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How Long Can I Wait Before Repairing My Furnace and Air Conditioner?

How Long Can I Wait Before Repairing My Furnace and Air Conditioner?

We’re going to discuss something that affects every homeowner at one point or another.

How long can we wait before getting this repair down on our HVAC system?

So, more than a couple things that broken on your furnace over the last couple of years and some people start getting itchy and started thinking, “How long can I wait before getting this repair done on the furnace?”

Like an igniter went out years ago, the Control Board failed and the air conditioning compressor has gone bad.


And they’re saying that it can’t be repaired because the compressor is sealed and they can’t get in to fix the broken thingy.

Obviously, a major component like a compressor going out is dire. If it’s a hundred degrees outside you’re going to have less time to think about getting a new system or just making the repair.

Waiting to repair is going to be super uncomfortable for your family and your pets so you’re forced into making a quick decision.

It shouldn’t stop you however from obtaining a second opinion and getting a couple of quotes on the repair from different companies.

Sometimes you might be told by a technician that you have a capacitor that is below factory specs or a control board that’s working now but she can see burnt terminals on the back of the board or maybe the technician has told you there’s a leak into the refrigerant system.

These are repairs that need to be made but the timings not right for your budget.

And the system is still working – so do you need to make this decision right?


Not if it’s still working and your cooling or heating is just fine. We will tell you this though, the capacitor that is low can have a damaging effect on the motor it’s supporting.

So, if the capacitor is low, it can cause your motor to stop running. It can cause it to run backward or it can cause a heavy strain on the motor which will wear it out faster – then you’ll have another repair to make and it will cost you more.

How many more things can go wrong with your furnace or air conditioner?

This can honestly happen to systems that are anywhere from eight years old to thirty years old. Most furnaces and A.C. systems last about 15 to 25 years, 15 without maintenance, and 20 or more with maintenance.

If someone’s coming out once or twice a year and pampering that machine, cleaning it and checking all the components and trying to catch the early warnings of failure, you’re very likely to have a system that will keep you cool and warm for twenty to twenty-five years.

One of our friends bought a home when it was nine years old. The HVAC system is still going but he has had to make a couple of repairs on it. He bought the home in 1999 and it was built in 1990.

The hot surface igniter cracked one night so the furnace would not blow warm air. So, he replaced that. At 14 years old, the AC’s compressor blew and that meant no cooling for 24 hours in the middle of summer.

He has replaced capacitors, installed a UV light for air purification, and enlarged his return air to an 18-inch duct. He did all that through the preventive maintenance that he does every spring and fall on his system so, he wasn’t without heating or cooling for those repairs.

The thing is he knows a guy. He could just go out of his truck and grab what he needs to fix his AC and be ready to go in a matter of hours.

You have to pay real dollars for the parts and labor involved in making these repairs. He hasn’t had to replace his inducer motor, the control board, the blower motor, condenser fan motor, or the heat exchanger – all parts that cost $500-$2000 or more.

The pressure switches, safeties, transformers, relays, igniters, capacitors, contactors, ducts, etc., those are all smaller repairs that you can encounter.

Those parts are usually in the area of $50-$500 range. These are easier to pay off because they don’t come in the thousands.

Warranties on systems made before 2015 typically carried a five-year parts warranty and a 10/20 or lifetime heat exchanger warranty.

That meant that any part that came on the system and broke within five years, the owner would only have to pay labor to get the part replaced by a licensed HVAC technician.

Nowadays, warranties usually boast a ten-year parts warranty and twenty-years or lifetime warranties on heat exchangers which are made with better materials than twenty or thirty years ago.

Incentives to buy a new HVAC system are there if you look for them. If you want to save money on the cost of a new HVAC system, ask if there are any rebates available for upgrading your HVAC equipment now instead of later when those rebates and tax credits can be taken away.

In some areas, they’re able to offer $400, $500 and $850 rebates through utility companies.

The ability to save money when you’re running the system would also be great. The furnaces today can be up to 97%- 98% efficient on fossil fuel usage. They usually come with two stages of heating too, so it uses a less-power consuming mode most of the time that it’s operating.

Same with AC, they come with two stages and even fully variable systems that can dial in your comfort level.

It’s tough making that decision. It also doesn’t have to be an impulse buy either.

Take time to think about it and find the right contractor that will pull all the necessary permits and do the work for you right the first time.

The most important day of an HVAC system life is the day that it was installed. So, just make sure that you do your homework and choose the right unit and contractor for you and your family.

Check out our blog, for more on this big purchase and the decisions that are made in the process of getting a new HVAC system installed.

If you decide to make that repair, that’s totally fine. Some people are really into making the equipment they have last as long as possible. Nothing wrong with that.

If the parts are available for that equipment and you can safely make that repair without compromising the original factory specifications, then why not? Because it’s your money.

You can either choose to keep putting your money into the current HVAC system or upgrade to the new standard of HVAC equipment that’s sold today.

The manufacturers and their engineers outdo themselves every few years and come out with the next cool technology for the industry.

Well, good luck in making this decision. If you’re in the Red Deer area, let Red Deer Heating and Air Conditioning come out to your house and have a discussion with you in person. We would love to be part of your HVAC systems life whether it’s doing the preventive maintenance on your aging system or installing and maintaining a new one for you.