When to Repair or Replace an HVAC System

3 tips for determining if it’s time to fix or upgrade your HVAC system for saving money, energy, and improving air quality in your home.

This post is written by me on behalf of Trane Residential. All opinions are 100% mine. 

Old houses are fuuuuuuuun!

That has become our motto whenever something around here dies with age…

Our 1960s sewage line collapsed smack in the middle of lockdown in March (causing dirty water to pour all over our powder room… the horror).

Power went out in our living room thanks to some dated electrical right before Thanksgiving 2 years ago.

Our water heater went ka-put just as a gaggle of guests were about to arrive one weekend last summer leaving both showers without hot water.

And currently, our old HVAC system is hanging on by a teeeeeny tiny thread.

The adventures never end, right?! Haha! (You feel me on this?!)

In all seriousness, we really do love this classic colonial of ours, and she’s worth every bit of the headache. She’s just FIESTY.

family playing together with toys in living room

We’ve finally reached the point of the tricky decision: To repair or replace our HVAC system?

If you’ve ever faced the same dilemma, here are some points to consider.

Repair or Replace: Tips for Determining Whether or Not It’s Time to Fix or Upgrade Your HVAC System

1. Identify the problem.

If your HVAC isn’t working properly, get it evaluated by a professional for a diagnosis and estimated repair cost.

2. Follow the $5,000 rule.

For large investments, like your HVAC system, take the age of your equipment and multiply that by your estimated repair cost. If the number is more than $5,000, then it’s time for a replacement. If less, a repair will likely suffice.

Ex: A system that is 10 years old and has a repair cost of $250 = $2,500. It’s fine to repair it. A system that is 10 years old and has a repair cost of $700 = $7,000. It’s time to consider a replacement.

HVAC system in attic space

You can use Trane’s Repair or Replace tool for recommendations.

3. Be proactive.

Don’t wait until you’re freezing in your house in the middle of winter to make the important decision.

Keep in mind:

1. How old is your system?

Heat pumps and air conditioners can last 10-12 years. Furnaces typically last 15-20 years.

2. Are your energy bills high?

Older systems are often less efficient than the energy efficient models today. Replacing your old system with one that is more efficient can save money by lowering your energy bills.

Family reading on a bed with black painted walls and wood furniture

3. Are you ready to make the investment?

HVAC system aren’t cheap. However, you can usually take advantage of financing options to make that investment more manageable for your budget.

4. Does your current system still have a warranty?

Repair costs may be covered if your system still has a valid warranty. But check your policy; sometimes parts and labor aren’t covered.

family playing board game at dining room table with gallery wall of mirrors behind

You can get an honest recommendation and estimate from a local Trane Comfort Specialist for more help. (Trane has been recognized for six-consecutive years as America’s Most Trusted® HVAC System.)

If your HVAC system is still in great shape, you can help it work even more efficiently by changing your air filters every 30-90 days. Trane Comfort Performance Air Filters can help improve your indoor air quality, while protecting against common household allergens, like dust, mold, and pet dander, in your home.

We’re so ready to crank out this not-so-fun home upgrade while the weather is still mild and before the holidays roll around. Because OF COURSE, it’s Murphy’s Law that the HVAC will die on us right on Christmas Day. Ever been there?!

Got any old house woes stories to tell? I’m betting a bunch of y’all have them just like we do.

How do old houses know? Seriously!

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  1. What a nice post. I could not agree with you more. It never seen to fails in our home, that things seems to fall apart, one after another.
    Thank you so much for these helpful tips