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Question DetailsAsked on 8/1/2016

Reputable company to install HVAC system in home, Tucson, AZ

have bad coil on a 7 year old HVAC system. $2800 to replace. what is the rule of thumb to repair or replace a system

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Heating and A/C is your Search the List category to find well-rated and reviewed companies for this work.

No real rule of thumb - you would have to run the numbers using your historic cooling system energy usage and energy costs, the difference in efficiency between a new and old system, the estimated value to you of a new warranty, etc.

You can find a lot of previous similar questions about replacing a system in the Home > HVAC link in Browse Projects, at lower left, but generally if you figure a system last 15-20 years at most (many contractors figure 10-15 is more practical), then your system is maybe about half to two-thirds the way through its life, so paying more than half to a third of the cost of a new system to repair is might not make good sense.

You did not say if you meant replacing the entire HVAC system (Heating and A/C) or just an air conditioner - from where you live I would guess, assuming a house rather than condo or apartment, that you probably have a separate A/C system and air handler, or a central air system. If the latter, you do not have to replace the furnace at the same time as the A/C - furnaces commonly last 20-30 years or even more, although heat exchanges (similar to the coil in an A/C) can go out every 20 years or so in older units, more like 10 or even less in modern ones.

So - if you are talking an A/C only, assuming you double-checked with another HVAC company or two on what the evaporator coil replacement cost is for your unit ($2800 sounds about ballpark $1000 higher than normal for that), if the $2800 number is right I would guess that is probably 2/3 to near 100% of the cost of a new unit - get a few quotes and see, but I would expect (assuming maybe a 5-7 ton unit for a normal 2000 SF range house in your area) that a new unit would run maybe $4000 ballpark give or take - which unless your money is really tight right now would probably be the smarter choice for that price - tougher decision if others bids come in at more normal $1000-1800 range.

(Don't forget to check on if evaporator coil is covered by a 7 or 10 year warranty - might end up getting the part discounted or free from the manufacturer, depending on warranty terms.

One thing on the R-22 (Freon) versus newer R-410a replacement issue which appears in a lot of the comments to previous questions - the difference in cost between R-22 replacement (if yours uses that) and R-410a is rapidly disappearing as contractors crank the R-410a cost up to that of R-22 because people have heard about the imminent R-22 shortages and don't realize R-410a is freely available (though in something like 5-8 years it will be in the same status as R-22).

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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