It is obvious to all of us that it can be very costly to replace a furnace and an air conditioner at the same time.
However, your new air conditioner will only work at its rated efficiency if the furnace is replaced at the same time.
Unfortunately, there is a problem because the average furnace will last between 15 – 30 years, while the average central air conditioner is likely to last 15 – 20 years. A furnace will generally last longer than an air conditioner, perhaps twice as long.
Here we will explain why it is a good idea to replace the air conditioner at the same time you replace the furnace so that you can have a system that is properly matched. We will also tell you why you may not always wish to have both systems replaced at the same time.
Why the air conditioner and furnace should be replaced at the same time.
The fan, or blower, which is usually part of the furnace, will blow out the conditioned air into your house.
The blower is needed to create the right airflow, so the evaporator coil and the heat exchanger work properly at their rated efficiency. The blower will also push the air through the house.
A split air conditioning system has two basic parts:
- The Outside Unit contains the (1) condenser coil and (2) the air compressor.
- The Indoor Unit contains the (3) evaporator coil and (4) air blower/handler.
- Both parts of the air conditioning units must be replaced at the same time if you have a split system, but you do not always need to replace the air conditioning units and the furnace at the same time.
The air conditioning system will use the furnace blower motor, so if the furnace is replaced at the same time, this will guarantee that the new system will work at its rated efficiency.
If you decide to install a high-efficiency air conditioner that has a SEER rating above sixteen, and you have an old blower in your existing furnace, your system will be mismatched and will therefore not work efficiently. It is possible to do some mixing and matching of systems, but this is not recommended if your furnace is more than fifteen years old.
If you replace the outdoor component while keeping your old blower, the system will be less efficient, it may have many problems, and can even fail prematurely.
Note: Always be sure to replace both parts of the air conditioning system (evaporator coil and condenser/compressor) at the same time. However, this does not mean you always need to replace the air conditioning and heating system at the same time.
Remember that replacing the furnace alone will cost you between $2,000 – $5,000. If you add a furnace replacement to your air conditioner replacement, the overall cost will be less, between $1,000 – $3,000.
When should you replace the furnace and air conditioner at the same time:
- If the age of your furnace is over 15 years.
- If the SEER on your new high-efficiency air conditioner is over sixteen.
- If the installation of the air conditioning system is complicated.
- If you want an HVAC system that you will not have to worry about repairs for a long time.
- When you should not replace your air conditioner and furnace at the same time:
The only situation in which you should not replace your furnace at the same time as the air conditioning system is replaced is if your furnace is less than ten years old.
If you have a furnace that was installed less than ten years ago, you are probably fine to wait to replace it the next time you replace your air conditioner. This is because your furnace can last another twenty years, while your air conditioner will probably need replacement in ten or fifteen years.
Ask For A Free Estimate
You will have to make the final decision yourself, but the best way to proceed is to talk to a reliable HVAC contractor first. You will need to have a blower that can match your new air conditioning system if you want the system to be efficient, last a long time, and reduce the cost of your heating and cooling bills.