One of the most expensive pieces in your new home, and also one of the most important, is your HVAC system. Taking proper care of your HVAC system will help ensure its longevity, but you do need to be aware of what to expect to maintain and eventually replace that system when you become homeowners.
Regular Maintenance Tips
Proper maintenance of your HVAC system begins with keeping it clean. Your system will have a filter, and it should be replaced monthly. You need to check for air leaks in areas like windows and doors, your basement or crawlspace, and your attic. These leaks will allow valuable energy to escape from your home.
If your system has an air conditioner outside, make sure no shrubs or other plants grow near it. This can disrupt airflow and cut down on the efficiency of the system. Keep the outdoor unit clean as well, and avoid placing things on top of it.
Clean your vents each month by vacuuming them. You may want to have the ducts professionally cleaned every year or so as well, because buildup in these can disrupt your air quality and harm your family’s health.
There are some maintenance steps you cannot do on your own. You should plan to have your system inspected by a professional before summer and winter, when you will be asking it to work the hardest.
Maintenance does not have to be expensive. Some companies will offer a maintenance program that allows you to pay around $20 to $50 each month, and they will then come to your home at regular intervals to perform maintenance. Otherwise, the cost for a maintenance service call is going to vary widely depending on the company. You could pay anywhere from $75 to $200 for the contractor to come to your home to perform regular maintenance.
Average Cost for Repairs
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are to maintain proper maintenance, you are going to need to have your unit repaired. The average cost for repairs to an air conditioner is $350, with repairs to a furnace averaging to $320. These numbers are a little misleading, however, because the reality is that far more repairs cost over $1,000 or under $100 than around $300, but the average is around the $300 mark.
If your home has a home warranty or the unit is fairly new and still has a warranty, check that information before you call a contractor. You might not have to pay for repairs if there is a warranty in place.
Lifespan of a HVAC Unit
Each brand, make, and model is going to have its own unique lifespan, but knowing how long it should last will help you decide if you are going to invest $500 in a costly repair. On average, an A/C unit will last 12 to 15 years. Furnaces tend to last about 15 to 20 years. If you have a boiler system, it will also last 15 to 20 years. The cost of the replacement is going to be anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000, depending on the unit you choose and the installation cost charged by the company who will install it.