When John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical first started as a company we began the learning process of purchasing the right service trucks. Starting a company is costly, so we were forced to purchase cheap trucks and that resulted in some mistakes. One of the worst purchases was an ambulance. It was in great shape but had a gas-guzzling motor and proved expensive to maintain. This story gets worse.

About the time I had decided to get rid of the ambulance, a car ran a red light and badly damaged it. No one was hurt. The ambulance damage was $3K. I was on vacation and a decision was made by others to repair it. Insurance paid $3K to repair that $2700 ambulance that we soon sold for $2K. That was bad business.

During those first years of business, we struggled to get the right service trucks. We had no experts offering advice, so we were forced to learn by trial and error. Today, our John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s service trucks are mini-warehouses full of 90% of the parts needed on service calls.

Some may wonder why I tell that story because it shows flaws in past decisions. It’s important to admit when we make mistakes and be able to laugh at ourselves. We are all human, and occasionally make mistakes.

The good news is there are experts available to help us make the right decisions to avoid mistakes. A good example is in repair or replacement decisions of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Your HVAC equipment may be operating well at this moment, but will it be tomorrow?

Do you have an expert you can trust to help you make the right decision to repair or replace your HVAC equipment? Do they have a good reputation?

Do you trust their technicians? If you look their technicians in the eyes and ask questions, do they have your best interest in mind? Are they believable? Are they well trained? Your gut feeling is probably accurate. Being a farm boy from Rising City, Nebraska helps me read people. I only do business with people I trust.

Once you get past the trust questions, it’s time to decide if you need to repair or replace your HVAC equipment. Typically, it makes sense to repair it, but in certain scenarios, that decision may change.

John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical uses a point system when deciding if it makes sense to repair or replace HVAC equipment. The basic formula is adding points for the cost of a repair plus the age and condition of equipment to see if that sum amount indicates replacement or repair makes the most sense.

The average life span of HVAC equipment is 15 years. That’s if the system was properly installed, has no factory defects, and is maintained properly.

If HVAC equipment was compared to a car it would “travel approximately 90K miles a year.” That would be the equivalent of 1,350,000 million miles for average equipment before it is replaced. Moving parts like fan motors and compressors wear out. Age is important.

As HVAC equipment ages it struggles to provide comfortable cooling and remove humidity. A well-designed and maintained HVAC system in a properly insulated home will efficiently maintain comfortable temperatures and humidity levels. Does your system always provide efficient comfort?

Is there any visible damage to the HVAC equipment? Is there rust or corrosion? Are there bent fins on the condenser coil that would reduce efficiency or potentially cause refrigerant leaks?

Unusual noises from the compressor may indicate it is ready to fail. Typically, it makes sense to replace equipment rather than install a new compressor.

Refrigerant leaks need to be located and repaired if that makes financial sense. Systems that lose all the refrigerant can be damaged in many ways, including a condition that results in “green slime.” These systems typically fail in a much shorter period.

Another important thing to consider is if the equipment has R22 refrigerant that is getting phased out by the Federal Government. R22 refrigerant has become costly and less available.

John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s technicians will evaluate all of these scenarios and then share their expert opinions with you. If you decide to replace your HVAC equipment, they will contact John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s Comfort Consultant that will perform a heat load analysis of your home and provide a free quote for the installation of Good, Better, and Best equipment.

If you follow this advice, the odds are now in your favor of making the right decision!

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