Does Your Heater Need Repairing or Replacing?

Does Your Heater Need Repairing or Replacing?

When it comes to things like your home's central heating system, the decisions you make really count. That’s because your Austin heating system both has a great deal of an impact on your day-to-day life in the fall and winter and can end up costing you a good deal of money if the less prudent decision is made. Day in and day out, you’re going to be relying on this unit to give you heating in Austin in the cold months and keep you comfortable and happy in your own home, so having a heater that’s on the fritz or isn’t putting out enough heat is going to make a significant impact in your quality of life. And having a heater that isn’t working as efficiently as it could, or often needs repair, is going to have a significant impact on your wallet.

That’s why the decision to repair or replace your heater when it breaks down is such a big one. If you decide to repair when you should have replaced then you’re going to be wasting a lot of money in the future in more repairs on a machine that is also costing you money in energy bills due to its inability to continue to work at full efficiency. If you decide to replace when you could have just repaired then you’re dropping a lot of money now when you could have been fine with just working with the unit you’ve had. That’s why this tip is all about reasons to repair, reasons to replace, and how to know which your situation with your heater calls for.

Safety Concerns

This factor is going to be the first thing to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your heater. When the thing that’s causing your heater to breakdown also has an effect on potential health hazards associated with furnaces or heat pumps, the scales tip much further to the side of replace. If the problem presents a safety hazard, replacement is generally always called for. For example, if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, which is the metal wall between the burning fuel and the air it’s heating, poisonous carbon monoxide gas could work its way into the household air supply, something that could have serious effects on the health of yourself and the other members of the household.

Other problems, like faulty electronics and stuck valves, can be repaired, which means you’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis. But when it comes to safety, there are more important things than money. Replacement is your best option. Let the contractor who investigates the source of the breakdown tell you whether there’s a health hazard associated with the damage, whatever that may be.

Heater Age

The second factor that is going to play into your decision of whether to repair or replace is the age of your heater. That’s because age is the biggest factor that affects how efficient your heater will be and how often repairs are going to be needed in the future. Heaters, just like any other machine, have a lifespan. They accumulate wear and tear throughout the years and though it’s true that they’ll last longer the better you take care of them and the better they’re maintained, eventually they’ll succumb to the effects of time just like anything else and become less efficient with energy and more prone to breakdowns.

As far as average lifespans go, A 2007 study by the National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America found that furnaces for forced-air systems last an average of 15 to 20 years; boilers for hot-water radiators and baseboards last 13 to 21 years. And for heat pumps, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average lifespan of a heat pump is between 10 to 15 years. It's possible to get more life out of a unit but once you pass 15 years you are definitely on borrowed time.

That’s why when your heater next needs a visit from an Austin heater repair professional, you’ll want to check its age before making the decision of whether to repair or replace. How to do this will depend on your unit. Some technicians write the year the equipment was installed directly on the unit. Otherwise, when the machine is off and cool, look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of the chamber door. Write down the model and serial numbers from the plate, and then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to get the date of manufacture.

This year, and how close it is to the average lifespan of your type of heater, should go into consideration when you’re deciding to repair or replace your heater but there’s no hard and fast rule about. These average lifespans are just that, averages, meaning half of all furnaces will last longer than 17.5 years and half of all furnaces will last less than 17.5 years and the majority are going to stop working between 15 and 20.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The ultimate deciding factor that you’re probably going to encounter when considering whether to repair or replace your central heating system is going to be what the cost of repair is versus the cost of replacement, plus taking into account differences in efficiency between your current model and a potential new model.

This cost-benefit analysis isn’t going to provide a perfect answer every time. There’s definitely going to be a grey area and it will ultimately be up to your discretion. However, you could benefit from the following guideline. As a general guideline, consider a replacement if the equipment is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairs will cost more than a third of replacement, suggests Larry Howald of Broad Ripple Heating and Air Conditioning in Indianapolis. In other words, it’s probably not worth spending $700 to repair a 15-year-old furnace you could replace for $2,000.

Efficiency is the other big factor in the cost-benefit analysis of determining which decision is going to get you more bang for your buck, but the difference between an analysis of efficiency differences and an analysis of repairing costs is that efficiency is a long-term factor. So sure, you may be facing only a small repair cost right now, which might make replacement seem like an unnecessary cost, but you have to take into account that your 9 year old unit may be giving you energy efficiency levels so below what a new model can do that the amount you’ll spend in a few years in energy bills means a new unit would pay itself off.

Replacing or Heater Repair in Austin

No one likes to think about it, but chances are that someday you’re going to experience a heater malfunction. One day everything is going smoothly and then the next you’re suddenly way colder in the morning than usual. So you call a contractor that does AC and heater repair in Austin and you get an estimate on what the repair is going to cost you. That’s when you have to make a decision, to repair, or to replace. No one can make that decision for you, as it requires taking into consideration a number of factors such as potential health risks, the age of your heating unit, and how much all the costs involved in the decision are.

Regardless of which decision you make, you want to have a highly trained and professional technician on hand to give you the facts and a complete and accurate assessment of the situation. That’s why you should consider AC Express, an Austin heater repair company that has been reliably serving the people of Austin, from Buda and Kyle to Lago Vista and Lakeway, for many years. For excellent air conditioning and heating services in Austin, call today!