Recommend upgrade 30+ year old A/C?
I live in New Jersey, 1800sq ft 1950's ranch. We have 30+ year a/c GE condenser, Bard air handler, built and maintained by my father (retired commercial HVAC).
The system runs good. During the peak in July it maintains 76. It could use a coil cleaning and maybe some sealing in the return duct.
I'd like to upgrade the system, but cannot justify the payback at this point since it is working. However, at the same time NJ has some aggressive (approaching $5k) rebates to upgrade the system(s) which would offset it as well as interest free loans over 10 years.
To further compound the decision, we have a spare compressor, plenty of freon, blow motor, etc...so routine breakage is covered. The only thing that would hit my hard is a leak in the evap coil....(although I'd bet he'd make me send it out to repair).
I am interested in thoughts on upgrading vs not.
I'd keep it as-is if your energy bills are reasonable. You might get quicker payback with insulation\ductwork improvements.
That GE will outlast today's machines!
If, after 30 yrs., you've done any energy improvements to the home, the existing A/C may be too large (now).
With the rebates and interest free loan, maybe a new, hi-eff. matched system is a good investment.
It all depends on how long you plan to stay in the home and how much you use the A/C.
Another consideration, if practical for New Jersey, is going with a heat pump.
I believe ... Don't fix it, IF It Ain't Broke ... probably applies here.
However, it's quite Hard to believe that you haven't been taking a Significant HIT (%age wise) on NJ electric bills (> $0.16/kw-hr ?) IMO.
If < 2,000 Cooling Degree Days in your locale, maybe you don't actually spend much on cooling co$t$.
3 kw* 1,000 operating hours * 0.16/kw =$ 480 MAX. Annual cooling costs ( 70-second e$timate).
Even with a 50% more efficient system, savings maybe a somewhat limited ~$250 /year.
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Originally Posted by dan sw fl
You are correct, the hit is substantial. It is about $650 a year for cooling (this year).
1. I hate to throw money away on wasted electricity.
2. I will also hate to throw money away on an "inflated" installation invoice just to get a rebate, 0% govt loan, etc.
In the end the entire system will have to be changed, so it is just a matter of when to take the hit. Doing it now means I control the money side and contractors, but the return of my money wont happen for quite some time. Possibly after the newer unit fails.
Well i most agree if it is not broke don't fix it. Although replacement is coming, it might be today a month or a year etc..
What you have to think about is this. Right now your state is offering great rebates along with zero percent fin. Options!!! That might not be there when it breaks?
Plus you have time to review over systems, get detailed estimates and look into things to help your comfort level. If you wait then you might be pressed to make a fast choose if the system goes down and can't be repaired.
So with that said make some calls and get some estimates and see where you are. After that you will at least have a idea of cost, size etc... Then if you still can't see doing right now then don't but again you will have a idea $$$. It will cost and what options you have.
P.S. Please if you choose to get the estimates tell the company what you are doing so they will now that this is not going to be a sale right away. This will weed out the guys/gals that don't care about anything but a comm. Check. In turn you will see who really wants your bussiness and truly wants to help and does not care if you replace now or later.
Originally Posted by duckman06
Thank you for the realistic advice and personal thoughts.