Have you been told that when you replace a furnace, you also have to replace the air conditioner and vice versa? Many homeowners have heard this before, and while it’s not strictly true, it is a fact that people do often replace both HVAC units at the same time.
But just because that’s what normally happens doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do, and there are different factors to consider when deciding if you need to replace your heating, your A/C, or both.
The Age of Your Units, Location of Your Home, & Retirement Plans
Choosing to upgrade your air conditioner, furnace, or both isn't an easy decision, and there are many factors at play to consider. The issue that holds the most weight is the age and condition of your current appliances, because if your A/C and furnace are dying, then you’ll have to replace them both.
That being said, if one is reaching the end of its life, but the other is still in its prime, then you don’t necessarily have to upgrade one when you do the other. Where your home is located is another thing to consider, because the closer you are to a service area, the cheaper the installation will be.
However, the converse is also true, and if you live in a rural area far from a local HVAC company, then installation and service fees will be higher, and you can keep your costs lower by replacing both units at the same time and only having to pay one technician one time to come to your house for the installation.
Finally, retirement is another thing you'll want to think about because when you're retired, you're not going to want the headache of an A/C or furnace that’s always breaking down and in need of service, nor are you going to want the extra expense of replacing an expensive appliance. Therefore, if you're retirement is just around the corner, it can make sense to upgrade both units now.
A Technician Can Help You Weigh Your Options
Furnaces and air conditioners have different lifespans and maintenance needs, and a trained technician will be able to diagnose any problems, give you a remaining lifespan estimate for your current units, and help you work through your options.
The technician can also give you an idea of how efficient your HVAC system is, and how much you could save on energy bills by upgrading.
Though Money May Be the Deciding Factor
As with most major decisions, money will be a major element that could swing the pendulum in one direction or the other. For example, if you only have $2,000 to spend, then you probably can’t replace both units now and pay for the installation, so it'll make sense to replace the appliance that’s in most need of an upgrade and wait on the other one.
However, it’s worth noting that you might be eligible for certain discounts or rebates if you replace both at the same time, especially if you opt for energy-efficient units.
You don’t always have to replace a furnace or air conditioner just because you're upgrading the other, and an HVAC expert will be able to help you decide what's right for you and your home. Things you'll need to think about include the age of your current system, the location of your home and the cost of installation, your retirement plans, and your budget.