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  1. #1

    When to buy a new unit

    I did a search and did not really find what I was looking for so here goes.

    I have a Rheem 2.5 ton unit that is approx. 17 years old and I believe either a 10 or 10.5 seer. I still have a home warranty that I am keeping up to date mainly just in case this unit goes out. It has already had the coil replaced in the air handler around 10 months ago. A few months ago I had to go outside and I guess reset the outside unit, it was making a buzzing noise but no cooling, by pulling the big fuse on the breaker box on the outside of the house.

    With this unit being as old as it it, and it starting to have problems should I really look more into getting it replaced? Is there any way to know about how much I might be able to save with a new unit that is say 16-18 SEER?

    If I need a new unit, are the variable speed options worth a little extra cost?

    I am in North Florida and the house is just less than 1500 sq. ft. Util rates are 0.099 per kw hour.

    Thanks for all of the help.

    PS: I am not looking into having a new unit that will pay for itself but if a new unit is only going to save me like $5 per month then obviously I will wait until the unit just dies on me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,060
    I would not wait untill it dies to make a decision. Start investigating now as to the overal condition of your home. To many individuals wait untill it breaks and make hasty decisions based on what the salesman has to offer at the time. Just because a high efficiency unit is offered does not meen it will save you money. It verry well may cost you more to opperate than your old system.
    Variable speed units can have there advantages if needed. Start looking for a contractor in your area that has a good reputation with people you know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,914
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    I would not wait untill it dies to make a decision. Start investigating now as to the overal condition of your home. To many individuals wait untill it breaks and make hasty decisions based on what the salesman has to offer at the time. Just because a high efficiency unit is offered does not meen it will save you money. It verry well may cost you more to opperate than your old system.
    Variable speed units can have there advantages if needed. Start looking for a contractor in your area that has a good reputation with people you know.
    I agree,

    Also, do the research on whoever your home warranty is with. Home warranty's are NOT like any other warranty you have felt comfortable with. If you think they are going to cover the entire cost of a 17 year old product........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    646
    If you really want to get good efficiency, you should get an energy audit. Seer is tested under specific in lab conditions. At these conditions, if your seer doubles, it means your electric usage was cut in half for the same cooling effect at those conditions. If you have undersized, poorly done, leaky ductwork you may not get the same effect. Also, if you have different than tested conditions, this will change how efficient it is. So swapping one one does not mean you save money neccessarily. If it is a significantly higher seer rating, you probably will save money compared to the other but the only way you can maximize it is by making sure the entire system is put together like it should be, not just the unit. Also, sizing the unit wrong can decrease efficiency so if you go for it, you will want to make sure the installing company does a industry standard "manual J" calculation. just my 2 cents.

    Also, the energy audit will allow you to see other ways to save money, like double pane windows. In hot climates (I live in Phoenix) double pane is better than triple because you get a payback much quicker. In my climate the extra pane is extra cost with little reward (takes many years to pay you back for the investment). This is something to consider how much more do you pay vs how much do you save. In Canada, you probably get a better payback with triple pane. These types of things can be made clear during an energy audit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Ocean Pines, MD
    Posts
    6,988
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    I would not wait untill it dies to make a decision. Start investigating now as to the overal condition of your home. To many individuals wait untill it breaks and make hasty decisions based on what the salesman has to offer at the time. Just because a high efficiency unit is offered does not meen it will save you money. It verry well may cost you more to opperate than your old system.
    Variable speed units can have there advantages if needed. Start looking for a contractor in your area that has a good reputation with people you know.

    "If your going wait for it to break to do something about it, you might not have that long of a wait".
    One of my Grandfather's Sayings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Monroe County, PA
    Posts
    99
    I can't offer technical advice, but I can offer an analogy.

    If you think of your HVAC system the same way you think of a car, a car that is your only car, it helps put things in perspective.

    At 15+ years old, there are so many mechanical parts that are on the verge of wearing out, it's inevitable that it will start letting you down more and more regularly. And just like an older car, finding parts gets harder and takes longer and longer to get shipped in from the musty old corners of warehouses.

    As you evaluate a new car, you don't only compare its gas mileage to your old one. You also have to factor in better handling, reduce road noise, and hundreds of other benefits that weren't even available when your 15 year old car was new. Likewise, newer HVAC systems are not only more efficient, but they also offer 2-stage compressors and air handlers that are quieter and better at managing humidity in your house.

