Furnace / Heat Pump / Boiler
These are the most costly systems to replace, so naturally you want to get as many years of use out of this equipment as you possibly can. The best way to do this is to make sure you have your system professionally serviced at least once a year. Many heating and cooling contractors offer service agreements that assure routine inspection and cleaning at a minimum. Prices usually are a real bargain considering that a new home heating, ventilating and cooling (HVAC) system will cost many thousands of dollars.
Many repairs can be made on HVAC systems to keep them running for decades. Yet, when a boiler section cracks, there is little that can be done except replace the entire unit. Likewise, central air conditioners and heat pumps have two major components: the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condensing unit (compressor), that cannot readily be fixed when they fail.
When one needs to be replaced, it is best to replace the other with a compatible unit. Unmatched evaporator coils and condensers usually will operate together for a time, but with a steep penalty in performance, energy usage and premature system failure. So, although it entails higher initial cost, replacing both components at once is the smart thing to do in the long run.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that about half the time, people opt for the cheaper but shortsighted single unit replacement.
While HVAC systems ought to last for decades, it’s not necessarily a bargain to keep them running that long. Tremendous strides have been made in energy efficiency in recent years, leading to quick cost paybacks from lower energy bills.
“If your furnace is over 15 years of age, it’s probably time to boot it out the door… If your furnace’s efficiency comes in somewhere in between 50-75%, you ought to begin investigating rebate offers for buying a high-efficiency new furnace.”