6 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your HVAC System

If you’re like most people, you don’t think much about your household’s heating and cooling (HVAC) system unless you need repairs; it breaks down, or it’s time to replace it altogether. While you can often repair parts of your HVAC system to keep it running, there may come a time when replacing it is your only option. Here are six major indicators that it’s time to replace your HVAC system.

Your Home Isn’t Maintaining a Steady Comfortable Temperature

Image via Flickr by John Loo

If you’ve started to notice that your home is starting to not be as cool as you’d like in the warmer, humid summer months, or as warm as you’d like during the cold Illinois winters, this can point to the likelihood that your HVAC system is starting to break down. It may mean you just need a repair, or it can point to more serious issues within your HVAC system.

If you find that you can’t regulate the temperature throughout your home, consider that a red flag, and don’t ignore it for very long. Have a professional come out to clean and inspect your system.

Your House Is More Dusty or Damp Than Usual

Besides heating and cooling your home, a properly working HVAC system provides ventilation throughout your house. When your HVAC system works efficiently, it should improve the air quality within your home. A properly working HVAC system removes dust, dander, and debris from the air.

If you’re seeing more dust on surfaces, that may be a sign that your HVAC isn’t working as efficiently as it should. Your HVAC should also keep the humidity level down inside your home, so if you notice mold, mildew, or unusual humidity, don’t ignore it. Dust and dampness are both indicators that you should have your HVAC system inspected immediately.

Your Energy Bills Are Higher

While it’s normal to see your energy costs vary by season, they should be in the same general range at the same time each year, apart from any rising energy costs that are due to a change in rates that are from your power company increasing its rates. You should keep records of the average cost during a particular past month in the year and compare it to your current bills. If there’s a substantial difference in cost that can’t be attributed to any external factors, it can mean that your HVAC system isn’t working as efficiently as it should.

You Notice Odd Smells or Hear Increased Noise

If you notice any smells emanating from the HVAC system that you’ve never experienced before, it can signify that something is wrong with the system. It’s normal for there to be some smell, which can just be dust burning off when starting it up for the season, but don’t assume everything is fine if you notice an unusual smell. Get your unit checked out by one of our professionals who can advise you if it’s time to replace your unit. It can be more serious, such as wiring breaking down and melting, or mold in the air ducts.

Likewise, noises coming from your HVAC system that are louder than what you’re typically used to or different than the usual sounds you’ve come to expect can point to a malfunction in your unit. Most HVAC systems are relatively quiet, so if you hear sounds such as grinding, squeaking, or squealing, it’s time to get your HVAC system checked out to make sure your system isn’t on the brink of breaking down completely. It may only involve some components in your system or be more serious.

The Age of Your HVAC System 

Most HVAC systems need to be replaced between 10 to 15 years, but that’s only an average. Some lower quality HVAC systems quit after six years, and some higher quality systems may last as long as 20 years. The life of your HVAC system also depends on the age of the original unit when it was installed, how long it has been operating, and how well it’s been maintained. Most modern air conditioners are durable, but their components can still be susceptible to breaking down due to deterioration, the frequency, and length of time of usage.

HVAC systems over 10 years old will need to be replaced at some point anyway, regardless of performance, as older systems are very likely to use a type of refrigerant called R-22. This refrigerant has been completely phased out by 2020, so if you have an older system, you won’t be able to replace the R-22. This type of Freon is no longer approved for usage because R-22 is outdated and is damaging to the environment. Upgrading to a newer unit will help reduce your carbon footprint and also help cut down on your energy bills.

Your Repair Costs Are 50% Higher Than the Cost of a New System

If you’re starting to need costly repairs on your HVAC system that are going to cost you more than half of the cost of a new system, you may be sinking your money into a lost cause. If your unit is also over 10 years old, it’s a no-brainer. A new system is a much better bet than wasting money trying to put a temporary Band-Aid on an old, ailing HVAC system, especially since it’s likely to break down again, costing you yet more money.

When you’re ready to replace your HVAC system or just want an opinion on the condition of your current system, contact the knowledgeable team at Dahme Mechanical Industries, Inc. We offer residential, commercial, and industrial/municipal services to keep your HVAC system running the way it should. You can reach us at 847-396-9836 or via or convenient and secure online messaging system. Dahme Mechanical is family-owned and operated since 1965, providing you with high-quality HVAC services in the Chicagoland area.


What do you need to know about replacing your HVAC system?

Heating and cooling size, capacity and type needed, the energy efficiency rating, any noise levels, and maintenance requirements, and indoor air quality.

How much does a new HVAC system cost?

While it’s not possible to provide you with an estimate without inspecting your home, the average price range for a new HVAC system is $2,000 to $14,000.

How long will an HVAC replacement take?

Again, this question can’t be answered definitively without inspecting your home, but it’s typically no more than three days.