We can all agree that replacing a furnace and an air conditioner at the same time is costly.
However, upgrading your furnace at the same time as your air conditioner is the only way to assure that it operates at peak efficiency.
The issue is that a central air conditioner has a lifespan of about 15-20 years, whereas a furnace has a lifespan of about 15-30 years. Furnaces typically last longer than air conditioners, sometimes more than twice as long.
This post will explain why replacing your air conditioner and furnace at the same time (to form a “matched system”) is the best option. We’ll also discuss why replacing both systems at once may not be the best option.
Why Should Your Furnace and Air Conditioner Be Replaced at the Same Time?
The blower (sometimes referred to as a fan) is a furnace component that delivers conditioned air around your home.
This blower is needed to ensure that the evaporator coil and heat exchanger run at optimal efficiency. It’s also what keeps the air in your house moving.
There are two main parts to a split air conditioner:
- The compressor and condenser coil are located in the exterior unit
- The indoor unit houses the evaporator coil and air handler/blower
While it is usually required to replace both air conditioning components at the same time (in a split system), it is not always necessary to replace both AC components and the furnace.
Even so, the air conditioner will require the usage of the blower motor, which is why upgrading the heating system at the same time is the only way to ensure that the new air conditioner operates at its maximum efficiency.
If you buy a high-efficiency air conditioner with a SEER rating of more than 16, but your furnace has an old blower motor, you’ve got a mismatched system that will lose efficiency. Although it is possible to mix and match systems, it is not recommended, especially if the furnace is over 15 years old.
Replacement of the outside unit without replacement of the blower will result in lesser efficiency, premature failure, and other problems.
When replacing your air conditioner, make sure you replace both the condenser/compressor and the evaporator coil. This isn’t to mean that replacing your air conditioner and heating system at the same time is always the best option.
Remember that a new furnace might cost anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. You can save money by adding a furnace to your air conditioner replacement, which costs between $1,000 and $3,000.
Waiting to replace your furnace makes sense only if it is less than 10 years old. Your furnace will likely endure until your air conditioner needs to be updated again in this manner.
When Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner and Furnace Together?
- If your furnace is over 15 years old, you should replace it.
- If you’re looking for a high-efficiency air conditioner, look for one with a SEER of at least 16.
- If the installation is time-consuming.
- If you want to avoid having to deal with HVAC repairs and replacements for a while.
When Your Furnace and Air Conditioner Should Not Be Replaced at the Same Time:
Only if your furnace is less than ten years old should you consider replacing it at the same time as your air conditioner.
You’re usually better off waiting until your next air conditioner replacement if your furnace is less than 10 years old. This is because a furnace will likely last 20-30 years, whereas an air conditioner should be changed every 10-15 years.
Contact a Licensed Contractor
In the end, the choice is yours, however we strongly advise meeting with a trustworthy contractor before making a final selection. To improve your system’s performance, cut your energy bills, and extend the life of your new system, you’ll need a blower that matches your new air conditioner.