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HVAC repair vs replace?

Jennifer Ellis
May 26, 2016

So I have a bad control board in the furnace causing the ac to blow hot air. About $600 to replace the control board or I was quoted $6200 for a whole new system.

I had plans to replace soon but was hoping to get one more summer out of it. The system is 22 years old.

Is it worth putting $600 into something this old?

Comments (20)
  • hatetoshop

    If you were planning on replacing in 4 months, then probably best to replace now.

  • kell2028 ell

    Replace it because with the new high energy efficient systems, you will end up saving more money in the short and long run.

  • oracca

    Replace it. You'll probably save a lot in a year on a high efficiency furnace.

  • linlac
    I agree with hatetoshop. Why pay an extra $600 when you're going to replace it soon. Make sure you get a few quotes on your new system. Prices and equipment can vary from one company to another.
  • Jennifer Ellis

    I didn't say I was planning to replace in 4 months. I wanted/needed it to hold out until next spring for financial reasons.

    The high efficiency models are not even what I was quoted for. Just a basic model. Our bills are not high.

    Was crossing my fingers it'd hold out one more summer so I could afford to pay for it without any financing.

  • PRO

    Both those figures sound high. What makes you want to replace in a year?

    You might get another 3-5 years.

    I'd call around and get pricing on the control board yourself, and it should not take more than an hour to install.

  • Jennifer Ellis

    For the 2 years we've lived in this house the ac struggled to keep the house below 80 degrees and it ran non stop all day on really hot days. Given that, along with its age, it's pretty much at the end of its life.

    I had next year in mind simply because I'd probably have the funds to pay for it outright by then.

    The price I was quoted is similar to what others are paying in this area. The only friend I talked to that replaced a system cheaper had a heat pump and I don't want that.

    The company is offering no interest for 60 months financing right now.

  • PRO

    That company doesn't need to charge you interest if they can convince you to pay $6200 for the new system. Their costs will be recovered quickly and the remaining payments will be totally profit for them.

    I like to deal with smaller companies or even one man shops as most of them get their business from referrals. Be careful about any company which has to advertise extensively and offers great financing.

    Definitely just go ahead an replace the system rather than throwing money at it. Check with your local utility companies and see if they are offering any rebates which might help bring down the cost a bit more

  • Jennifer Ellis

    The financing is through Wells Fargo. I'm leaning toward replacing. I think a new board (unless he finds one cheaper) would just be a band aid in something that old.

  • Jennifer Ellis

    So 2 people have the opinion that the price is high. What would you consider a good price?

  • Bev

    Jennifer--In our last house, we had a poorly functioning A/C system. When it finally quit working and since we were renting, we purchased window A/C's. Since they are all energy efficient, it was cheaper to cool down the house with 4 window units than it was on the old A/C! BTW I keep my house in the summer at 68 degrees because I can't stand heat!

  • PRO

    A couple years ago, I was quoted $5400 for high efficiency furnace and central air, 1750 sq ft house, installed including some changes to duct work and gas supply to move the unit about 8 feet from location of previous system.

    My current HVAC guy says that price was higher than he would have charged me for a slightly larger system. I pay cash and give them full schedule flexibility within a two to three week time frame. Being able to offer them the chance to fit in the work at a slow spot in the schedule helps keep me on the good customer list.

    System cost will vary by unit size, whether any changes need to be made to the electrical or gas supply, whether there are any permits pulled for the change-out, general cost of living in the area, and how much the company wants the business.

  • acm

    Impossible to react to price without knowing size of unit, house, and amount of extra work, as well as where you live.

    If your current unit isn't really cooling, have you had the coolant portion, rather than the control, checked? Sometimes there's a leak or other issue there. Or all that needs replacing is the condenser, which might be $1200 or something. Is there reason to think that the actual furnace needs replacing? This is just too hard a question to answer on so little info.

  • Jennifer Ellis

    I've decided to go ahead and replace the system. Even if the $600 part fixes it for awhile at that age it'll probably be a money pit for whatever time it has left. I've got a decent payment plan figured out so that it'll be paid full in full next year. At least I won't I have to live on edge wondering when is going to break down!

  • linlac
    The price doesn't seem too high. We own an HVAC business so I know that each contractor offers different equipment and options. That's why I recommend getting several prices and doing your homework on what you're getting.
  • Jennifer Ellis

    Well this company brought me window units to get by until the new system is installed on Wednesday so they are the winners!

  • PRO

    Great customer service is worth paying a premium price!

    After my first post this morning, my partner's brother's central air unit quit working. We called our HVAC guy who is going to stop in on his way home this evening and check it out. I really like being a known customer and enjoy being able to recommend someone I know who will provide great service and honest opinions.

  • Jennifer Ellis

    You're so right. Once I called and told them what I wanted they were here in less than an hour with paperwork and 2 window units.

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C


    I would call around for more prices if you not ready to dish out 6k. Most Circuit boards for a 22 year old unit is anywhere between $75-135 and very easy to replace...

  • Jennifer Ellis

    Papers are signed. I decided I'm not interested in spending ANY money in something that old.

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