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Need to replace your heater?  Here’s what you need to know.

There is a fine line between needing to service your HVAC system and needing to replace it completely.  Many components in a complex system like this can fail, but they can also be easily replaced to get you up and running again with minimal discomfort to both your schedule and your wallet.  When a system needs to be replaced completely, however, it can feel like an overwhelming decision.  Dowd Heat & Air is here to walk alongside you and make that process as simple as possible.

Anyone who lives in Tulsa or the surrounding areas is well aware of our incredibly unpredictable winters.  Record lows can be set one winter, followed by a year of nearly zero precipitation or strong winds.  Many of us remember the blizzard of 2003 and the ice storm of 2007, and with hard-hitting winter seasons like these it’s sometimes hard to tell what our systems will need in advance.  No need to fear, though.  Our experts are extremely knowledgeable of the conditions going into each season, we watch the weather closely, and we can quickly assess your system to let you know whether or not it needs to be replaced.

A quick note if you do hear those magic words:  “You need a new system.”

While this seems like a daunting and expensive task, please understand that new HVAC systems are so advanced that you will be purchasing something that may outlast other parts of your house, like your appliances, roof, etc.  With proper upkeep & maintenance, a new system will save you more money in the long run than you spend in the short term.

How do we check to see if your system needs to be replaced?

Systems newer than ten years old can be easily repaired and maintained for many more seasons to come.  These newer units are easy to secure parts for and the replacement times can be quite quick.  Have your technician check to see if your parts are under warranty, as some units have excellent warranties that can save you hundreds of dollars while they are in effect.

During our initial service call, we will check to see what overall condition the system is in.  It’s no surprise that regular maintenance will help you two-fold.  Having your HVAC unit regularly serviced and properly maintained helps the system run more efficiently, and keeps your home comfortable..  The unit itself runs more smoothly, fail safes that are put in place for the protection of your unit and your family will be more accurately deployed, and alerts will be sent that are more meaningful and helpful.

Proper maintenance of your new system, should you find yourself needing one, will also extend the warranty on your parts.

Common Winter Repairs

  1. If a technician informs you that your heat exchanger is damaged, this will need to be replaced.  We do not repair these and hope that they keep functioning; we simply replace them.  This is an important part of your system, and just like you wouldn’t “repair” every part of your vehicle and still confidently expect it to keep you safe…a heat exchanger exists on a similar safety plane.  Should you be alerted that your heat exchanger needs replacing, it is wise to consider that not doing so could cause irreparable damage to the rest of the system and could even result in a fire.
  2. If a technician mentions that your air filters need to be addressed, this is an easier conversation to swallow.  Sometimes, a blockage can be the root cause of all our problems, and there are many times when only new filters are needed.  Dowd Heat & Air will happily educate you on when and how to check your filters, and provide you with the best type of filter for your family’s needs. If you are out of town for months at a time, for example, it might be wise to choose a longer-lasting filter that does not need to be changed out as often.  If you have a lot of pets or easily-triggered allergies, something that can act as a sanitizing barrier might be the best choice.  Whatever your needs are, our energy audits can help you discover what solutions best fit your household’s needs.  Remember that something as seemingly simple as clogged filters can easily cause your system’s failsafes to trip and your system will shut down.  It won’t be until a technician arrives to address that safety trip that you will be back up and running, so choosing the proper filters and changing them as recommended is a great way to keep your unit healthy and performing optimally.
  3. Is your HVAC system mostly electrical in nature?  Much like a car, the components of these newer systems have many elements that can fail during a harsh Oklahoma winter.  All it takes is one power outage for a smart system to shut itself down until a technician tells it to function again.  This may seem like a nuisance during the winter, but it is for your safety that these measures are in place.  If you receive a diagnosis of an electrical component needing to be replaced, your best bet is to replace it.  Some of these components are only meant to function until they fail once.  Often these are the least expensive things to replace, and it is best to do so.

The Importance of Service Agreements

When you think of your HVAC unit, what comes to mind?  Sometimes, nothing at all!  As homeowners, we would rather partake in the other attributes and luxuries of our homes than to think about maintaining a heat and air system.  Though if this system fails, it will cause the biggest interruption to your quality of life.  For this reason, putting yourself on a service contract is an easy way to get the maintenance of your investment out of sight and out of mind.  Consider it as another monthly or yearly expense for maintaining your home and lowering your risk of surprises and setbacks down the road.

If an electrical component is near failing, for example, it can be caught during a routine maintenance visit.  These visits should be placed on your calendar alongside your lawn maintenance, and should not be skipped if only for the sheer number of times we catch things before they cause an issue.  We can easily see if a motor is struggling and replace it before that cold spell hits and shuts the whole thing off, completely!

Other benefits of service contracts include the constant supply chain issue that nearly every industry faces from time to time.  During the pandemic, for example, there was a 16-week lead on parts that applied to a wide array of industries.  One of the benefits of a service contract is that we can order that motor that may not be running at top speed before it fails.  This way, even if an item had to be ordered, your unit is still working for you while the new part is in transit.  When things are caught ahead of time, they are no longer an emergency.  This entire process saves you money, as well, because both the client and the service provider are not rushed.


Picture of Abby Dowd

Abby Dowd

Business Developer | Dowd Heat & Air