First time flipping a house? What to consider when it comes to heating and cooling

r22 dry charge

Got yourself a fixer upper? Here’s what you need to know when it comes to heating and cooling…

Renovating an older home can present many challenges, especially when it comes to heating and cooling. Whether you’re creating your dream home or hoping to sell, the furnace and air conditioning unit need to be working properly. But, did you know that an upgraded HVAC system can also increase the value of a home? Investing in a high-efficiency system could increase your home’s value by the amount you invest or more.

To repair or to replace? Some things to consider…

To decide whether to repair or replace, first evaluate the home’s existing HVAC system. It’s important to consider the age and layout of the house you’re renovating. Also think about and jot down your goals and budget for the project.


Repairing the home’s existing HVAC system could be the most affordable option if the system is newer. However, more often than not, upgrading to a high-efficiency system will be the smartest choice in the long run, especially if the repairs are going to cost you more than a third of the cost to replace the system. Why? Repairs usually don’t add the same value for future buyers as upgrading the system.


If you decide to replace the home’s HVAC system, a central heating and cooling system is usually preferred. A modulating HVAC system can provide many advantages, including control of indoor humidity. By upgrading to two-stage equipment, which operates on either medium or full capacity, you receive the added benefits of reduced cycling and temperature swings, increasing comfort at a moderate price. There is also variable speed equipment, which closely matches the load requirement. While variable speed equipment may have a higher initial cost, operational efficiency and system protection are improved through advanced diagnostics. A properly installed unit will also properly dehumidify the air, creating a more comfortable home.

Other options…

If your home is very old, it may not have the duct-work required to run a new central HVAC system, and installing these ducts can be expensive. While a ductless system is not recommended for most homes, there are options to avoid adding duct-work, including mini-split systems, window units, and evaporative or “swamp” coolers.


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7 thoughts on “First time flipping a house? What to consider when it comes to heating and cooling

  1. 1st flip! The 1,200 sq foot house was built in 1983. It has central heat and air, but it also has the floor heaters with the covered coils that works very well. There has been a hole cut in the wall with a window unit installed. From my understanding the owner (passed away) never used the unit because it was to expensive to run. We turned it on and it works perfectly. Because it is so old, should I just go on and replace it? Do I pull the heater things up out of the floor? Of course I am removing the window unit.

  2. Newley installed systems would be worth much more to home values if the appraisers added to the home sale value based on system SEER, AFUE, EER, unit age and remaining factory warranty. In my experience they do not, the home either ‘has central air and heating’ or does not. No ‘additional dollar value’ is added for age or performance , it might be noted thus speed the sale, but does not add real appraisal dollar value.

  3. you have not mentioned the situation i came across in the past two years when trying to decide to repair vs replace. the gas, r-22 is not going to be available in a couple more years for any use whatsoever and so all airconditioners using that type of gas will soon need to be replaced totally

    • Good question. Yes, R22 refrigerant is phasing out with the last full residential AC systems manufactured in 2009. R22 refrigerant has become very expensive making the repair versus replace question for R22 units much easier. If the AC system is problematic it’s likely best to just replace the unit with a new system using R410A (the current standard for residential AC systems).

      However, a well maintained R22 system in good condition could just be left alone to save on budget in a house flipping situation. Very few home buyers understand refrigerants making it difficult to justify a switch to R410A (the current standard for residential systems) without an additional value adder.

      Of course there is also the option of a system upgrade. Depending on the property you could upgrade with a new higher efficiency and comfort system, picking up the R410A at the same time.

      I hope that helps.

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