Replacing Indoor and Outdoor HVAC Components: When to Do It

Rusty AC Condenser Side Grate with Dirty Cooling FinsWhen a new cooling system is on the agenda, you may have heard that replacing air conditioning units can be done separately. The two major components, the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser, may not need replacement at the same time, and having the option to keep the functional components could save time and money.

So, how do you know when to replace different components?

When Separate Replacement is Possible

The conditions under which it’s possible to save one unit and replace the other are limited. Central air conditioners have an evaporator coil inside the air handler and a condensing coil inside the outdoor condenser. Each must be compatible with the other in terms of their refrigerant capacity and type. If they’re mismatched, they won’t work together efficiently or at all.

When Separate Replacement isn’t Possible

As simple as that sounds, it’s not always possible. If the model of your air conditioner isn’t available anymore, chances are replacing air conditioning units separately won’t be possible.

Being Sure

The most expedient way to find out if your system still has a matching unit available is to work with your HVAC contractor. He or she will be able to access the AHRI’s (Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute) database for matching systems.

If your system is older or minimum energy efficiency standards have increased since you installed your current system, odds are you won’t be able to replace just one component. HVAC manufacturers can’t continue to make systems that don’t meet the federal efficiency standards established by the U.S. Department of Energy.

You may be able to replace a component, like a compressor or a blower motor. If your system is aging and has repeated breakdowns, it might be better to install a completely new one rather than move forward with replacing air conditioning units.

For more information, contact NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating, serving homeowners in Palm Beach, Indian River and Martin Counties.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties in Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 772-207-1658. 

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