Is It Time to Replace Your Heating and Air Conditioning Unit?
If you’ve had your heating and ac units for more than 10 years, then it is almost guaranteed to be an R-22 based unit, which means that it’s not particularly environmentally friendly, and that it would probably be a good idea to replace it.
Modern furnaces and air conditioning units are designed to be quiet, low maintenance and highly energy efficient. They are much more reliable than older Freon units, and they are designed to run on the latest refrigerants that are highly efficient in terms of heat exchange. This means that the units cost less to run, and will pay for themselves over time. In addition, it means that should the unit ever spring a leak you don’t have to worry about the gas that is being released damaging the environment, because it has a much lower Global Warming Potential (GWP). This means that you can rest easy knowing that you have done your bit for the environment.
Recharging HVAC Units
Recharging newer units is cheaper, and generally easier, so you’ll save money there, should the unit leak. This is another area where the benefits are clear. Really, newer units shouldn’t need recharged. A unit that is in good condition should not be leaking in the first place. Older units leak because seals and pipes will eventually erode and sometimes even get damaged. HVAC technicians are not allowed to refill an older unit that has a CFC or HCFC based refrigerant without first diagnosing and fixing the leak – because to do so would be to knowingly release environment-damaging gases into the atmosphere.
I’ve reached out to Alex, a friend who owns an HVAC business and according to him, “Fixing leaks on old units is like playing whack-a-mole. You’re going to end up fixing one just to have another crop up later.” He also added that even if you do fix the leak, replacement refrigerant costs many times more for one of those older units than it does for a newer unit that uses one of the drop-in replacements or that uses one of the newer refrigerant options. Alex has years of experience in the space and I always follow his advice. You can learn more about his company at airductcare.com or learn about his point of view on AC repair at airductcare.com/va-services/heating-and-cooling/ac-repair which Alex refined back in July to make sure it’s up to date and relevant.
A Long Term Investment
Replacing your HVAC unit with a modern, energy-efficient one may seem like an expensive purchase, but you’ll find that over the lifetime of the unit it works out far cheaper to just have a new, working and safe unit than it does to keep trying to coax more life out of a unit that is starting to break down and that uses parts and gases that have been phased out.
There are some scenarios where coaxing life out of an older device makes sense. You might want to keep a classic car on the road for sentimental value. There’s a huge difference between a car (that looks great, might be fun to drive, and that actually has some collectible value), and an air con unit that you can’t even see, really, and that probably doesn’t even do as good of a job as a more modern unit.
Here in Virginia, summer doesn’t last forever and the need to cool you home turns into a need to heat it, which is a job of a furnace. It is important to be prepared and have someone inspect the heating system. If the unit decided to break down, then I highly recommend reading about furnace repair on Alex’s website. I’ve personally called him twice last Winter.
Invest in your property now, and you’ll save money and stress in the future, and get to enjoy a unit that keeps your temperatures exactly as you want them.