Can You Replace Just The Outside AC Unit?

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The US Department of Energy suggests that the HVAC system be replaced every 10 to 15 years. The system can last over 15 years, depending on the unit’s quality and maintenance schedule. Book professional HVAC tune-ups biannually to help extend the lifespan of your air conditioner or heater. Make sure you do this before the start of summer and winter. Remember that some cases require replacing the entire HVAC system instead. When this happens to your air conditioning unit, you probably wonder, “Can you replace just the outside AC unit?” Read on to learn more about this query in detail.

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Can You Replace Just The Outside Air Conditioning Unit?

No, you can’t. Per the recommendations of HVAC experts, you should replace the indoor unit as well when replacing the outside air conditioning unit. This is entirely up to you. However, not replacing both can result in problems like frequent failures, reduced efficiency, and higher cooling bills. Here are several reasons you should replace both indoor and outdoor units simultaneously:
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The Outdoor & Indoor Air Conditioner Coils Need To Match

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, or AHRI, specified that outdoor air conditioners normally run with specific indoor units or air handlers. This means that the outdoor unit needs to match the indoor unit to ensure they fit and receive optimal efficiency. Replacing the outside unit only can lead to a mismatched system that cannot meet your home’s heating and cooling requirements. Mismatched cooling units can lead to inefficiency and other problems, including reduced indoor comfort, high operating costs, and premature cooling system failure.

Air Conditioner SEER Ratings

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SEER, short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is the air conditioner’s cooling output in one cooling season versus its energy consumption per year. The HVAC system’s SEER determines how efficient it is. The minimum SEER rating in the US is 13, per the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The indoor and outdoor air conditioning units should have the same SEER rating to achieve optimum efficiency. It is highly likely that the SEER rating is different if you only replace the outside unit. As a result, you will have an incompatible system and all the issues that come with it.


R-22 Refrigerant Phaseout

More and more people are leaning towards sustainability. As a result, more HVAC manufacturers adopt eco-friendly materials and designs to help save the environment. An example of this is the old HVAC models that utilized the R-22 refrigerant. This coolant is a toxic agent that contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer, as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states. Manufacturers are now required by federal energy laws to use a safer alternative, which is the R-410A refrigerant. If your HVAC system still uses R-22, consider upgrading to the new refrigerant. This helps improve your home’s efficiency while ensuring you and your family’s safety. Therefore, replacing only the outdoor unit means it will be a mismatch with the indoor unit.

Air Conditioner Manufacturer Warranty

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New HVAC systems have factory or manufacturer warranties. These cover any malfunctions caused by flaws or defects in factory-installed parts. However, the manufacturer or dealer may not honor the warranty or deny warranty repairs if you have mismatched outdoor and indoor units.

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Early Air Conditioner Failure & HVAC Repairs

A matched HVAC system that is adequately maintained has a service life of 10 years or more. Meanwhile, a mismatched system is likely to work harder to compensate for its inefficiency. This only significantly shortens its lifespan. The whole system will become inefficient when you replace only one unit. This can lead to frequent HVAC repairs and premature system breakdown. Replace both the indoor and outdoor air conditioning units at the same time to avoid this situation.

Pros Of Replacing Both The Indoor & Outdoor Air Conditioning Units

Some of the benefits you get when you replace the indoor and outdoor AC units simultaneously are:

  • Save Money On Cooling Costs: A mismatched system will have low efficiency regardless of its SEER rating. This will likely result in a unit that works harder to reach the desired cooling. As a result, it will consume more energy, and you will notice a significant increase in your energy bills over time.
  • Better Home Comfort: A well-matched air conditioner has high efficiency, so it can cool your home correctly and provide you with much-needed comfort.
  • HVAC Warranty: The manufacturer’s warranty remains valid only if the indoor and outdoor air conditioning units match. Therefore, replacing both units means the warranty remains valid on your new AC units.
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Tips To Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Prevent early air conditioner failure and replacement by using these maintenance tips on your cooling system:

  • The HVAC air filter must be cleaned or replaced regularly.
  • Ensure that the fan works correctly.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Hire an HVAC professional to check the condensate drain. They can also unclog it, if necessary.
  • Make sure the indoor and outdoor units of your AC system match.
  • Adjust the temperature settings of your HVAC system. Reduce its operation when not in use.
  • Conduct regular HVAC inspections.
  • Schedule air conditioner tune-ups at least once a year. It is recommended that you book it every spring before the summer season begins.

These actions may not stop system failure, but they can help increase your HVAC unit’s service life. They can also improve your efficiency and reduce your cooling bills. Ensure that you contact a qualified HVAC contractor for proper maintenance and repairs. They know all details about air conditioner maintenance.



This article lists several reasons you should replace your indoor and outdoor air conditioning units at the same time. Remember that units made by different manufacturers are considered incompatible, although they might have the same SEER rating. Hire a licensed HVAC contractor to replace your system to ensure proper matching of the indoor and outdoor units.

Call R.F. Ohl For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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When you need top-notch heating and cooling services in the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, call R.F. Ohl. We have the best highly trained and professionally certified technicians on staff for all your HVAC service needs, including tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Rest assured, all our skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced technicians can service your HVAC system correctly.

R.F. Ohl offers highly competitive HVAC service rates in the locality. Our maintenance services help ramp up your home’s energy efficiency and comfort while lowering your energy costs. We can also recommend the best HVAC repair or replacement solution that fits your needs and budget. All our work is guaranteed. Book your next service appointment with R.F. Ohl today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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