Your HVAC system is a household asset that you might take for granted when it's working well. However, the second it conks out, your world turns upside down.
If it's only a minor issue, you might be able to get by with a replacement part and a few hours of technician service. Yet, there are other times when it's smarter, quicker and even cheaper to simply invest in a new HVAC system altogether.
Today, we're sharing 10 signs that it's time to give your old unit the boot and start fresh again.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started!
1. You Have the Repair Man on Speed Dial
At first, it seemed like a one-and-done deal. Your HVAC technician came out, made a few adjustments, and your malfunctioning system suddenly worked again....for a few days.
Now, it seems like you're calling for help all of the time. While it's true that most household systems will require tune-ups and tweaks every now and then, you shouldn't have to shell out hundreds of dollars on a regular basis.
There comes a point where you're spending more money to keep your outdated system alive than it would cost to buy a new one.
Of course, each homeowner will reach this point at a different time, but take a look at your recent repair bills. Most experts recommend replacing your HVAC system if your repair service costs more than half of the price of a new unit.
2. You Feel Hot or Cold Spots
Does one area of your home feel warmer than others? What about cooler?
This is a surefire sign that your HVAC unit isn't as effective as it could be. One that performs as required will heat and cool your entire house evenly.
Another reason why you might experience these hot or cold spots? If your unit is new, you might have purchased one that's too small for your property. Re-read your sales contract to see if you can exchange it for one that's a better fit.
If you're able to make the switch, speak with your installer and make sure the new unit has enough British Thermal Units (BTUs) to accommodate your square footage.
3. Your Unit Has Reached Double Digits
Turning 10 years old is a big deal! However, while it might be a milestone birthday, for some, it's often the end of the road for most HVAC units.
While modern systems are designed to last between 15 and 20 years, you'll likely begin to notice signs of wear and tear around the decade mark. If you haven't updated yours since the early 2000s, it might be time to start shopping for a new unit. This is especially the case if you're paying for constant maintenance and upkeep.
4. There's a Funny Smell
Put simply, you shouldn't be able to smell your HVAC unit. If you ever notice odors that seem smoky, musty or moldy, that's a major red flag and cause for concern.
Call your HVAC technician as soon as possible. The issue could be as small as a dirty air filter, or it could be as serious as mold growing in your drip pan or faulty parts that pose a fire concern.
Make it a rule to have your unit inspected twice a year, even if it's in great working condition. This can help your HVAC team stay on top of your system's performance and monitor it for any abnormalities.
5. There's Moisture in the Air
You should be able to walk into your home on a hot summer day and feel cool, not as sticky as you felt outdoors.
If your house stays humid, your HVAC unit might be to blame. It's supposed to absorb the warm air from your home, work to cool it, and send that cooler air back through your return vents. If it feels like a rainforest in your living room, there might be something obstructing this process.
The culprit can be anything from dirty air filters to a blocked condenser line. Some repairs are more expensive than others, so if it's the latter, a new system may be more economical.
6. The Wires Look Frayed
When it comes to replacing HVAC system parts, some are easy to switch out and upgrade. However, the wiring that connects your system is often a different story.
If you've noticed that the wires have become frayed, worn and dirty, you're at risk of a major electrical issue. Your technician can advise on the severity of the issue, but in most cases, it's smarter (and safer) to invest in a new system.
7. It Sounds Like a Drum Line
Just as your HVAC unit shouldn't smell funny when it cuts on, it shouldn't sound like a marching band, either.
If you're up-to-date on your maintenance visits and your system is working well, these noises shouldn't exist. However, failing to schedule preventative inspections can result in a variety of noises, including:
- Thumping or banging
- Screeching and squealing
A pro tip? None of these sounds are good! They could signal that dirt and debris are clogging your system. Or, you might be dealing with a faulty compressor or a motor that needs more lubrication.
Your repair technician should be able to address the source of the sound, but if your unit is nearing the end of its lifetime, go ahead and upgrade to a new HVAC system and enjoy the peace and quiet.
8. Your Utility Bill Looks Like a Phone Number
Looking at a long string of numbers on your utility bill and wondering who's been leaving all the lights on 24/7?
Before you blame the kids, go outside and check your HVAC unit.
It's true that more than half of your annual energy consumption will go toward heating and cooling your home. Still, that doesn't mean you have to go broke trying to keep comfortable.
Ask around and see what your neighbors are paying each month. If your bills are abnormally sky high and way above theirs, it's possible that your HVAC system is to blame. Older and outdated models simply aren't as effective as their newer counterparts and have to work much harder and longer to deliver the same outcome.
One way to see the exact reasons your bills are climbing? Hire a professional to conduct a home energy audit or research the steps to perform one yourself! From air leaks around window and doorframes to insufficient insulation, there can be myriad other issues at play in addition to your HVAC setup.
9. You're Dusting All the Time
Everyone loves the satisfaction that comes from wiping a dusty surface clean. Still, that doesn't mean you want to do it every day!
If your rooms stay covered in a thin layer of dust, it's time to give your HVAC system a closer look. Older models, or ones with clogged filters, won't be able to filter out as many particles of dust, debris, and dander.
Not only does this mean a longer chores list, but a dust buildup can also trigger major health problems in people who suffer from allergies. For a quick fix, try swapping out your existing air filters for HEPA ones designed to trap the most allergens possible.
Down the road, however, replacing your system might be the only way to find long-lasting relief.
10. You're Still Paying for R-22
Was your HVAC system manufactured prior to January 1, 2010? If so, it likely runs on R-22 refrigerant or Freon. For years, this was the go-to gas relied on to keep your homes cool. However, due to its ozone-depleting agents, it's no longer recommended.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended its Clean Air Act to require that newer models use a refrigerant that's more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. It's currently being phased out around the world, set to become illegal in the United States on January 1, 2020.
The New HVAC System Your Home Deserves
After reading this list, are you convinced that it's time to stop spinning your wheels on costly, continuous repairs and finally invest in a new HVAC system?
If so, you've come to the right spot.
We're a full-service HVAC shop serving the St. Louis area since 1965. We're proud to provide a range of commercial and residential HVAC products and services. Whether you need a new unit, repairs, or just a tuneup, we can do it all!
Looking for HVAC coupons to save on your next A/C unit or even furnace?
HVAC Maintenance Plan
Want two preventative maintenance visits per year AND VIP treatment on any repair service?