Has your air conditioner quit just when you need it most? With temperatures reaching into the upper 90s this early in the summer, air conditioners across Ohio are receiving quite the workout already this season.
The summer heat has a way of driving an air conditioner over the edge, and now you are faced with purchasing a new one. Should you also consider replacing your furnace or air handler at the same time?
Here are some items to ponder when deciding whether to replace both systems:
- How old is the furnace? Air conditioning units typically last 10 to 20 years, while furnaces live approximately 18 to 20 years, depending on what type of system you have. In general, furnaces have a longer lifespan, but if your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, the furnace is probably close in age and has seen a good amount of wear. Replacing both units will provide you with reliable service long into the future.
- Replacing both at the same time allows for a matched system that provides peak performance and efficiency. The efficiency rating assigned to a system is usually based on matched system performance. The minimum efficiency rating for modern cooling system equipment is 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) – this will be your lowest-cost equipment. If your current system is more than 15 years old, it’s probably about 9 or 10 SEER, so upgrading to a 13 would still be an improvement over that. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient (and more expensive) the system will be.
- Consider the cost. When looking at replacing the cooling system at the highest efficiency level, most customers will replace the furnace or air handler at the same time as the condenser and coil. A full system replacement can cost from $5,000 on the low end to $15,000 on the high end. Therefore, it might be more cost-efficient to replace the entire system at once. The cooling part of the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system works with the furnace or air handler inside the home. The three main components are the outside condenser unit, the indoor coil, and the furnace or air handler. The total cost of the job depends on the type of system you choose. You also have the option of replacing only the indoor coil and outside condenser. A basic condenser and coil replacement can cost between $2,500 to $5,000, based on the size and type of equipment. Pricing depends on the unit, any additional installation items, and the cost of the installation.
- How long do you plan to be in your current home? For a lot of people, the length of time they plan to stay in their current home plays a big part in deciding on equipment. Investing in the best system available may not make sense if you plan to move in two years, but a newer, high-quality HVAC system is a great selling point when putting your home on the market. Most customers choose a “middle of the road” system.
- Other factors to consider when deciding what equipment to replace include window quality, insulation, and whether you have a single-story or a two-story home. Different types of units include window units, split systems (ductless or central systems that are installed as inside and outside units), a central system (usually combined with the heating system to cool a whole house), and portable units.
The answer boils down to the efficiency factor and how much you want to spend. Spend time researching the best options for your family and your home.