If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s good advice when you should let something be, but it doesn’t always apply to HVAC systems. When your furnace or air conditioner breaks down, it may seem like the appropriate course is to replace the system that’s broken and keep the one that ain’t -- but there are a lot of reasons why it may make sense to replace both simultaneously.
Size Up Your Systems
Whether you ultimately replace one system or both, it’s important to involve the expertise of licensed HVAC technicians each step of the way. A trained tech may find an effective repair for that air conditioner you thought was toast, buying you more time to plan for replacement. And when installation day arrives, it takes an expert to ensure that your systems are calibrated for maximum safety and efficiency.
If your tech informs you that there’s no avoiding replacement for one of your systems, you should give your remaining system an honest and accurate assessment. Is it keeping your home comfortable? Are you satisfied with your utility bills during the time of year you use that system?
It’s also important to know the age of the unit. Air conditioners usually need replacement after 10 to 15 years, but furnaces may still be effective after 20 years of service. The closer your still-working unit is to its average lifespan, the more inclined you should be to replace it at the same time you replace its companion.
The Match Game
Even if you’re satisfied with your functional system, there’s a good chance you can save money and energy in the long run by replacing both systems with a matched furnace and air conditioner.
Matched systems typically use the same air handler, which reduces equipment cost, size and energy use. They’re also designed to work together in a way that reduces wear-and-tear on parts when compared to mismatched systems. And that’s not to mention the significant boost in energy efficiency that comes with upgrading both systems to the latest technology.
If you choose to replace only the broken unit, you won’t necessarily be able to count on receiving the maximum energy efficiency gains from the new unit. This is especially true if your new system is connected to an aging air handler.
Efficient operation isn’t the only way to save with matched HVAC systems. The simultaneous installation of a matched air conditioner and furnace is almost always less expensive than installing two systems a few years apart. And because matched systems are designed specifically to work together, you may find that their warranties cover more parts over a longer period when compared to individual systems.
The ideal way to manage this upgrade is to start planning for it now, while both of your systems are operational. Talk to your HVAC tech about the condition of your systems after your next routine tune up, and verify the age of your systems if you’re unsure. This can help you estimate a timeframe for replacement, and you can use the meantime to save money, research financing options and watch for sale prices.
Only an experienced technician can help you size up your systems and identify your replacement options. For a no-obligation consultation, call your local home comfort experts today.