Replacing Your AC System: Do You Need To Replace Your Heating At The Same Time?

If you have a central air system, you have what is known as an HVAC system: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. An HVAC system is usually made out of two primary components: the furnace (heat) and the air conditioner (cold). It's recommended to replace both of these systems at once. If you need an AC replacement, you likely need a furnace replacement. Here's what you need to know.

Packaged Systems Now Exist

If your home was built before the last ten years, you will almost always have what's known as a "split system." A split system is as described above: one unit for cooling, one unit for heating. Packaged systems exist now, though, whereas they did not before. A packaged system is an all-in-one system, which costs less than a complete split system, and is easier to maintain.

Improving the Efficiency of Your Home

Even if you aren't going to install a packaged system, there are advantages to replacing your furnace and AC at the same time. By replacing the entire system, you're able to better take advantage of the energy-efficiency and new technology of modern systems. If you're running an "unmatched" system, neither system may be able to run at their peak efficiency because they need to compensate for each other.

Saving Money through Rebates

Many new HVAC systems have rebates associated with them because they are energy-efficient. However, you often need to purchase the entire system to get these rebates, rather than purchasing them in part. Rebates change from year to year, depending on the tax credits available; you can check with your local HVAC showroom to find out more.

Getting It All Done at Once

One of the most compelling reasons to get an AC installation at the same time as a furnace is that all of the work can be done at once. Often you can save money by bundling the labor of these two tasks, and you will need to eventually replace the furnace regardless.

The Downside to Replacing Your Furnace

There is one downside to replacing your furnace: furnaces generally last longer. In older systems especially, an AC can be expected to last about 10 to 15 years whereas a furnace can last 20 to 30. It's mechanically much easier to heat air than it is to cool it.

That means you could replace your AC twice in the time it takes your furnace to break down. 

Whether you should replace both systems at the same time really depends on the system you have. If both your furnace and AC are approaching the end of their usable life, getting a matched set will usually be cheaper. An air conditioning repair company can tell you more.