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When to Replace HVAC: Budget for the Cost of an HVAC System

Your HVAC – or heating, ventilating and air conditioning – system is one of the most major components in your home. Not only is the equipment itself vital to keeping your home livable year-round, but it is also expensive. On top of that, the energy that your furnace and air conditioner consume is considerable, which can lead to high utility bills. If you’re looking for a way to save some money each month on home expenses, you may be considering replacing the HVAC system.

Here are some useful guidelines to help you determine when to replace your HVAC system and how to comfortably handle the cost of an HVAC system upgrade.

When to Replace HVAC Equipment

A furnace that is older than 15 years is probably no longer performing at its peak. Meanwhile, air conditioners have a quality lifespan of about 10 years. So, the age of these machines is a good place to start when debating whether to install a new HVAC system.

Of course, it’s always possible that your equipment will start running into problems sooner. If you find yourself paying for repairs several times in a season, you could compare the costs of a new HVAC system to the costs of parts and labor each time it breaks.

Even if the equipment is functioning properly, it’s possible that it could be functioning more efficiently. By replacing your older equipment with the latest technology, such as radiant heating and a new central air conditioning unit, you could lower your bills and reduce your energy usage.

Caring for Your Ventilation

The furnace and the air conditioner are typically the first things you think of when you consider improving the heating and cooling in your home. But, don’t overlook the ventilation, which includes system components that help exchange air in the home like ductwork, vents and exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom.

Keeping your ventilation system clean and clear is a big part of helping your HVAC system to run smoothly. To do this:

  • Have your air ducts cleaned every couple of years.
  • Regularly dust vents and make sure they aren’t blocked by furniture.
  • Consider replacing exhaust fans that don’t appear to be drawing steam out as well as they used to.
  • Replace your air filters every three months or sooner if they appear dirty when you check them.

 Getting Estimates for a New HVAC System

A major home improvement, like replacing your HVAC system, is a decision that should be researched carefully to ensure you get the proper system for your home as well as a price that you can comfortably afford.

  • When selecting new equipment, be sure it’s rated for your home’s size. You can also look for ENERGY STAR ratings, which will indicate how efficiently the equipment should run.
  • It’s also best to get multiple quotes from contractors. A contractor will come to your home and thoroughly evaluate your current system, looking at the furnace and air conditioner and also measuring airflow throughout your home.
  • When comparing quotes, be sure you look not only at price but also the type of recommendations. If different contractors make drastically different recommendations on equipment, be sure you ask questions to understand why. You want to ensure that one contractor didn’t miss something crucial or try to sell you more equipment than you truly need.

Affording the Cost of an HVAC System

When you completely replace HVAC equipment, you could pay anywhere from $3,000 to upwards of $20,000, so it’s not unreasonable to look for ways to finance the purchase.

A home equity loan  or home equity line of credit can be a great way to do it. You typically find some of the best lending rates on these types of loans because they use your home, a valuable asset, as collateral. A home equity loan is a lump sum loan that you can pay back over a long period like a mortgage. A home equity line of credit  is more like a credit card, with money you can access as needed and repay as you need it.

Either one can be a good option for a large project like replacing HVAC equipment. Not only will you find a competitive interest rate, but you’ll also be using the funds to make a critical upgrade to your home, which can save you money in utility bills and even help with the resale value.

Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.


  1. I saw a post from another blogger yesterday complaining about how Dyson vacuums are a rip-off because they’re basically designed to last no more than 10 years. It kills me that the same can basically be said for a heating and cooling system that likely costs 20-30 times the amount of the vacuum cleaner. Ten years is ridiculous for an A/C unit, and you know darn well that the recommendation is going to be to replace the whole system, not just the A/C unit.

  2. Just replaced our HVAC with a new Rheem unit yesterday. It runs great and is very efficient. We interviewed 4 guys and the guy we used was very knowledgeable and came highly recommended. He did the job in two days and put in a new thermostat and air purifier as part of the install. By the way our HVAC was 27 years old so we were due for a change. The technology is just so much better. I am very happy with this new unit!

  3. I am considering getting a ductless system it seems to be cost effective as well as energy efficient for me.

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