recommend them!
Carroll Plumbing came to our house within 24 hours of our initial call. Our technician, Dustin, was incredible. He was on time, polite, courteous and friendly. He fixed our shower, installed a new sink in our basement and replaced the main shutoff valve for our water. He was fantastic and we will ask for Dustin by name in the future. We have used Carroll Plumbing for over 15 years and were saddened when our former plumber retired. Fortunately, Dustin is absolutely top notch.
Carroll is always on pointe. They came today to fix a leaky and sticking shower. They had to take off 3 valve controllers to get to the problem and were very careful to keep all the trim and insides in great condition. I was worried about working on our expensive shower fixtures, but perfect job. They have done several fixes for me over the years - all great quality - so I figured it was time to give them the review they deserve.
I manage a business located down the street from Carroll Plumbing. We were having our internet upgraded and the contractor doing the work hit our water line. We were without water to our building at 3PM in the afternoon and were facing the possibility of having to close our business. I called Carroll Plumbing and they were over assessing the issue within 10-15 minutes. By 4:30PM our line was fixed and we were back up and running. I cannot thank Carroll Plumbing enough for turning what could have been a disaster into a tiny bump in our day.
Very thorough and personable, I've used their service for years on my HVAC units and recently had them replace my system, install new thermostats, and expand the ductwork. They are timely, clean up after themselves, always answer all of my questions and are never in a hurry. I will continue to use their services in the future.
Had a problem with a dripping faucet. Aragon from Carroll came out on a Sunday, quickly diagnosed the problem, fixed it, tested it and explained to me clearly what had happened. He was very friendly, on time, worked quickly, and used his boot covers while in the house. It was a great experience.
Great company to deal with if you need plumbing work. This most recent need for Carroll was to replace my 16 year old hot water heater. They called me to let me know they were running behind and then called me to tell me the plumber was on his way. After the hot water heater was installed, the plumber reviewed it operation with me. I will use Carroll again.
We came home from work in early spring to find our furnace not working. Carroll came out the next day to look it over. They performed a quick fix until the part that was needed came in. They were back the very next day (on a weekend), working hard to get it working. Everyone from the folks in the office to the technician who did the work were professional and very helpful.I highly recommend Carroll Plumbing and will surely call them first when I need any heating or plumbing work.