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FAQs to Determine if You Should Repair vs. Replace HVAC

When it comes to your Los Angeles home, comfort is a priority. After all, your house is where you spend so much of your time living life–from relaxing and sleeping to entertaining and making memories. So when a broken heater or AC disrupts your life, it’s reasonable to want some kind of assurance that it won’t happen again anytime soon. If repairs become more frequent–or the repair is very expensive–you may wonder if it’s worth it just to replace your HVAC.

Or you may be in the opposite scenario. A home service provider has recommended that you replace your HVAC, and you wonder if it can’t be repaired and last you a few more years. How do you know for sure?

Here at Brody Pennell, we complete HVAC installations every single day. Our award-winning HVAC team has truly seen it all, in every neighborhood across sunny LA. We talk to homeowners just like you every single day and answer questions about this same conundrum. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and our expert answers.

How long does an AC or heater last?

A residential AC unit can last 20 years or longer. Heaters can last 25 years or longer. But don’t be fooled; this is not a hard and fast number to go by. From an equipment and component standpoint, your HVAC units need annual maintenance to reach their maximum age.

So let’s be honest: have you had a technician visit your home every year for preventative maintenance since installation? Was the previous owner of your home diligent about service? If not, your HVAC simply won’t last as long.

The other side of this equation is simply your tolerance. As heating and cooling units get older, they get less efficient, meaning higher energy bills. They may get noisier, or struggle to keep your home at comfortable temperatures, both of which can be a nuisance. And yes–HVAC units will require repairs throughout their life. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you can put up with these annoyances or if you’d rather replace the system.

How many HVAC repairs are too many?

At most, you should expect to repair your AC or heater once a year. If you have to call an HVAC technician twice, three times, or more over the course of 12 months, there is an underlying issue.

However, that issue isn’t necessarily that your HVAC needs replacement. It could be that a previous repair was unsuccessful–either poor workmanship or a failed component. Another potential problem could be that your home is suffering from leaky doors or windows, and your HVAC is overworking to compensate. –maybe your AC or heater really is on its last legs and needs replacement.

If you’ve had two or more repairs in the last 12 months, you should consult with one of our Brody Pennell comfort advisors. Our team will work with you to determine the underlying problem and guide you in the next steps.

How should I compare the cost of AC repair vs. the cost of AC replacement?

If your faulty air conditioner is more than 10 years old, ask a trusted HVAC professional for two quotes: one for repair and one for replacement. If the AC repair estimate is less than 25% of the cost of a new system, it makes the most sense to repair it. Over 25%, start looking at a replacement.

Don’t forget to include lucrative extras in your calculation. For example, is your AC under warranty? If so, that may reduce or eliminate the repair cost. Another item to consider is incentives and rebates. During the slower season of spring and fall, you can find the deepest discounts on a new unit. Be sure to factor in those savings!

Do I need to replace my HVAC if I’m doing a home renovation project?

It depends. The size of your HVAC unit (expressed in Tons or BTUs) depends on how much heat exists in your home before a heating and cooling system is involved. Heat in your home comes from all sorts of sources, like the roof, walls, windows, people, electronics, lighting, and equipment. Have you made any of these changes to your home during a renovation?

  • Added or removed windows, or changed their location
  • Added or removed interior or exterior walls
  • Added new spaces entirely, like a finished attic or garage, or an enclosed sunroom
  • Added or changed equipment, especially in a kitchen

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should call our team at Brody Pennell for an evaluation. In some cases, a simple change of a damper or re-sizing of ductwork will do the trick. But in other situations, you may need to upsize your HVAC or invest in a small mini-split to ensure new spaces are comfortable.

Answering your HVAC Repair and Replace Questions

At Brody Pennell, we are committed to education first. We want our customers to be confident in their purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to investing in a new HVAC unit. If your question wasn’t answered here, please give our team a call at (310) 896-4911.

Put your family’s comfort first this year and schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our many experienced team members. Call (310) 896-4911.


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