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When to repair or replace HVAC

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If your air-conditioner has been under-performing all summer, yet still keeping the house reasonably cool, is it worth it now to fix or replace it? Or should you wait until next summer to decide?

Experts agree that repairing or replacing equipment in the off season usually nets a savings. Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin, advises customers to get an estimate for repairs, and compare it to the cost of a new system. If the repairs will cost more than one-third of a new unit, buying a new energy efficient system makes sense. Factoring in age is important, as the average central air conditioner lasts about 15 years.

Adding to the equation is whether your furnace is operational. If both your air condition and furnace are in questionable shape, replacing both between seasons would offer multiplied savings in the long-term. The same reasoning that goes into whether replacing a malfunctioning car, or paying for one more car repair bill, also applies to your HVAC system.

The top consideration is safety. For your furnace, if the heat exchanger is cracked, it may leak toxic carbon monoxide gas, so replacement is highly recommended. Other minor repairs may safely fix up an older system, which can provide a few more years of service.

According to Eppers, “Heating and air-conditioning systems are the biggest users of energy in the home – up to 75 percent of the utility bill. A new high efficiency furnace can save up to 50 percent in operating costs over a 10-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have efficiencies of 65 percent or less. The minimum efficiency furnace that can be sold in the U.S. today is 78 percent. Furnaces are available that are up to 94 percent efficient.”

Dowe & Wagner : 11215 Commercial Street, Richmond, IL 60071 : 815.678.3000 : http://doweandwagner.com/

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