Is It Time for a New Heating and Cooling System?

by J on May 29, 2010

We often take it for granted until something goes wrong, but one of the systems we depend upon the most in our homes for year-round comfort is our heating and cooling system. During the cold months of the year, it keeps our homes warm and toasty, and during the hot months, it provides us a respite from the heat and humidity. Homeowners dread the thought of having to replace these systems; the following questions should help you determine if your heating and cooling system is ready for retirement.

  1. How old is your system? If your system is more than 10 years old, it is wise to have a trusted professional check its overall functionality. The newer systems are often much more energy efficient and may cut your energy costs by up to 40%.
  2. What is the efficiency level of your current indoor system? Unfortunately only replacing parts of your old system will not improve the efficiency. Consider the long-term costs. By just replacing certain parts of your heating or cooling system, you may actually end up paying more in the long run due to higher electrical costs.
  3. What is the overall condition of your system? If it is in solid condition, it could be wiser to simply repair it. Part of this depends upon how well you have maintained your system. If you have had regular service checks on your unit and diligently changed the filters, your system will be healthier than those that aren’t maintained. However, if your system has frequent breakdowns, and the repair person no longer needs to ask for directions to your house, then it is time to replace your system.
  4. How often is your system operating? If your system is used extensively, it may be time to replace it.
  5. What type of climate do you live in? Systems that work in extreme weather conditions usually just do not last as long as systems that work in more temperate climates. A heating service technician may be able to give you an idea on the average life span of units in your area.
  6. Are you planning on moving soon? If a move is in your future in the next year ot two, and you think that investing in a new heating and cooling system will increase the value of your home, you should consider making the purchase. Likewise, if you plan on living in your home for many more years, than it is probably a wise move to replace the system for your own comfort.

The overall life expectancy for a heating and cooling unit is 12 years or less, depending upon the weather conditions and maintenance. As it gets older, your unit gets less efficient. Overall, if your have questions or concerns, check with one of your local heating contractors for a professional evaluation before that next big snowstorm or heat wave hits.

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