I am going to talk about money; something that’s near and dear to everyone’s heart. It’s kind of your investment in your home, in your property. It’s one of the third major purchases this year—heating and air conditioning. It’s a major mechanical portion of your home. It needs attention just like your car. If you don’t pay attention to these things, they will come back to haunt you. So, we are talking about the heating and air conditioning system: maintenance and repair. The whole thing with maintenance is to take care of it while you have it. The whole thing with replacing it is “when you don’t.”
The largest investment people make in their lives is there home. The average is between $400,000 and $800,000. Because of the economy, people are trying to stay in it longer, trying to get more mileage out of it, get more for there investment. The average is about eight to ten years on average and the goal is getting ten to fifteen years out of it; the longevity of the home.
The second major purchase is the car (I believe the average is about $35,000.) It used to be about a three to five year investment. Val just told me this morning that it is probably closer to five to eight years now on average that people are keeping their cars. So they’re trying to get more longevity out of it.
The third major purchase in someone’s life is the heating and air-conditioning system. It can last a long time too; probably a lot longer than you realize. A furnace can last between twenty and twenty-five years. That’s pretty good pluck for your buck. The air conditioning system is an average of fifteen years. So, when is it time to replace it? Well, when it starts to cost a little more to repair than to replace it—when it starts to get a little old.
When it starts to cost more to run is another reason. That’s one of the major problems with utilities going up and up. So, if you can maintain your equipment you’re much better off. 56% of our expenses as a homeowner go to our heating and air conditioning system. This might not be as much for you but this is an average. That is a considerable amount that we are paying to the utility company. If we maintain our system and keep it running efficiently we can save a lot of money. This is, again, going towards the longevity of the equipment.
So the question is when to replace it. Well, I have been dealing with a real estate agent recently and it seems that when people are buying and selling homes is when they’re upgrading. The new prospective owner is impressed. It’d be nice if you could buy a new furnace and have the comfort, low operating cost, and warranty of a new furnace while you’re still living there instead of paying for somebody who’s going to buy it and you’re never going to see it. So, you can actually save money by replacing your old equipment. The chart here shows the average operating costs for a three-ton system. The three-ton system is the average system; it goes 3,4, 5 tons for the larger homes. An old 8 S.E.E.R (Seasonal Energy Efficient Unit) which is equivalent to miles per gallon in a car, as opposed to a new 13 SEER unit (which is the minimum) ((I recommend going higher)) is going to save you $195 per year.
Another reason for changing it now is the future cost of new equipment. Copper costs, coolant costs, transportation costs are all going up. It’s always a good idea to look at where you are right now. Some warranties require you to maintain your equipment. You want to make sure that the maintenance program is one in which they are going through and testing all the major components inside. The air conditioning unit is, on the outside, just a box, but inside there are many components that can fail. These are the components that we can test. We can let you know if something is on the borderline. We can let you know ahead of time so you can take care of it rather than to react to a problem.
We offer an 18-point tune-up for $79. Some manufacturers require it on warranty. They are under a lot of pressure with the economy. When they are on this warranty they are going to be checking everything to make sure they are definitely liable. If you can’t prove that you have maintained your equipment, there goes your leg to stand on. With a car, imagine if you don’t change the oil and you go back to the manufacturer and want a warranty…it’s not going to happen. So, maintain your heating system. 56% of your costs are related to heating and air conditioning. You can save hundreds of dollars yearly in routine maintenance. The important thing is to test each component to make sure it’s working fine, Furnaces can last up to 25 years, air conditioning units about 15 years. A little bit of prevention can go a long way.
Does anyone have any questions?
You talked about the SEER system? I am familiar with that going from a 13 to an 18. What are the incremental costs to move up to each respective unit?
Based on a 3-ton, going from a 13SEER to a 14SEER is about 350 to 400 bucks. The 5-ton is a bit more.
…and a 3-ton unit handles about a 1600 sq. ft. house?
Yes, about 1500-1600.
I assume the 3 ton/ 5 ton doesn’t represent weight. What does it represent?
One ton of air conditioning is equivalent to one-ton block of ice. It is an old throwback to the old icehouse days. That’s how they would measure it. So if you needed a 3-ton cooling system it would be equivalent to having 3 one-ton blocks of ice in your house.
2920 S. Greenville St. #C,
Santa Ana, CA 92704