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Deciding Whether to Repair Or Replace Your HVAC Units in the Tennessee Valley

Deciding Whether to Repair Or Replace Your HVAC Units in the Tennessee Valley

Air conditioning and heating units, like all appliances and automobiles, will eventually wear out and need to be serviced or replaced. Keeping your unit maintained will, of course, delay the need for having to replace your system, but the time will come when new technology can increase your HVAC system’s overall efficiency and decrease its noise level, all while keeping your family more comfortable year around.

At Garrison and Garrison, we often relate the repair process for residential air conditioning systems to the repair of automobiles. After our customers tell us what is going on with their system, one of our skilled technicians determines what is needed to get the system back up and running. Once his diagnosis is complete, he will go over his findings and present the customer with repair options.

As you consider your options for system repair, several different things should be considered:

  • Is your unit older than 10-12 years old?
  • Has it had several repairs over the last few years?
  • What type of overall condition is it in?
  • How likely is another costly repair in the not too distant future?
  • How much of the replacement cost will this repair be?
  • What utility savings will you realize with a new higher efficiency unit?
  • What piece of mind will you get from a new unit with a new warranty?

As an example, if your 1993 Chevy, with 240,000 miles, needed a $1,200 transmission replacement what would you do? You would probably trade it in knowing the lack of repairs and improved fuel mileage would practically pay for it over the next 5 years. Of course, there are always more personal reasons people keep older cars, but the point is, that when it comes to repairing vs. replacement of an automobile or an HVAC system, at some point, replacing outweighs the cost to repair.

Let’s consider two factors that might greatly influence the decision to repair or replace your system.

1. Energy Efficiency

Sometimes replacement should be considered based partially or solely on system efficiency. This discussion could be based on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), and/or Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF). In North Alabama, we tend to use our A/C systems more than people do in most other parts of the country. With the extreme humidity and the high heat your annual utility savings per SEER rating are even greater than the national average. Using a 3 Ton Heat Pump as our example, we will show you the expected utility cost for the different SEER ratings. This is based off our local $0.11 kilowatt rate, 2200 cooling hours, and 800 heating hours. These numbers also assume proper duct work.

  • 8 SEER Cooling $1,089 Heating $497 Total $1586/yr
  • 10 SEER Cooling $871 Heating $426 Total $1297/ yr
  • 13 SEER Cooling $670 Heating $398 Total $1068/ yr
  • 14 SEER Cooling $622 Heating $372 Total $994/ yr
  • 15 SEER Cooling $581 Heating $351 Total $932/ yr
  • 16 SEER Cooling $545 Heating $331 Total $876/ yr
  • 17 SEER Cooling $512 Heating $331 Total $843/ yr
  • 19 SEER Cooling $459 Heating $298 Total $757/ yr

If you would take the annual utility cost of your current system and subtract the annual utility cost of your replacement unit, you will see your annual savings. Take that number and multiply by 12 years average lifetime to see lifetime utility cost savings. For example, $1586 (8SEER) minus $876 (16SEER) equals $710 (annual savings) multiplied by 12 years equals $8,520 utility cost savings over the life of your new system. The savings, when compared to the cost of a new system, can often times equal a FREE system.

2. Comfort

Comfort is obviously very important to us. After a long day at work, the last thing any of us want is to come home to an uncomfortably hot or humid home. A lack of comfort normally falls into either high humidity in the home or poor airflow, sometimes it is both. Sometimes upgrading to a newer unit with a variable speed air handler is all that is needed to correct a humidity issue your home. The variable speed blower motor will not only improve the electrical efficiency of your unit but, by lowering the humidity level in your home you may find that your comfort level will be a couple of degrees warmer than it is with your old non-variable speed blower motor.

When homes are being built the A/C system is often times not properly sized for the house. It is not uncommon to find homes that have undersized systems in them. If the unit is too small it will not have the cooling capacity to properly cool your home in the heat of the summer and if the air handler is too small it will not move enough cool air to properly cool your home. Simply put, undersized A/C systems cannot flow enough cool air to keep up with your summertime needs.

Taking efficiency and comfort into mind, is it best to repair or replace your HVAC system? As always, we are here to help you make these decisions based on what is best for your home or business.

Contact Garrison and Garrison

Garrison and Garrison is the Tennessee Valley’s number one dealer for High-Efficiency Comfort Systems. Our professional staff can answer any questions you might have, and make recommendations as to which system will work better for your individual situation. For more information on our comfort systems, click visit:

You may also call us at 850-897-6540 or email us at [email protected].