Does it Make Sense to Replace Your Heating and Cooling Systems Together?

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Updated on Oct 23, 2023
5 min read
Does it Make Sense to Replace Your Heating and Cooling Systems Together?

HVAC systems consist of heaters and air conditioners that work in tandem to provide a comfortable indoor temperature for your Bay Area house. It is true that you generally just need one of them at a time, depending on the season but it is imperative for both to be maintained, serviced and functioning well at all times.

If you are facing problems with your heating system, for instance, and feel that it is time to change it, you may want to keep the air conditioning as it is. Most people will feel like changing a working system is an unnecessary expense. But if you replace only one, indoor comfort may be compromised. Air conditioning and heating systems must be a perfect pair. Hence, if you are replacing one, it is wise to replace the other as well.

Two systems as one matched pair

Although a residential HVAC system consists of an air conditioner for cooling and a furnace for heating, often these two may be sharing an air handler or a blower that circulates air from either system. Split air conditioning systems have an outdoor and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit compresses the refrigerant gas and releases heat from your home. The indoor unit absorbs heat from air. This indoor unit often shares an air handler with the heating system.

In such a case, if you are looking to replace your air conditioner that has been malfunctioning, you will have to change the outdoor unit without changing the indoor unit. This will be an obvious system mismatch and can cause trouble later.

What problems would you face with a mismatched system?

If you actually go ahead and change just the outdoor unit of your air conditioner and continue using the old indoor unit, your energy bills won’t be as low as you would expect them to be. As the indoor unit will not be able to keep up with the new outdoor unit, you will face system lags.

The new outdoor unit will also put a strain on the older indoor unit, even though it may be running smoothly. This results in early wear and tear of parts. This kind of problem will always occur if your new system is not designed for the same load as the old one.

By investing in a new outdoor unit, you may be expecting efficient cooling and more comfort around the house. But in a mismatched system, the evaporator and air handler will not be able to function as well as the outdoor unit. Hence, you may experience hot and cold spots around the house.

An important thing to consider is that manufacturers and HVAC contractors know what kind of problems mismatched systems can bring. So, they may not offer warranties on such a purchase.

Installation costs

Replacing just one system instead of both heating and cooling systems together will not save money. The installation of a new air conditioner in a mismatched system is complicated and expensive, because you will end up paying more in future for repairs or re-installation.

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