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Do I Need to Replace My Indoor & Outdoor HVAC Units at the Same Time?

Are you stuck replacing an indoor and outdoor HVAC unit at the same time? You may be wondering why your Sacramento HVAC technician recommends replacing both HVAC systems, even if one is still working.

A split system is comprised of four major components that work together. The outdoor unit is the air conditioner, which holds the compressor and the condenser coil. The indoor unit is the furnace, which includes the evaporator coil and is attached to the air handler. The air handler is the third major component, and it blows all the hot or cool air into the house. The fourth component is the air duct system itself, which delivers the conditioned air throughout the house.

Typically, the outdoor unit, the air conditioner, will last around eight to 15 years. The indoor unit, the furnace, will last 14 to 20 years. This is a big difference in service life. Most likely, the AC will give out before the furnace. So why do HVAC technicians want you to replace both the indoor and outdoor units at the same time?

HVAC technicians often recommend replacing both the AC and the furnace to ensure the best performance, a more cost-effective install, and compatibility.

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Matched HVAC Units Perform Better

Outdoor HVAC units are designed to work with corresponding indoor units to deliver the ideal system performance and efficiency.

However, often, the mismatch between the indoor and outdoor units will compromise the dependability and efficiency of this new setup. An AC is set up for a particularly sized duct and air handler. If the air handler’s motor can’t keep up with the AC, inefficiencies on both ends start to develop.

If you upgrade your AC and not your heater, an HVAC technician will typically have to replace the air handler with one that will accommodate both the indoor and outdoor AC and furnace. Replacing the air handler, which is typically attached directly to the furnace, takes a lot more installation work, increasing the cost of the installation.

In the end, you are likely to spend a lot more on this mismatched system than you would have spent if you had replaced the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit.

There are times when replacing only one unit will work out fine. Your HVAC technician can tell you if the new AC unit is compatible with the rest of the system or not.

Efficiency Ratings Are Moot When Units Aren’t Matched

One of the primary reasons why Sacramento homeowners buy new HVAC systems is the desire to benefit from the superior efficiency of those newer appliances.

Our expert technicians at Gilmore Heating and Air caution that buying an outdoor unit with a given SEER rating, such as 18 SEER, is unlikely to result in the expected energy savings. This is because the outdoor unit will not match well with your current indoor unit.

You Miss Out on the Latest Technology Benefits

Over the years, the technology upon which HVAC systems are manufactured has made tremendous strides.

For example, the noise from an HVAC system made 20 years ago is much greater than the noise made by a more modern HVAC system. Modern blower motors no longer require lubrication—they are either lubricant-free or are sealed by the manufacturer in an enclosed system.

New HVAC systems also communicate much more information to the thermostat control device, especially smart thermostats. This extra information allows smart thermostats to warn you of potential problems, remind you about upcoming maintenance, and better manage your HVAC system for more efficient conditioning.

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You Save When You Replace Both Units

Your current outdoor unit was probably installed together with the indoor unit. This means that they are of the same age. Chances are the indoor unit is also aging and will need to be replaced in the next few years as well.

Residential AC service technicians advise that you are likely to incur installation costs twice. First, when you replace just the outdoor unit, and then shortly after, when the indoor unit also reaches the end of the road, and must be replaced too. Replacing both units will save you time and money in the long run, as removing and installing both units at the same time saves a lot of money on installation costs.

New Units Come With New Warranties

One major benefit of installing a new HVAC system is that it will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. You can also get a service guarantee from the installer of that new system.

AC professionals caution that if you replace the outdoor unit alone, then the indoor unit will soon be out of warranty since it isn’t as new as the outdoor unit you have purchased.

The reason that matters is that there is a risk that many HVAC system manufacturers may void the full warranty on the new outdoor AC unit if that component isn’t matched with the indoor unit. This means that even though you just purchased a new outdoor AC unit, you may not benefit from the manufacturer’s warranty guarantee.

If you still have concerns about replacing your HVAC system, contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing. Our experienced professionals will assess your HVAC replacement needs and recommend the most cost-effective system to address those needs.