Can I Replace My Furnace Without Replacing My Air Conditioner?

Can I replace my furnace without replacing my air conditioner?

When it comes time to replace your central air conditioning unit, people may think they have to replace their AC and furnace at the same time.  To receive some of the great rebates that are out there, yes, you would need to get the whole kit and kaboodle at the same time.  But for all practical reasons, no, that isn’t necessary, and there are some benefits to doing it this way.  I’ll explain why.

While it’s always a good idea to replace the two parts of the AC at the same time, the furnace, the third part, only has one unit that needs to be replaced.

Imagine the three main parts of your central air conditioning system.  In the heating season, you have a gas flame that typically that heats up a metal box.  Inside that same unit is a blower motor that sends air across the hot metal box which emits warm air into your rooms. And that’s how you get heat.

In the air conditioning season, that firebox is still there physically; it’s just not being heated up.  No flame is on at all, actually.  But you will notice the outdoor AC kick on.  That outdoor AC coil is connected to another coil on the inside of the house where your HVAC system is.  The outdoor unit has the hot coil which is removing heat front the house while the indoor coil is the cold coil.  The blower sends air past the cold coil and on to the rest of your home.

Back to the question “can I just replace my furnace?”  Now that you know there are three individual units, the furnace, the indoor coil, and the outdoor coil, you should know that any of those components can be changed out one at a time.  But before you change it, see if there is anything you can do to understand why your furnace may be blowing cold air.  It may still be repairable!

You may have a house where the AC system is newer than the indoor furnace.  When it comes time for that furnace to be replaced, you may not be ready to change out the AC components.  That’s fine.  Just remember, if you’re looking for rebates through your local utility company, they may want you to replace all three components.  Here’s a breakdown of SMUD’s Heating and Cooling Rebates for those here in Sacramento County .  They want to see a “matching” system that has a blower motor specifically designed for the other parts of the system.  They want the manufacturer of all three components to be the same.

One advantage of replacing just your furnace is the ability to save money.  Whereas an entire system will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, replacing just the heater becomes only a fraction of that.  Financing $6,000 becomes a lot easier for those looking for a break in tight times.

Another advantage of replacing the furnace is that today’s furnaces all come with ECM motors. They are more efficient to run than the older PSC style motors that use a capacitor to help regulate its voltage.  Those capacitors are also just another repair part that can fail often.  So, no more of that $300 expense every few years.

In California, all of our furnaces have low NOx standards, which reduce nitrous oxides that escape into that atmosphere causing acidic rain, smog and other nasty side effects with our environment.  Replacing your furnace will actually doing a big favor to not only you but others around you in this world.  Check out this blog I wrote on the topic of Low NOx Furnace Requirements. You know, it’s your money and your budget.  Some companies will tell you this is not possible.  If you want an honest opinion about what you can and cannot do with your HVAC system concerns, give us a call at tel://1-916-877-1577 or contact us here.

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