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Should I get a new HVAC system?

I have a house in which the furnace (ruud) is 21 years old and AC condensor (heil) is 20 years old. AC seems to works fine (but may be undersized) and the furnace works as well (but is noisy). Though I don't plan on being here more than 5 years, I'm thinking about replacing both units to stave off future problems and to save money on my utility bills.

Do you think this is a good idea? Or is it possible I can get 7 more years from them? I'm looking to replace them with cheaper units like Goodman. The worst thing would be paying to replace units that work with new ones that don't, so I hope a cheaper set can last awhile.

Re: Should I get a new HVAC system?

Well if the current HVAC is 20+ years old it's really not efficient equipment and to say how much longer it will last .... one day,one week , one month , one year longer you don't know.

They are getting long in the tooth and running on borrowed time.

I have to agree with your thoughts of replacing them with more efficient ones .... but also ........ while you may be only there for another 5 years there will a better chance of no breakdowns when you need them the most.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Re: Should I get a new HVAC system?

I agree with canuk---there have been major changes in the design and engineering of furnaces in the past decade in response to spiriling gas and oil costs.

I assume when you say "furnace" you are referring to a forced-hot air system which includes AC.

Oil fired or gas-fired??

The more recent innovations called condensing and variable output furnaces, especially the gas-fired ones can burn almost the entire quantity of fuel that is input into them---95-96% efficiency.

This is a FAR CRY from previous decades when the best that could be hoped for would be 70% or 80% efficiency---the rest is blasted up the chimney as wasted heat.

Check out the Energy Star list below to review the best performing furnaces---the ones with an AFUE (heating efficiency) of above 90% are the ones to consider.

You can take the model number of any of the furnaces on the "energy star" list & run it thru the search box on the "furnace compare" site to get info on quality & performance---you can also Google the furnace model # to get a price range you can expect to pay for each unit.

Don't ignore added insulation and upgraded or new windows---if you need any of these things NOW is the time to have them installed.

If you have little or no insulation in the exterior walls or attic, you can consult the Yellow Pages under "Insulation" to find someone who will blow in cellulose insulation within a day or two for a few hundred dollars.

Tighter windows will also vastly improve your house's ability to hold the heat.

If you can tighten up your house, you can purchase a smaller furnace & AC (the insulation & windows also improves AC performance).

You can do your own preliminary HEAT LOSS CALCULATION (site below) to determine how much heat (or cool) is oozing out of your house on a cold day/hot day.

You can then check the output or your current furnace/ac & estimate closely if the new furnace/ac should be smaller---oversizing furnaces & AC's is a very common error by a lot of installers.

In other words, if you calculate with the HLC below that your house requires 70,000 btu/hr to keep it warm & the furnace now in your cellar is rated at 100,000 btu/hr, the current furnace is WAY oversized & is wasting a lot of fuel.

I would stay away from Goodman, Coleman, Sears---most of these units have inferior workmanship.

Although I'm not as familiar with furnaces as I am with boilers, I would suggest you look at Thermopride, York, Trane, among others.

I'm sure others will chime in on their favorites & their picks & pans.


Re: Should I get a new HVAC system?

JacktheShack ... great information.

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