Nobody wants to spend money on a new HVAC system, but like any other appliance in your Dover, Delaware, home, it has a limited lifespan. Even with regular maintenance and expert repairs, there comes a time when it’s better to invest in a new HVAC system. Determining when that time has arrived, however, isn’t always easy.
The worst time to discover you need a new HVAC system is in the middle of a winter storm or a summer heat wave, so pay attention to the following signs that it’s time to take the plunge.
Your Energy Bills are Getting Higher
If you notice your energy bills have been creeping upwards, the age of your HVAC system may be to blame. Due to wear and tear over the years, HVAC systems lose their efficiency over time. Also, improved technology means that furnaces and air conditioners are getting better every year.
If your HVAC system is from 10 to 15 years old, switching to a new HVAC system with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of at least 14 can save you up to $115 each year in energy costs, and improve your comfort and peace of mind as well.
Also, replacing your old system gives you the opportunity to take advantage of innovations such as multi-stage heating and cooling systems. These save energy by operating on low power most of the time, and switching to a higher power setting only when extreme conditions warrant it. You can also consider installing a heat pump or geothermal unit instead of a standard furnace, and take advantage of new smart home technology.
It Uses Freon
Older air conditioning systems use R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon. In 1992, the HVAC industry began transitioning to R-410A refrigerant, also called Puron. However, Freon-based systems were still manufactured until 2010, so there’s a good chance your older HVAC system uses it. Air conditioners using Puron are more efficient because it can absorb and release more heat than Freon.
Not only is Puron more efficient, but it’s also better for the environment. Freon was found to deplete the ozone layer, so the EPA has banned its production after the year 2020. After that, the costs of servicing a Freon-based system will soar because it will require the purchase of expensive stockpiled Freon.
A Major Component Has Failed
Repairs are a normal part of HVAC maintenance through the years, which is why regular tune-ups and inspections are a must. But eventually if something big goes wrong, like a primary motor, coil, or compressor, the repair cost might not be worthwhile. The cost of labor and parts can add up quickly, and there’s no guarantee that something else won’t go wrong in the near future.
It’s Noisy or Smelly
Even if your older HVAC system seems to be functioning properly, it may still give you signals that its lifespan is just about over. Loud, annoying sounds coming from your furnace or air conditioner can be an indication of a serious problem.
Also, older HVAC systems are less efficient at filtering dust and allergens as well as maintaining proper levels of humidity. If you start to notice unpleasant odors, your indoor air quality could be approaching unhealthy levels.
You Have Safety Concerns
The safety of you and your family is paramount, so if you’re worried about your HVAC unit, you should seriously consider replacing it. A service professional will inspect your system for leakage, check wiring, burners, and flues, as well as look for other potential hazards such as loose connections that could spark an electrical fire.
Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous reason for replacing a furnace. Any furnace that burns fuel, whether it’s propane, natural gas, or oil, can potentially leak deadly carbon monoxide into your home. This may be caused by a cracked heat exchanger, the venting system, or other damaged parts — and it’s more common with older systems.
We at Griffith Energy Services understand that a new HVAC system is a big investment. Give us a call at 888-474-3391 to schedule a thorough inspection. We will give you an honest evaluation of your system’s condition, along with all of the information you need to make this important decision.
Image provided by Shutterstock