Should You Replace Your Furnace And Central Air System At The Same Time?


In most cases, your central air system and your furnace need to complement each other. If you're replacing or installing one or the other, you have to consider both. This can cause people consternation. But you should understand why it's important to consider both, even if you just want to replace one.

Looking at the Whole Picture

The obvious connection between your HVAC components is that they share the ductwork. That alone is cause for evaluation since your ducts need to be of adequate size for all of your HVAC equipment.

In addition, they both must use the same electrical system. That means it's possible to have an electrical issue if one of the HVAC components has far different power requirements than the other.

The not so obvious connection is the shared indoor cabinet. Your furnace and AC both share the same air handler. The coil cabinet of the AC, which contains the evaporator coil, typically sits on top of the furnace. The evaporator coil serves both heating and cooling mechanisms.

Besides all of that, keep in mind that you're looking at three main parts, not just two. The AC has an outside unit as well as an inside unit. So it's possible to swap out either one part of it, or both.

Potential Problems With Mismatching

  • A loss of energy efficiency – Even if you choose a more energy efficient component, there's a possibility you'll lower the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. If one unit is trying to deliver your air in a cleaner, more efficient way, but the other parts of your system aren't cooperating, then you lose the energy benefits.
  • A loss of functionality and early breakdown – Mismatched systems can create stresses that cause problems that lead to malfunctions. For example, your new AC may require a lot less energy to do what it does. However, your older furnace may have to work harder to keep up with the new AC. This can lead to accelerated wear and tear on smaller components that make up your HVAC system. Mismatched parts can also void your warranty, or part of it.
  • Added costs across the board – There are a lot of costs associated with mismatched equipment. Sometimes it's not easy to see, mainly because you have to look at the long run. Replacing one component at a time means you're making three separate payments over time. Each of those payments will go towards the equipment and the labor. If you purchase a matching system, you make one payment and won't have to worry about replacing each component separately over time. You will also get to enjoy the full energy efficiency that comes with a fully tuned and matching system. Beyond that, you keep your warranty intact, which can save you money on repairs in the future.

But Do You HAVE to Replace Both?

No, you don't always have to replace both the furnace and the AC. You can replace one, as long as you make sure it will work well with the remaining pieces of equipment. This is not something you should try to figure out on your own.

Ask an expert if you can upgrade just one part of your HVAC system. An HVAC installer can figure out if it's feasible or not. With all that said, you should definitely consider a full HVAC system replacement if you want to avoid potential problems.


21 March 2016

Understanding Advances in HVAC Systems

When our air conditioner broke last year, I was fairly confident that we would be left trying to choose a similar system for a bunch of money. However, our friend who works as a general contractor explained that there were all kinds of neat advances in HVAC systems that might help us out. He explained that we might be able to enjoy a quieter system or one that filters our indoor air more effectively. We liked the sound of that, so we started shopping for a new system. After finding an air conditioner that was perfect for our place, we started this blog to educate other homeowners about new technology.