When Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

Striking a balance between good maintenance and replacing the HVAC system can be hard. You do not want to invest in a new system if the old one is perfectly good. But you also don’t want to wait too long to replace your HVAC. Luckily, there are some signs that indicate it might be time to get a new unit.

Higher Utility Bills

Your energy bills can fluctuate throughout the year depending on the weather. But if you notice that the cost of cooling or heating the property is much higher than the same time last year, then it might be time to get a new system.

As a system gets older, its efficiency will drop about 5 to 10 percent. However, if your energy bills suddenly spike, you might need to have a company come out to evaluate it. You may need extensive repairs to keep the system running, and it may be a better option to replace it with another model.

The efficiency of your system decreases over time because of normal wear and tear. As corrosion occurs inside and dirt builds up, a greater loss of efficiency can occur. A very cold or hot season might cause the cost of energy to go up, as well.

Older System

It is a good idea for you to replace the HVAC system every 10 to 15 years. Many times, the units made today are more durable than the ones that were made in the past. However, some of the major components might still deteriorate as time goes on. You can expect a typical lifespan of an HVAC system to be around 10 years. But if you do regular repairs and maintenance on it, you can often extend the lifespan of the system.

Another thing that can influence how cost-effective it is to replace an HVAC system is the kind of refrigerant that some older systems use. Because of federal regulations, the component R22 has started to be phased out since it could have a negative influence on the environment. This means that any existing R22 would have become much more expensive. If you have R22 in your older HVAC system, it might be too expensive for you to replace the refrigerant. In this case, you may decide that it is worth getting a new system.

Increased Repair and Maintenance

Many HVAC systems need regular maintenance to continue to operate well. You might need to have certain parts replaced, such as the electrical switch or capacitor. But if the system begins to leak refrigerant or the compressor no longer works well, you might need to have extensive repairs that could make keeping the unit not worthwhile.

Instead of paying high repair bills, you might find that it is better to replace the system altogether. When you call in an HVAC company, you can get both a replacement quote and a repair quote, so you can make a more informed decision about when you need to replace your system.

Poor Climate Control

If you notice that one room in your home seems too warm but another one is very cold, you may need to replace your system. In some cases, aging systems do not have a high enough level of power to heat or cool the home efficiently. When this happens, energy costs can rise since your unit will need to run more to do the same amount of work.

Of course, the temperature is not the only important thing that your HVAC system controls. If the unit is not effective, there can be issues with too much dust left in your air. Or the humidity might increase in your home. Too much humidity can cause mildew and mold. If you notice these issues, you also should assess your home for inadequate insulation or air leaks.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to replacing your HVAC system, knowing the signs to look out for can help you to make a better decision. That way, you can save money by not having unnecessarily high energy bills. At the same time, you will also not end up paying to replace a system that can still be repaired.

All About Heating

Heating is one of those things that—like your car or dishwasher—you don’t think twice about until it stops working. But anyone looking to buy (or renovate) a house should have a general understanding of the different heating systems. This knowledge can save you money (and save you from shivering, too).

Heating Questions to Ask

The house you’re considering might look amazing and feel like home, but before you buy, here are some key heating questions to ask:

  • What type of heating does the house have?
  • How energy efficient is it?
  • How old is the system?
  • When will it need to be replaced?
  • When’s the last time it was serviced?
  • How often has it been looked at?
    A yearly HVAC check is standard, particularly if it’s still under warranty.
  • Does it have A/C?
    Even though this doesn’t pertain to heating, it’s a good question to ask and oftentimes, the systems are connected.

Types of Heating

Forced Air

This is the most common heating source. A furnace (typically powered by natural gas or oil) moves heat through ducts and vents to warm a house. On average, furnaces last 15-20 years and can cost at least $3k-$4k to replace. Older systems will lead to higher energy bills; updating to a newer model can save you a few hundred bucks a year—and lead to the system paying for itself several years down the road.

Quick note: if a house doesn’t have A/C but has forced air, it’s pretty easy (and cheap) to add it on. 


With radiant heating, metal panels located in floors, walls, or ceilings are heated and transfer that heat to the home. It’s found in older homes, and can lead to issues with the surfaces that come into contact with the panels (such as cracks in drywall). In very old homes (think 1950s) radiant heat can be dangerous. Radiant heat holds heat well, but isn’t the safest heating option.


