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Should I Repair Or Replace My Furnace Or A/C?

hvac repair or replace massechusettsDeciding whether you should repair or replace one or both of your home comfort systems in your western Massachusetts home is never a fun question to answer – but it’s one that you will more than likely have to face at some point in your home-owning life.

Sometimes the choice is easy – especially if you have an older system that you know is starting to fail. But more often than not we end up in a gray area that requires careful consideration if we’re to make the smartest decision.

Questions to consider for your HVAC system:

Here are some questions to ask when it comes time to decide whether to repair or replace your home cooling system or heating system.

  1. How old is your equipment? Today’s heating and cooling systems can last 12-15 years or even longer if they’re properly maintained (see below), but that doesn’t mean they’ll be running at peak efficiency toward the end of that cycle. If you’re having problems with a system that’s more than 10 years old, more often than not replacing is the smarter choice; at less than that age, you will have a tougher decision (here’s a rule of thumb: if a repair costs more than 25 percent of the replacement cost, it’s generally worth the upgrade – especially if your equipment is older).
  2. How well has your current system been maintained? If you’ve maintained your heating or cooling system regularly since Day One, it’s a better bet to last longer with fewer costly problems (the main reason we talk so often about the importance of routine maintenance on this blog). However, no amount of maintenance will make your equipment more efficient than it was when you bought it – or more efficient than a new heating or cooling system.
  3. What space limitations do you have?  If you’re looking to replace your central air conditioner or furnace, will your current ductwork support the kind of system you’re thinking about? Do you have enough outdoor space to accommodate the larger compressor of a more substantial cooling system? Sometimes these limitations can dictate what’s possible without making significant changes to your home.
  4. Has your heating or cooling load changed? If you’ve added space to your house without changing your HVAC equipment, the next breakdown you have could be caused by pushing your furnace or A/C beyond its comfort zone to meet the demands of a new heating or cooling load – a problem that is likely to recur if you keep your old, undersized system in place.
  5. Is your current system safe? Safety is a particularly relevant consideration for a furnace, since it burns fuel to heat your home. A 10-year-old heating system carries a much higher risk of developing a problem than one that is newly installed. For example, older heat exchangers can crack or rust, causing carbon monoxide leaks in your home.
  6. What incentives are available? Sometimes, the repair/replace scales can tip in favor of the latter due to incentives from manufacturers, utilities, or the government. Here in Massachusetts, for example, Mass Save often offers significant rebates on heating and cooling equipment, thermostats and more. In fact, these incentives are being offered right now and could save you thousands on a new heating or cooling system – see this our furnace and boiler installation page for details.

Summing up

When you weight the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing older equipment with more efficient HVAC equipment, there are often significant advantages to replacing an older system. Is repair ever a viable option?

Yes, if:

  • Your system is less than 5 years old
  • You’re planning to move
  • You know that incentive options (a federal or state utility rebate program, for example) are planned but have not yet arrived
  • You simply can’t afford a new system

The bottom line: Heating and cooling systems are long-term investments whose components work together to ensure your comfort – and like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money.

When it comes time to make your choice, make it a smart one – call the pros at FSi Oil and Propane.

Not sure if you should repair or replace your furnace or A/C? We can help! Contact us today and we’ll walk through your options to help you find a solution that meets your needs and budget. And don’t forget to ask us how you can save up to $1,250 on heating and cooling installations in western MA, or get discounted or no-cost smart thermostat installation courtesy of Mass Save!

Please note: At FSi, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please see our Covid-19 Service Update Page to learn more about how we are working to keep your family and our crews safe, your home comfort systems working and your fuel deliveries coming when you need them most.