Heat Repair or Replacement – Which Do I Need?
Heat Pump or Dual Fuel System
When determining if your heat pump or dual fuel system can be repaired or needs to be replaced, there are many factors to consider before you jump to replacing the entire HVAC system or opting to settle with a repair. A dual fuel system is a heat pump and furnace combo with a ambient temperature switch that triggers the heat pump versus furnace depending on how cold it is outside.
Consider: Is the unit leaking freon?
The refrigerant or freon system in a heat pump is held in the copper lineset from your condenser to your blower section. Package unit heat pumps have an internally held freon system. However, split systems have a copper lineset from the condenser outside of the house, to the blower section inside of the house. Either indoor or outdoor coils could be leaking – the evaporator coil or the condensing coil. Even the refrigerant lineset itself connecting the coils can leak. Leak stop is a great way to seal small or micro leaks in the coils or copper. A leak stop injection is generally around $150 and up, depending on the tonnage of the unit. However, there’s a point when the leak is too large and the sealant won’t work. If you’ve tried leak stop before, chances are leak stop will not work for your leak – or the last injection of leak stop would have already fixed it. This means its time to invest in a new working system.
Consider: How much will the freon cost per pound [LB], and how many pounds are needed to complete the repair?
New condensers are still coming pre-charged with Puron R410A even though the EPA has already begun phasing-out R410A. To determine if a R22 or R410A freon repair is worth it, you will need to know how many pounds and how much per LB it is to fix the existing system. Comparing the cost of recharging an existing freon system to the savings of a new HVAC unit that comes pre-charged is vital to know if repair is worth it. If you are paying more than a couple hundred dollars for freon, you might want to invest that money in a new unit that comes with a freon charge built into the price.
Consider: Has a major component like the compressor, coils, or ECM motor gone out?
High cost repair might mean its time to invest in new equipment. If your heat pump is more than 10-15 years old, you will want to look into purchasing a new system, as that is more than the average lifespan of most heat pumps, and repair will probably not be worth it. Older units are more likely to use the R-22 refrigerant, which causes environmental damage, and is a more expensive freon to buy. If your unit is using R-22, you will definitely want to get rid of your old system and consider purchasing a new AC system to get the Inflation Reduction Act tax credits while they are still going on! If your HVAC unit is no longer under warranty and the whole system is more than eight to 10 years old, it might be worth it to replace the whole system.
Consider: Is your unit less than ten years old?
You might have a manufacturer’s warranty still active if the unit is less than 10 years old. The current industry trend among manufacturers is to provide longer parts warranty coverage. The warranty period has grown significantly over the last decade from 3-5 years in the 90’s and 2000’s to the 10+ year warranties generally provided today. The equipment isn’t significantly more reliable now – if anything, HVAC equipment is often made more cheaply now, so the likelihood that you may need to rely on your warranty has increased over time.
Most new heat pumps come with limited warranties that cover parts such as compressors. These warranties usually don’t cover labor, and they may only apply if there’s a manufacturing defect in the part that fails. After coverage lapses, you’ll need to pay the full cost of replacement if your AC compressor wears out. Unless you have a home warranty that could cover it.
To know if you still have an active manufacturer’s warranty, you will need to know the manufacture of the unit. Find and take a clear picture of the model number and serial number of the unit. Then, go on the manufacture’s website to lookup your warranty there using the model and serial numbers. If you cannot find the nomenclature or the registration on the website, try to give the manufacturer of the HVAC unit a call. Go to our Installations Page for the links to many common HVAC/R manufactures. Or, having trouble? Book an Appointment for us to come out and find this info for you.
Consider: Do I have a home warranty?
A home warranty, on the other hand, typically applies to multiple home systems and appliances and covers all wear-and-tear damage, no matter how old your heat pump is. You’ll pay a monthly premium and a service fee for a contractor to diagnose and replace the part, and the home warranty company will cover the rest of the cost, and even replace the unit if the unit cannot be repaired. These warranties do have limits—for heat pumps, you’ll often need to show that you performed proper maintenance in order for repairs or replacements to be covered. However, for older but still functional AC units, this is your best bet for warranty coverage.
We recommend First American Home Warranty because we find that they are the most honest and trustworthy home warranty company today. From our experience, they offer the best service, they are the easiest to deal with, and they cover the most. We find they honor their word instead of trying to back out of responsibility like most other home warranties. View Consumer Advocate Reviews. View Trustpilot Reviews. View Consumer Affairs Reviews.
Combustion Furnace Heating Systems
A furnace is a heating system that generates heat by burning a combustible material in order to warm a building or space. It is typically powered by 120V electricity source for the indoor blower motor, however the heat is derived from burning natural gas, oil, or propane. Furnaces are commonly found in residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities. They work by drawing in cool air, heating it using a heat exchanger, and then distributing the warm air throughout the space using a system of ducts and vents. Furnaces are known for their efficiency, reliability, and ability to provide consistent heat during colder months.
Oil, propane, and natural gas furnaces are all types of furnaces. Here are the differences between these three types of furnaces:
- Fuel Source:
- Oil Furnace: An oil furnace uses heating oil as its fuel source. The oil is stored in a tank on the property and delivered by a supplier when needed.
- Propane Furnace: A propane furnace uses propane gas as its fuel source. Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and is typically stored in a tank on the property.
- Natural Gas Furnace: A natural gas furnace uses natural gas as its fuel source. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is supplied through a pipeline from a utility company.
- Oil Furnace: Heating oil is widely available, but its availability may vary depending on the region. It requires regular deliveries to maintain fuel supply.
- Propane Furnace: Propane is widely available and can be stored in a tank on the property. It may require periodic refills.
- Natural Gas Furnace: Natural gas is widely available in areas with access to a natural gas pipeline. Homes in rural areas may not have access to natural gas.
- Oil Furnace: Oil furnaces have moderate to high efficiency, with newer models being more efficient. Regular maintenance is important to ensure optimal efficiency.
- Propane Furnace: Propane furnaces have high efficiency and can provide reliable heating. Regular maintenance is essential for optimal performance.
- Natural Gas Furnace: Natural gas furnaces are known for their high efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They are often more efficient than oil or propane furnaces.
- Oil Furnace: The cost of heating oil can vary depending on market prices. Oil furnaces generally have higher upfront costs for installation and maintenance.
- Propane Furnace: The cost of propane can also vary depending on market prices. Propane furnaces have moderate upfront costs and may require periodic refills.
- Natural Gas Furnace: Natural gas is often the most cost-effective fuel option. Natural gas furnaces have lower upfront costs compared to oil or propane furnaces.
- Environmental Impact:
- Oil Furnace: Oil furnaces emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases during combustion. They require regular maintenance to ensure clean and efficient operation.
- Propane Furnace: Propane furnaces produce fewer emissions compared to oil furnaces. Propane is considered a cleaner-burning fuel.
- Natural Gas Furnace: Natural gas is a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel compared to oil or propane. It produces fewer emissions and contributes less to air pollution.
It’s important to consider factors such as availability, efficiency, cost, and environmental impact when choosing between oil, propane, or natural gas furnaces. The best choice will depend on your specific needs, location, and local regulations.