• Dennis Griffin

Repair vs. Replace: What to Do When Old HVAC Equipment Breaks Down


old rooftop unit

The decision whether to repair or replace is a difficult one that every building owner must eventually face when aging HVAC equipment breaks down. PJM Mechanical is here to help you weigh the pros and cons of repair vs. replacement.


The first question, understandably, is always “how much will it cost?”. While any decent HVAC contractor can quote prices for repairing or replacing a piece of equipment, calculating true cost is never quite that simple. Choosing whether to repair or replace based solely on comparing one price against the other is an uninformed one that can cost a bundle down the line.


What do we at PJM recommend? To start with, when the equipment is newer-to-middle-aged, relatively energy-efficient, and properly maintained, repair is usually the better option, especially when detailed preventive maintenance and repair records have been kept.

If it’s an older unit nearing the end of its life cycle, however, the decision-making process is far more involved because the difference between repair costs and purchase price is only one of many factors that go into determining actual value. The key when it comes to older equipment is to determine whether the cost of new equipment sufficiently offsets the price of repair.


As HVAC equipment ages, it breaks down more frequently. Maintenance and repair costs increase, and frequent downtime is disruptive, inconvenient, and cuts into productivity and profit. Some parts and components such as compressors, control boards, drives and coils can be quite costly to purchase and labor-intensive to replace, and can be harder to find as time goes on and equipment gets older. Utility costs are another important consideration, as older units can be huge energy hogs and most new equipment is far more efficient, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per year.


Decision-makers should also calculate the value of new warranties, manufacturer rebates, and energy incentives when it comes to choosing whether to purchase new HVAC equipment or repair the old. PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. can help owners and facility managers determine the value of repair vs. equipment replacement and make their best, educated choice.

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