When Should You Replace Your HVAC and What Are the Costs?

Published: May 14, 2021

Your HVAC system is one of the most critical and expensive parts of your home. That’s because it does so much to make your home hospitable. 

For this reason, you’ll want to know the signs of an HVAC system in need of replacement so that you don’t have to experience a significant decline in your quality of life.

Maintenance on HVAC unit and costs

What's the difference between HVAC and AC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, while AC is just air conditioning. 

AC is used when talking about systems that cool the air in your home. Window units and central air are both commonly used. 

HVAC deals with heating and cooling, so in addition to air conditioning units, an HVAC system can also include heat pumps and gas furnaces. The term also encapsulated ventilation and ductwork. 

Since AC repair services deal with both heating and cooling, companies often use the terms interchangeably. 

Should I be regularly servicing my HVAC?

Routine HVAC maintenance and checks will keep your HVAC running safely and efficiently. 

You'll be able to stop problems when they're little things rather than allowing them to turn into big things. You'll also extend the lifespan of your HVAC. Without regular maintenance, a small problem might end up turning into a system ruining disaster. 

Regular check-ups can also prevent your HVAC from turning into a safety risk. Be on the lookout for:

  • Dangerous pilot light situations
  • Frayed or exposed wires and conduits
  • General visible damage

When should I replace my HVAC?

It Runs a Lot

You’ll notice that your HVAC runs more often when it gets older and needs a replacement. It will likely take longer to get to the temperature you have it set at because it has to work harder. 

Before you get a new installation, check if your HVAC has bad coils or a failing blower motor. If these components are okay, then your HVAC can’t produce and circulate your air as well as it did when new. 

If you repair these parts, but your HVAC still runs for too long, then you need to replace it.

It’s Loud

It’s normal for HVACs to get louder with age, but any of the following noises are a red flag.

  • Loud hums from the blower.
  • A noisier outdoor unit.
  • Groans and bangs from the furnace.
  • An AC that makes noises before starting.

These sounds don’t necessarily mean you need to replace your HVAC. You might just have a loose part or something that needs to be replaced. 

Other sounds may result from fans, motors, blowers, or other moving parts having issues that need to be resolved. But if your noises get louder or persist after any repairs, that’s a good sign you need a new HVAC.

It Needs A Lot of Repairs

HVAC systems have a lot of parts that can be repaired and replaced. But, eventually, you’ll have to simply get a brand new HVAC. 

Replacement is less costly than repair when it comes to compressors, motors, or coil fails because you have to add the parts’ cost with the cost of labor. 

It adds up!

A brand new HVAC system costs less than regular repairs (and the headaches that come with them). To save yourself the hassle, make sure to have regular HVAC maintenance if you don’t already.

It’s Over 10 Years Old

Even if regularly maintained, HVACs over 10-years-old will require repairs. They’ll also make your energy bills go up since they’ll be less efficient. 

Without repairs, a 10-year-old HVAC is thought of as outdated, inefficient, and in need of replacement. 

After ten years, your HVAC will be outdated irrespective of its shape because of all the technological advancements that preceded it. That’s especially true of HVACs that don’t have smart thermostats. 

HVAC replacement maintenance

It Makes Your Home Dusty

Your HVAC is what provides your home with ventilation. When it works right, your HVAC should improve your indoor air quality by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris, as well as keep your humidity low. 

Degraded air quality could be a sign that your HVAC is no longer capable of efficient ventilation.

It Makes Weird Smells 

Dust burning off might be the culprit behind your HVAC, making weird smells, but you should still turn it off immediately and have it inspected right away just to play it safe. 

Sometimes, the smell can be caused by wiring melting away or mold or mildew in the ducts.

What Are Additional Costs of HVAC Replacement?

Upgrading the Base

An HVAC’s outdoor unit usually sits on a base that you might want to replace when you get a new HVAC. This is especially the case if your new outdoor unit is larger or smaller than the previous one.


You’ll need to properly insulate your home for the HVAC to be maximally efficient. Consider getting energy-efficient windows and doors as well.

Electrical Work

You might need to upgrade some parts of your electrical system if you replace your HVAC:

  • Circuit breaker box
  • Breakers
  • Wiring
  • Service Panel

If your HVAC company isn’t licensed to do electrical work, hire an electrician.

Check Your Ducts

Your HVAC can’t live up to its full potential without suitable ducts. Ducts often deteriorate with old age, so a servicing might be in order. Let your HVAC company know before installation if you find holes, detachment, dirt, or debris buildup in your ducts. You should also have your ducts cleaned before your new HVAC is installed.

Can your HVAC affect your home’s resale value?

Informed home buyers are going to ask about your HVAC when making an offer. If your HVAC needs replacement, they might ask for a significant discount to offset the repair cost. 

A new HVAC system can help you get more for your home.

Bottom Line on Replacing Your HVAC

An HVAC system is essential because it keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summertime, and your air quality healthy year-round. Routine maintenance and inspections are vital to getting the most out of your HVAC and to catch problems before they turn into disasters. 

Finally, if you can afford it, replace your HVAC before selling your house so you can get the most value out of your sale.

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