Bel Red Energy Blog
Repair or Replace - Is It Time For A New Furnace, AC or Heat Pump?
While the economy is showing signs of slowly recovering, and home values and unemployment in the Puget Sound area beginning to improve, making the investment in a new comfort system is still a significant expense, and may people ask us if they can repair their comfort system instead of replacing it. While repairs can make sense (and we can fix most anything) it doesn't mean we always should. Here are a few things to consider if you are unsure of whether to repair or replace your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump:
- The repairs you need to make today may be just the tip of the iceberg. The effective life of a furnace, AC or heat pump is around 15 years. Significant repairs are not unusual after 10 years, and by 15 years, you can expect significant (and potentially expensive) failures to mound-up. This is especially true if maintenance was not completed regularly.
- A new comfort system comes with a new manufacturer's parts warranty, and Bel Red Energy Solutions even includes a 5-year labor warranty with every heating and cooling system we sell. Aside from filters and maintenance, there are no out of pocket costs for the first five years with your new system from Bel Red!
- Most heating and cooling systems were oversized by the builder or original installer (studies have found as many as 75% of systems are oversized). This was done to reduce short-term call-backs, but can lead to increased failures in the long-run (cracked heat exchangers, failed compressors, failed limit switches, failed blower motors, etc.).
- You may be paying for a new system already through higher energy bills! Furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured even a few years ago can be up to 30% less efficient than new comfort systems. Most new systems can pay for themselves with the energy you will save. As part of our no-obligation consultation, we can provide you with computer models to show you how much you can save with a new Furnace, AC or Heat Pump.
- No-Interest, or Low-Interest financing can make a new furnace, AC or heat pump system affordable for most any budget.
- Money isn't the only cost to consider. If you have rooms that are too hot or too cold, these problems can often be corrected with the installation of the right equipment, properly sized and professionally installed.
Finally, you must now also think about new Regional Efficiency Standards being imposed by the Department of Energy (DOE). In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Security and Independence Act (the “2007 Energy Bill”). This bill allowed the DOE to develop regional standards for heating and cooling equipment. In northern states (including Washington), high-efficiency furnaces are required after May 1, 2013. This means that, if you repair your old furnace now, you may be required to install a more expensive, high efficiency furnace when you do finally have to replace your existing one. (New efficiency standards for Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps will take effect January 1, 2015.)
Bel Red offers a variety of high-efficiency furnaces, and we encourage them for most of our customers. They can substantially reduce heating bills, and with features like modulating gas valves and variable speed blowers, they can greatly improve comfort. But they are not right for everyone. Not only can these furnaces be over $1,000 more than standard efficiency furnaces, they also require specialized venting, as well as drains for condensation. There are some homes where they just can't be installed without significant renovation work. Installation of these furnaces can also necessitate changes to shared venting for water heaters, and may even mean replacing your water heater if venting can't be re-sized without renovation work.
if you are unsure of whether to repair or replace your existing comfort system, we encourage you to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Talk to the service technician, and get their opinion about today's repairs, and potential future repairs. Have a no-obligation consultation to see what your replacement options are, check out our repair vs. replace calculator. Whatever you decide, an informed choice will be the right choice!