The best way to determine when it’s time to replace your furnace or air conditioner is your own experience with it on a daily basis. Is your furnace running twice as long as normal to heat your home? Does your air conditioner make a loud noise it didn’t used to make? Is your utility bill higher than normal even though you didn’t change your heating or cooling schedule?
Your own observations are often invaluable when it comes to discovering a problem with your HVAC system. Trust your instincts and call a local DMV-area HVAC expert like Vito Services if you think there’s a problem.
Although cars and HVAC units serve very different functions, there are some important similarities. They both require maintenance. Having an inefficient car or air conditioner can cost you a lot of extra money. And they can both get to an age where frequent repairs cost more than replacement.
Furnaces tend to last a little longer at 15 to 30 years than air conditioners, which usually run for about 15 to 20 years. The only downside of the longer furnace lifespan is you might miss out on some of the incredible efficiency improvements of newer furnaces.
Back in 1990, new furnaces averaged about 60 percent efficiency, meaning about 40 percent of your heating bill is going out the exhaust instead of actually heating your home. Modern furnaces are often around 97 percent efficiency.
You might save money on replacement costs by keeping an old furnace for another five or 10 years, but you may end up spending more money on gas than you really need to be spending.
It’s not illegal to have an air conditioner that still utilizes the old R-22 Freon, but it is illegal for manufacturers to make it in the United States as of 2020. Companies stopped manufacturing R-22 ACs and heat pumps in 2010, so if you do have an R-22 HVAC unit it’s likely at least 10 years old.
That doesn’t mean you have to replace your air conditioner right away, but you should keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to get a Freon refill if your system needs it. These older are conditioners may still work fine, especially if they’ve been properly maintained, but they’re generally not as efficient as a more modern air conditioner.
If you end up replacing your furnace anyways, it may not be a bad time to also replace your outdated air conditioner.
Homeowners have several options for HVAC replacement. Heat pumps allow you to both heat and cool with the same unit, but they may not be as efficient as some dedicated heating or cooling units.
You can purchase a separate system or mix and match and furnaces and air conditioners, but you might miss out on efficiencies by doing so. “Matched” HVAC systems include both a heating and cooling component in separate units to provide increased performance and efficiencies.
Many modern matched systems have compatible components that are designed to work together (wiring, coils, blowers, etc.). Installing a new condensing unit with an old furnace may result in incompatibilities or reduce the efficiency of your new air conditioner.
Some of these matched systems also come with specific warranty requirements to use the matched air handler or furnace with the new air conditioner. If you are going to invest in a new air conditioner or furnace, it’s always best to maintain your warranty protection for as long as possible.
Total installation costs for a matched system are also likely to be lower if you get your whole HVAC system replaced at the same time. Repeat installation visits may result in more fees overall than you’d pay getting a new furnace and air conditioner during the same job.
At Vito Services we’re committed to helping Washington D.C. area families stay comfortable at home with the best possible HVAC solutions. In addition to repairing and performing maintenance on all types of boilers, heat pumps, furnaces and ACs, we also provide an array of indoor air quality services.
Allergy season is right around the corner. If you want to make sure everyone in your household has clean air to breath, now may be the best time to consider a HEPA filter system or germicidal UVC light installation.
If you’d like to learn more about our services or just need an estimate on furnace or air conditioner replacement, please give us a call at 800-438-8486.