Should I Replace My Furnace and Air Conditioner at the Same Time?

The real answer to this popular question is an uncertain one: the dreaded answer of “it depends.” Unfortunately, it’s one of those questions that require much more information to answer correctly. Every home has a unique heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) situation. In some of those situations, it does make sense to replace both the air conditioner and furnace at the same time. In others, it does not. Let’s take a close look at a few of these key factors and the role they play in making the right decision for your particular home.

Equipment Age

Perhaps the number one factor in deciding whether or not you should replace your air conditioner and furnace at the same time is the age of both pieces of equipment. The average lifespan for an air conditioner is around 10 to 15 years. However, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years, potentially twice as long as the air conditioner.

If you installed a new air conditioner and furnace at the same time, it’s likely that you will need to replace your air conditioner before your furnace. In fact, it’s probable that your furnace could last as long as two new air conditioning units.

A good rule of thumb is that if your furnace is less than 10 years old when you require a new air conditioner, do not replace them at the same time, unless you are upgrading to a multistage or variable speed air conditioning system.

Cost Effectiveness

If, on the other hand, your furnace was installed before your air conditioner, and one of them breaks, it may make sense to replace both your air conditioner and furnace at the same time. If both pieces of equipment are more than a decade old, it’s worth considering replacing your entire HVAC system.

The average cost of replacing a furnace alone can be as much as $4,300. An air conditioner replacement alone can be as much as $7,000. The combined cost to replace both at the same time will be less than replacing both components separately. For instance, adding a new furnace to an air conditioning replacement may run only an extra $1,000 to $2,500.

Efficiency Gains

The other factor to consider in this equation is if you decide to invest in a high-efficiency air conditioner such as a multistage or variable speed system. These more efficient systems usually have a SEER rating of 16 or higher. These systems require a matching furnace that has a variable speed blower in order to minimize energy consumption.

Our team at Morrow Mechanical wants to help you understand your unique HVAC situation. Give us a call and we’d be happy to come out, evaluate your equipment, and offer suggestions. You can trust our professionals to give you an honest assessment with pros and cons so you can make the best decision for you and your family.