Should You Buy the System or Just the Unit?

May 24, 2016

Buying an HVAC system means just that: a complete system. While a central air conditioner is made up of two apparently separate units-the indoor and outdoor halves-it's actually a single, interdependent system engineered to function as a whole. Anyone who recommends replacing only one unit or the other to save money isn't doing you any favors. In fact, such unprofessional advice should be considered a red flag and a good reason to seek a more qualified, reputable second opinion elsewhere. When buying an HVAC system, remember that the indoor and outdoor components should be replaced together. Here's what can go wrong if you don't:
  • Poor energy efficiency and high operating costs. Mixing new and old units in a single A/C system means certain critical specifications like the system's SEER efficiency rating are no longer valid. The energy savings and lower monthly bills you're expecting won't materialize. In fact, combing a new unit with an old unit often produces even lower efficiency than the old system you were trying to upgrade in the first place.
  • Less indoor comfort. The indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil in a central system are designed and engineered as a matched set. Replacing only one or the other creates a mismatch that degrades system cooling performance as well as the humidity reduction function.
  • Shortened service life. The new unit may fail well before it's expected service life and require early replacement. Mismatched coils cause the system to run extended cycles, prematurely wearing out the compressor, the most expensive component in the system. What's worse, replacing only one-half of the system generally voids the warranty on the entire system - both the old and new unit - so you'll be stuck with the very costly bill.
  • No rebates available. Rebates for upgrading to a new HVAC system may be offered by a variety of local, state and national government sources. Unless you only upgrade half of the system, that is. To qualify, virtually all require that you replace the entire system.
Turn to the professionals at Lozier Heating & Cooling for reliable, trustworthy advice about buying an HVAC system. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "valdis torms/Shutterstock"