• Replacing Versus Repair – Why, When and Who


    This is a dilemma you as a homeowner will face again and again!
    Should that furnace that’s 12 years old be replaced, or does it make sense to pay the $500 repair bill? What about the roof that’s 15 years old and needs $2,000 in repairs?
    How much of your investment will you get back if you decide to sell the house in the next few years?

    So what advantages might there be to replacing something versus making the repairs?

    These are the types of issues covered in this home repair guide.
    The tips here will help you decide when replacement is the right choice or when it makes more sense to have a repair  carried out for you

    In addition, a comparison of costs for replacing and repairing is included since price is a huge factor in this decision.
    Some repairs should strictly be done by a professional with the right training, coupled with specialist tools and no less important, certification.
    Others can be DIY projects, and we’ll let you know your best option for each major repair.

    Replacing Versus Repair Tips

    Roof Repair

    In the best climates for shingle roof longevity, they last 17 to 22 years without significant repair issues. Even 30-year shingles are typically replaced before they reach that their full life expectancy.

    In hot, sunny climates, a quality shingle might make it to 20 years, but most are replaced at 10 to 15 years. Severe winter weather with freeze and thaw cycles will also diminish a roof’s lifespan.

    Most home maintenance experts that are not roofing contractors suggest it’s time for new shingles when 15 to 20 percent of them are showing age. The age might appear in cupping, cracking, extreme loss of granules or coming loose.
    If you have a leaking roof  in several spots due to these issues, then do a little shingle replacement, but do it immediately because once the shingles begin to lose their effectiveness, one bad storm or tough winter season can lead to widespread shingle failure and subsequent damage to your home.

    Of course, if the appearance of the shingles has diminished, and you’re not happy with it, the roof is a candidate for replacement.

    When these issues will begin to show up on your home is a factor of your climate, the quality of the shingles and whether or not they were installed properly.

    Finally, never loose sight of the fact that the appearance of the roof will be a major determining factor
    for prospective buyers when it is time to sell the property. Oft times total replacement can be money well spent.

    Roof Repair and Replacement Cost

    The cost of replacing only damaged shingles is two to three times the cost per shingle of adding a new layer of material.
    For example, depending on the price of the shingle, new installation costs $175 to $400 per square (100 square feet). Replacing the equivalent of a square foot of shingles scattered over your roof will cost $500 to $800.

    If you’ve had roofing experience, repair or replacement can be a DIY project, though not recommended on very steep roofs.
    Our guide “Emergency Roofing Repairs for a Shingle Roof” offers more information on this common home repair topic.
    When you’d rather hire a pro for the job, get several estimates from roofing contractors in your area to find the best prices.

    HVAC Repairs

    Major mechanical issues typically start happening when furnaces, heat pumps and central air conditioners pass the 10 to 12 year mark. Cheap ones break down earlier, and the best often run trouble-free with just maintenance for 15 years or more.

    Here are other issues to consider about making HVAC repairs:

    • When you intend to sell your home in less than 4 years, repair makes more sense
    • When your current HVAC system is inefficient and you want to lower your energy use and bills, replacement becomes more attractive, especially when a move is not planned
    • When your system doesn’t offer the climate control you want, the desire to replace it with a two-stage or modulating system will influence your decision
    • If the repairs in hundreds of dollars plus the age of the HVAC component are more than 20, replacement is a better choice.
      Examples might be a 14-year old furnace with a $600 (six hundreds) repair estimate or a 10-year old heat pump with a $1,000 repair estimate.
      Depending on your budget, desire for efficiency/comfort and whether you plan to move or stay, your number might be higher or lower

    HVAC Repair and Replacement Costs

    The most common repairs to furnaces, central air conditioners and heat pumps cost $175 to $600.
    When something major like a heat exchanger or compressor fails, replacing the unit is almost always a better choice than repairing it unless it remains under warranty (five to 12 years from most manufacturers).
    Major HVAC repairs are usually repairs not to attempt on your own and will need a professional.

    Replacement cost varies widely based on the size of the unit, its efficiency level and the climate control (single-stage, two-stage or modulating) that it offers. Expect to pay $1,500 to $6,000 per HVAC unit being replaced, with $2,500 to $4,000 being the average.

    Additional Principles to Think About

    A rule of thumb for many common household repairs is 50% — if the repair cost is 50% or more of the replacement cost, then the wise choice is to replace.

    A second principle is to consider factors other than price. These include:

    • Being more inclined to replace inefficient items such as HVAC components, a water heater, doors or windows with energy-saving alternatives
    • Choosing to replace items such as the roof, windows, doors, cabinets, countertops or flooring when you don’t like its appearance and it has obviously past its used-by date
    • Choosing repair more often than replacement when planning to sell a home in the next few years

    Home Repair: When Hiring a Professional is the Right Choice

    Depending on your skills and experience, you might be able to complete a wide range of home renovations and get results that are professional or close to it.
    However, there are certain repairs that even handy homeowners call the pros for and for good reasons

    HVAC and water heater installation: Gas HVAC components and gas appliances bring with them the threat of a gas explosion and carbon monoxide leaks. Handling refrigerant requires certification and tools the vast majority of homeowners don’t have. Incorrect installations are the cause of many deaths yearly

    Major electrical work: The threat of electrocution is high when working on a home’s electrical box.
    This is one area most of us leave to a professional contractor.
    Installing a bathroom light fixture when the wiring is in place or switching out a bad outlet can be DIY jobs. Just make sure the power is off, and lock the box if there’s any chance power could be turned back on inadvertently during the repair.
    For serious jobs, or when in doubt call an electrical contractor.

    Major plumbing repairs or installations: Installing a faucet or toilet is a DIY project.
    Rerouting water or sewer lines or repairing drain lines are much harder projects, and a professional plumber is the best choice in most cases.
    The average DIYer simply does not have the tools to effectively do the job

    Repairs on a steep roof: If your roof’s pitch is 5/12 or steeper, falling off of it is a very real possibility. Let pros with experience and safety harnesses tackle the work.

    Taking down large trees: Fact, more than 15,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every year for injuries from chain saws.
    Falling from trees or being hit by falling trees or branches result in many more injuries and some deaths. Of less importance but worth considering, not felling a tree or large branch properly might lead to damage to buildings, cars and other property.
    Finally. waste disposal which can be a major issue on its own

    Anything you’re not prepared to do: When you don’t have the skills, tools or comfort level, then consider calling a contractor to do the work for you. In the first instance all it takes is a couple of phone calls to get a quote (usually free) to help you decide one way or the other.
    This is especially true when the work is complex, risky or requires expensive tools and equipment to complete.

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