Replace Your Air Conditioner and Heat Pump
You’ve done all the home diagnostics and had a service technician to the house. They deliver the bad news — it’s time to replace the air conditioner or heat pump. Ouch. That is going to hurt the budget. Then the technician says you should replace both the outside and inside units together. Double ouch.
Anyone’s first reaction is going to be “Why? Only one unit needs to be replaced!” When the outdoor unit of your HVAC unit is failing, it may be tempting to save money by replacing just the one unit. While this is possible, it’s highly discouraged to do this. Why? There are four main reasons:
Inside/Outside HVAC Units have a Matched System Design
All outdoor cooling units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and ideal performance. Air conditioners and heat pumps may “work” with other indoor units, but the result is a compromise in overall system performance.
Non-matching units slowly wear on each other. Because the older model is less efficient, it will stress the whole system. There is a higher risk of failure in the short-term when a new unit is paired with older units. If the system fails, you will have to replace not just the older unit but very likely the newer unit, as well.
Design Advances over the Last 20 Years
Indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances. Replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time ensures that your HVAC system is running on the latest technology to make your home comfortable and your family healthy.
Higher Cooling and Heating Efficiency
The cooling and/or heating efficiency rating assigned to a given air conditioner or heat pump is based on matched system performance. While you may gain higher efficiency by replacing only the outdoor unit, the efficiency levels (and savings) will not be as high as with a matched system.
That means if you bought an air conditioner or heat pump with a 19 SEER rating to help you save money on monthly bills, the unit will reach that efficiency only if paired with a matching indoor unit.
If your outdoor heat pump or air conditioner unit is 10 years or older, it’s time to replace it anyway. The indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear. You’ll probably have to spend the money to replace the indoor unit shortly thereafter, and that means paying installation costs twice. Replacing both ensures you will have an efficient, dependable system for a longer period of time.
A new unit also gives you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit and the outdoor unit gives you added peace of mind, knowing the warranty covers everything.
Plus, some manufacturers won’t extend full warranty to a heat pump or air conditioner that isn’t attached to matching equipment.
At first, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain. But it’s only a bargain until you consider the lower efficiency, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership associated replacing a single unit. It may cost more to replace an entire system, but this gives you more efficiency, reliability and comfort.
Replacing just the outdoor unit might appear cheaper right now, but long term, it will only cost more money. Replacing both units may seem costlier, but a matched design system will deliver cost savings well beyond the extra expense.
Article adapted from http://www.lennox.com/help/faqs/replacing-air-conditioner-units.