Should I Repair or Replace My Heating System?

The last thing a person needs on a frigid New England winter day is to wake up and turn up their thermostat only to find that nothing happens and the house is still as cold as ice. There’s no comforting noises that indicate the system is starting up and even worse is the fact that no warm air is coming out of the radiators or vents. Eventually, every homeowner encounters this dilemma and are faced with a decision. Do they call a heating repair specialist or have them replace the unit altogether with a newer, more energy-efficient system?

Hopefully, it’s a simple problem that Karpouzis Commercial Refrigeration can resolve, such as replacing a clogged, dirty filter or a tripped circuit breaker. In other words, hopefully it’s an issue that is easy and inexpensive to correct. But when repairs become too costly and frequent, it’s more cost-effective to invest in a brand new heating unit than to continue repairing your existing system. If sinking money into an older, failing unit is no longer an option for you, here’s how you can easily decide whether you should repair it or replace it altogether.

First and foremost, think about safety – replacement is usually a no-brainer when your system is no longer operating cost-effectively and safely. For instance, if the heat exchanger has a crack in it, poisonous carbon monoxide will escape into your indoor environment and pose a serious health threat to you and your family. If it’s another problem such as faulty electronics or a valve that gets stuck, you should consider contacting a heating repair service provider to help you calculate a cost-benefits analysis.

Compare the cost of repairs vs. replacement – you’re going to need more data in order to make a well-informed decision between heating repair service and replacing your existing unit. Your KCR, Inc. service technician can provide you with specific information regarding this issue. The general rule of thumb is that you should consider replacing the unit when:

  • it has exceeded 75% of its estimated lifespan
  • repairs cost more than 1/3 of the replacement cost

For instance, if a new unit costs $2,000 and repairs to your existing unit will cost $800, replacement is the better option.

Consider the AFUE factor and heating system efficiency – most individuals are concerned about carbon footprints and higher fuel costs. However, your heating units efficiency rating should also be taken into consideration when considering heating repair service versus replacement. The AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the amount of fuel converted to heat instead of what gets lost through system inefficiencies or up the chimney. It’s a good idea to do the math on this and calculate the AFUE to determine if replacement is the better option.

Take the average lifespan into consideration – in a 2007 study conducted by Bank of America and the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), statistics revealed that forced air system furnaces had a 15 to 20-year lifespan. Furthermore, the study showed that hot water baseboards and radiators lasted anywhere from 13 to 21 years. Start by determining how old your system is and look for the date that the installation technician wrote on the unit when it was installed brand new. There may also be a metal ID plate or tag mounted on the inside of the heating chamber door with the date listed on it.

As the preferred heating repair service provider in the Metrowest region, Karpouzis Commercial Refrigeration has been the go-to company for commercial and residential HVAC system design, installation, maintenance, and repair since 1973. If your home is equipped with separate cooling and heating systems, we can customize a preventative maintenance and service schedule that is tailored to the needs of your home and the people living in it.

Our company can calibrate and maintain your system so that it exceeds or, at the very least, meets all manufacturer’s recommendations and standards. Not only will this maximize your system’s efficiency level, it will ensure that your HVAC system (both air conditioning and heating) are serviced prior to the onset of each season. For more information regarding our heating repair services as well as our preventative maintenance plans and 24/7 emergency services, please contact KCR, Inc. today.