Heating and Cooling: When Is the Best Time to Replace?

how do you know when the best time to replace an HVAC system is? Learn More.

The avatar of Rachel Polant

Rachel Polant

Sep 10

If your heating and cooling system is getting a little long in the tooth, it’s probably occurred to you that replacement is on the horizon. But, how do you know when the best time to replace an HVAC system is? Well, the obvious answer is when it breaks, but it’s more complicated than that.

We all know plenty of homeowners who have somehow squeezed out decades past their heating and cooling system’s prime. So, there is some wiggle room when it comes to the lifespan of your unit. However, it’s important to know when you can get more life with some repairs and when it’s time to throw in the towel and install a new system.

Here are the red flags that it’s time to replace your heating and cooling system

It’s time to call in an heating and cooling professional if one or more of these is true:

  • Your air conditioning system is more than 10 years old

Replace your old unit with one that is Energy Star certified. Energy Star systems are highly efficient, saving you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

  •  Your heating system is more than 15 years old

As mentioned above, an Energy Star certified heating system is 15 percent more efficient than your older system. And, if you have a boiler, expect a 5 percent more efficient system than what you had before.

  • Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold

This could be caused by a few different issues, such as the general failure of the system, inadequate insulation, or problems with the ductwork. If you notice uneven heating and cooling in rooms that had maintained a comfortable temperature in the past, there is most likely a problem somewhere that needs to be addressed.

  • Repairs on your HVAC system are becoming frequent. And, your energy bills are rising

Your heating and cooling system’s parts and mechanics are running down, making it inefficient due to age, and causing it to work harder to heat or cool your home, which, in turn, makes your utility bills more costly and repairs common.

  • Your HVAC system starts making unusual noises

Strange and loud noises could be caused by a number of things. Your ignitor could be faulty, your ductwork could be too small for the system, a belt could be on the verge of snapping, or an indoor coil of your cooling equipment could be failing.

  • Humidity problems become an issue

If your home is still sticky and muggy in the summer despite running the AC, or you can light up a room with static electricity in the winter, your system might be the wrong size to maintain appropriate moisture levels within your home and needs to be replaced.

How to make your current heating and cooling system last as long as possible

First, proper initial installation is a priority. If your HVAC system wasn’t installed correctly, it won’t matter how expensive or how many features it has. Its failure will come sooner than later. A top-rated, skilled heating and cooling contractor is worth the extra money.

Second, proper, regular maintenance is a must. Not only will forgoing scheduled maintenance void the warranty, it will diminish the life expectancy of your system.

Lastly, change the filters frequently. Refer to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s suggestions, but every three to six months is average. This is dependent on a few factors, however. If you have animals, have people who smoke in the home, or suffer from allergies, then changing the filter more frequently is best.

Doing so not only cuts down on allergens and pathogens, improving the air quality of your home, it also cuts down on dust from accumulating and prevents your system from working harder than necessary.