Just a few feet beneath the earth’s surface, the temperature stabilizes at 55°F. Geothermal heat pumps are installed underground to access this temperature. It’s less expensive to heat or cool a home from 55°F than if it’s 25°F or 90°F outside. The pumps require lots of space and digging up your yard, but the results are awesome. These pumps help with heating, cooling, and water temperature, and can cut your energy bills by up to 80%.

Geothermal heating is a highly energy efficient way to heat a home. While expensive up front, this method pays for itself within several years.


Some might not like the look of solar panels, but who can say no to saving money and helping the environment? Solar panels harness energy from the sun which, in turn, heats your home. Savings depend on the area, but even in cloudier climates solar panels can still cut energy costs. As an added bonus, energy companies will usually buy additional power you make back from you.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that most ever make. You want to be well-informed before closing, and knowing your future home’s heating is an essential step. Whether your next home is in sunny Hawaii or blizzarding British Columbia, find (or sell) your home with RealtyHive!

Everything You Need to Comfortably Enjoy Summer from Home

Now that we’re in the thick of summer, and what tends to be the hottest month of the year is upon us, it’s time to prepare for the coming heat if you haven’t already. Throughout our lives, we look forward to summer. Whether as kids longing for the break from school or as adults craving the warmth of the sun and excuse to go on vacation, summer is a time to be enjoyed. But what about when the heat gets to be too much? That’s when you need to take a look at your home and make the necessary improvements to make summer living comfortable. 

Upgrade your cooling system

Air conditioning is without a doubt one of our most sacred modern blessings. Few things feel better than the blast of cool air when coming in from the heat outside. But you also have that nagging voice of your parent or grandparent in the back of your mind telling you that running the A.C. is going to raise your energy bill. While it’s true that HVAC systems use up a lot of energy, newer models are more energy efficient and can do the same work while reducing your monthly energy payment. Do some research on if you should consider upgrading your HVAC unit and then consult with a certified technician on what option will work best for you.

Furnish your basement, plus upgrade your home value

If your home has a basement, it’s a great idea to make sure it’s furnished. Basements provide you with a naturally cool place to spend time when it’s warm outside because they are underground. Not only will the project of finishing your basement keep you cool, it will also add value to your home. So not only are you getting a literally cooler place to spend time, but the investment you put towards transforming the space will help you to profit in the future. 

Create the perfect sleeping environment

No one wants to be hot in their sleep. It’s just plain uncomfortable, and it makes it much harder to get your rest. That’s why, especially during the warm summer months, it’s extremely important to make sure your room is your ideal sleeping temperature. This means lowering your set A.C. temperature at night and, just in case that doesn’t cut it, keep a fan at your bedside. Take things a step further by purchasing a new mattress, potentially one with cooling technology to regulate your temperature while you sleep. 

Have ways to keep cool outside

During those long and cold winter months, you long for days spent outside in the warmth of the sun. When the heat and humidity come you feel like you need to soak it in as much as possible and don’t want to complain, but it can also be too overwhelming sometimes. Believe it or not, there are options to help keep you cool when outside as well. Make sure your backyard has some sort of shaded area, whether it’s natural or achieved by your addition of a covered patio. This way you can enjoy the warmth without being in direct sunlight 24/7. Add a misting fan to your shaded area for another layer of cooling.

Make use of simple techniques to keep cool air inside

When spending your hard earned money on keeping your home cool, the last thing you want to do is cause your HVAC unit to run more than it has to. Keep an eye on your local forecast and if it’s going to be especially hot, do not introduce warm air into your cool environment by using your stove/oven. Plan ahead and premake meals you can warm in the microwave or eat cold. You also want to keep the sunlight and heat out of your space as much as possible. While under door draft stoppers are popular in winter months, they can also be used in the summer to keep warm air from entering your home from underneath your exterior doors. You should also hang blackout curtains and keep them closed to prevent heat and warm sunlight entering through your windows.

We look forward to the warmth of summer all our lives. Don’t let the sun become too much for you and make sure you have a retreat from the heat. You shouldn’t have to venture out to stores and restaurants to seek solace. Instead, make sure your home is the place you find comfort no matter the weather.