Did your air conditioner die putting you in the market for a new AC? Making matters worse you probably had no warning or time to prepare for this day. So not only are you searching for a new AC, but your home is getting more uncomfortable by the minute.
Replacing an air conditioner isn’t something the average homeowner does everyday, in fact many only replace a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system once or twice in their lifetime. So it stands to reason that without doing a little homework you’re not going to know what air conditioner is right for your home. Continue reading this article as we guide you through things to consider during your AC search.
The answer… it depends. Most well maintained furnace have a longer lifespan than an air conditioning, typically lasting 20-30 years. If your furnace hasn’t been the source of any issues and is less than 15 years old then you really shouldn’t have to replace the furnace. That being said the furnace still needs to be considered when selecting your new AC.
Here’s why your furnace plays a role in your air conditioning decision. Your furnace contains the blower or fan that supplying the conditioned air your feel coming from your vents. It’s this component that plays into the cooling equation and can determine what air conditioner makes sense for you.
If you plan to purchase a air conditioner providing efficiencies of 16 SEER or less your furnace will not restrict your cooling options. In this instance the brand of furnace is not an important matter either. Most air conditioners performing at 16 SEER or less don’t have the bells an whistles like staging compressors or communicating components, so fan capabilities and furnace brand aren’t important.
There are a few reasons when your furnace may need to be replaced and here they are:
If your furnace is getting older, especially if it’s nearing the 20 year mark, it’s probably best to plan on replacing now that your AC also needs to be replaced. If your furnace has required repairs and been the source of brake downs of your HVAC system, add it to your request for air conditioning replacement estimates. Typically you will save some money by replacing both systems together rather than doing so separately, so if the timing is right take advantage of the savings. You’ll also have the relief of knowing your entire heating and air conditioning system is new and dependable.
It’s not everyday that you replace your heating and cooling system, as we mentioned above. That’s why we suggest that customers take the time to consider their options rather than regret a knee jerk decision that will affect your comfort for years to come. Upgrading your equipment with higher efficiency equipment typically means an upgrade in comfort as well. Things like staging compressors give your air conditioner multiple levels of cooling capacity and allow your cooling system to keep your home more comfortable at a wider range of temperatures. Staging air conditioners however rely on variable speed furnace fans to provide these efficiency and comfort improvements. If your furnace doesn’t have a variable speed fan these air conditioner components won’t make sense and projected efficiency ratings will not be reached.
Typically there are few times when a furnace and air conditioner need to be of the same brand. However when looking to achieve the higher efficiencies and comfort levels communicating furnaces and air conditioners are usually the answer. Most brand equipment utilize a high end thermostat along with specific control boards within their high efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment. These components are the brains of your comfort and allows the system to make ongoing changes to optimize your comfort and efficiency. Since air conditioner, furnace and thermostat interact with each other it’s essential they are all able to tie in together, which means they need to be the same brand or at a minimum the same brand family.
This brings us back to the original question, “Does my furnace need to be replaced also?” Hopefully it’s clearer now why the answer is “maybe” or “it depends”. Even when it comes to the scenarios above the decision is ultimately your choice. It’s your home and your comfort, but a trusted HVAC contractor can help by providing expert knowledge and important product information.
At Bryant our goal is to help our customers better understand the options available to them. We offer free estimates for heating and cooling replacements as well as new construction bids. If you’re interested in learning what options are available to you complete our contact form to request a free estimate visit.