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Can I Replace Only Part of My HVAC Unit?

Can I Replace Only Part of My HVAC Unit?

Today’s savvy Buford homeowners are looking for ways to save energy around the home. An HVAC unit is a costly investment. When one component breaks down, it’s tempting to think that replacing only that part is the better, more wallet-friendly option. In most cases, it’s best to replace the entire HVAC unit when either the interior unit that houses the air handler and evaporator or the exterior unit that houses the condenser breaks down.

Can you replace only the outdoor component if it breaks down (and leave the indoor unit intact) and vice versa?

The answer is “yes, you can replace only the part of your HVAC that breaks down.” Most experts, however, will recommend that you replace both components at the same time. That’s because HVAC companies manufacture their equipment to operate to exact capacity and efficiency based on the interworking of the equipment’s components. If you replace only one component, the equipment won’t operate as efficiently as possible, and it could cause costly problems down the line.

Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is the rating system utilized across the industry to reflect system efficiency. Once a new standard is adopted, older-standard systems are no longer sold. If an old unit rated SEER 10 breaks down and you install a SEER 13 outdoor unit to replace it, you’ve got a recipe for trouble. When the components are mismatched, the potential for wear and tear increases. You’ll compromise your investment in the new component because the equipment is more likely to break down.

Here’s a look at what can happen when you ask mismatched components to work together:

  • Efficiency: If you combine an indoor coil that is set to achieve a specific SEER rating with an outdoor condensing unit that achieves a higher SEER rating, the HVAC system won’t achieve that higher rating. The older coil can’t keep up with the heat absorption of the newer, higher-efficiency coil. You will have invested in a condenser, but you won’t get your money’s worth in terms of energy savings.
  • Capacity: The same principles hold true for capacity as for efficiency. With mismatched components, the system’s heating and cooling capacity is diminished.
  • Equipment failure: In more than half of systems that employ mismatched components, the compressor fails within 2 years of installation. The old, indoor coil restricts the new, outdoor condensing unit, which puts stress on the compressor. Sometimes it causes a refrigerant leak.
  • Warranty: Most manufacturer warranties are voided by mismatching. If the compressor fails, manufacturers have tests to determine the source of the failure; mismatching isn’t covered by standard warranties.

For optimal success and return on investment, don’t replace one component without replacing the other. Upgrading the entire HVAC unit results in a reliable, efficient, safe heating and cooling system. Casteel Heating, Cooling and Plumbing helps homeowners in Buford and the surrounding areas get the most from their investment in an HVAC unit. Call today with your questions.