How To Recognize An Out-Of-Date HVAC System

Your HVAC system isn't a small part of your home. Replacing your furnace and air conditioning equipment can be costly, and you may need to spend even more if you discover issues with your ductwork or vents. Unfortunately, running an old or out-of-date HVAC system can also come with costs, which can often be even more burdensome than a replacement.

Of course, knowing when you should throw in the towel on your HVAC system is easier said than done. This guide will discuss what you might expect to find in an older system and the signs that may indicate your home is ready for a replacement.

What Makes Modern Systems Better?

Efficiency is often the name of the game when comparing older HVAC equipment to newer systems. Modern split-unit central air conditioning systems and forced-air furnaces are much more reliable and efficient, offering substantial improvements in running costs and long-term maintenance and repair expenses.

The two most common measures are  SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for air conditioners and AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) for furnaces. These values measure efficiency differently, but each provides an easy way to compare units. For air conditioners, modern units use a minimum of 13 or 14. On the other hand, modern furnaces will have a minimum AFUE of at least 80.

You should be able to find the ratings for your current system on plaques located on the air conditioning condenser and furnace cabinet. If your current equipment provides a much lower efficiency rating than current modern standards, you may want to consider an upgrade. Upgrading to a furnace or air conditioner that exceeds current standards can provide an even more substantial efficiency boost.

Is Efficiency the Only Reason to Upgrade?

Of course, manufacturers also produced higher-efficiency units in the past, so even an older system may meet current standards. However, efficiency isn't the only reason to upgrade. The equipment in a typical HVAC system may last between one and two decades or maybe a little longer with a good maintenance routine.

If you have a system approaching these age milestones, you may want to start planning for a replacement, even if your system's efficiency is still relatively good. As HVAC equipment ages, it will become more failure prone. You may spend more on repairs that will only prolong the system for a few years.

Unfortunately, once an air conditioning compressor fails or a furnace heat exchanger develops cracks, the most cost-effective option is typically a replacement. If you notice the cost of repairs on your system mounting, you may want to consider scheduling a replacement before these critical components fail. This strategy will allow you to schedule an upgrade on your terms without waiting for a major failure.

To learn more, reach out to local residential HVAC specialists.