    Personally, if you have the money or your contractor has good financing available, it sounds to me like now is the time to seriously consider an update. You've gotten to that magic point where the ROI on the old units has expired and it's time to evaluate the ROI on its replacement.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,991
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Campbell View Post
    I can't offer technical advice, but I can offer an analogy.

    If you think of your HVAC system the same way you think of a car, a car that is your only car, it helps put things in perspective.

    At 15+ years old, there are so many mechanical parts that are on the verge of wearing out, it's inevitable that it will start letting you down more and more regularly. And just like an older car, finding parts gets harder and takes longer and longer to get shipped in from the musty old corners of warehouses.

    As you evaluate a new car, you don't only compare its gas mileage to your old one. You also have to factor in better handling, reduce road noise, and hundreds of other benefits that weren't even available when your 15 year old car was new. Likewise, newer HVAC systems are not only more efficient, but they also offer 2-stage compressors and air handlers that are quieter and better at managing humidity in your house.

    Personally, if you have the money or your contractor has good financing available, it sounds to me like now is the time to seriously consider an update. You've gotten to that magic point where the ROI on the old units has expired and it's time to evaluate the ROI on its replacement.
    Since I can offer advice, this analogy is great advice, well put! Most people do not understand the "mileage" that their furnace goes through, imagine your car runs on average 30 miles per hour and you drive the average of 12,000 miles per year, that means only 400 hours in your car, now think of how often your furnace runs, up to 1,000 hours per year and sometimes more depending on climate. So your furnace runs 30,000 miles per year and its 17 years old 510,000 miles on your HVAC system. It could be time to replace. Nobody on this forum can tell you over the internet if it really is time but at the very least now is the time to start educating yourself and learning about systems so you can formulate an opinion on what you personally would like your heating system to do for you.

    In most cases variable speed furnaces/air handlers will perform better, in most cases two stage equipment will dehumidify better and be more efficient and comfortable with lower noise but that all comes at a cost. Also don't worry what equipment you are putting in so much as the contractor you choose, I personally believe that certain brands provide better training so on average certain brands will perform better and last longer. It takes a competent installation company to properly size equipment and install to the highest of standards. Look at the contractor map on this website as most of us are here because we are staying up with the newest technology and highest installation standards.
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,391
    The house itself is as much a part of the HVAC "system" as the compressor. As others have said you never know when a 17 yr old system will have a catastrophic failure, but it is operating now. This is a good time to have the house evaluated and determine what improvements will allow for the installation of a smaller AC system. Start planning the system now and you will be more comfortable and know what the energy savings will be when the AC unit is replaced.
    Climate Control Solutions for your Home or Office

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Zelienople, Pa
    Posts
    2,965
    I would never have replaced the evap coil on a 17 year old system.

    That was your signal to replace the entire system..
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

  10. #10
    I just had the 20 yr old upstairs split system replaced while it was "working."

    This was over a 2 yr. decision process as I continued to throw band aids at my problem of not cooling the upstairs.

    I went from an old 2 ton to a much more efficent 2.5 ton. Yes, it hurt to write that check, but I know we're going to be comfy/covered for the next 10 yrs if we decide to stay.

    Some companies offer payment plans and I would suggest considering switching out while the system is working vs. HAVING to buy one when it's 100 outside and a broken AC.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    416

    What is Comfort Worth per Month

    Just replaced 15 year old builder's furnace/AC with nice Trane 2-stage AC/95 gas furnace with 10 year parts and labor. If it lasts 15 years it will cost me about 53 bucks per month or less than 2 dollars a day for comfort and peace of mind..... Compare that to a car payment. Heck my electric bill runs $3-4 per day (yearly average), water/sewer $1.50/day. Auto insurance (3 cars) is $6/day. What is your comfort worth??

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,265
    Just something for you to think about:

    Your 10 SEER unit 17 years ago is not even close to 10 SEER now. Normal wear and tear over the years lowers the SEER rating. More like 6 to 8 SEER now.

    Minimal 13 SEER unit could be twice as effecient as your system.

    Thats a lot of extra electricity you are paying for.

    IMHO you are already buying a new system in extra energy costs and the longer you wait the more expensive that unit is becoming.

    Just my opinion but do yourself a favor and get a new one instead of just giving your hard earned money over to the utility companies.

    Also get a 10 year parts and labor warranty with the new system and cancel that insurance. Use that yearly amount to help pay for the new system.

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