Can I Save By Replacing the Outdoor Unit on an Old AC System?

Replacing components on your AC unit could cost more money in the long run. Consider installing a new AC system to reduce energy costs and save money.

Is your air conditioning unit no longer working? Are you faced with either replacing the entire unit or replacing certain components? Before you decide to replace any components on your air conditioner, there are a number of factors you need to consider. While replacing the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system may seem like an easier, cheaper option, it could end up costing you more time and money in the long run.

Air conditioning units are designed to function with specific compatible components, and replacing piecemeal components can cause malfunctions and reductions in efficiency. In fact it will often be more cost-effective for you to replace the entire AC unit.

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

In order to make an informed decision on whether or not to replace your entire air conditioning unit or simply replace certain components, you should understand the ins and outs of how your AC unit functions.

Essentially, your air conditioner uses a condenser, a compressor, refrigerant coils and an air handler to remove heat from the air in your home. First, refrigerant flows through copper tubing, absorbing heat at the evaporator coil and transferring it to the outdoor unit of the air conditioner. At this point, the compressor squeezes the refrigerant at the condenser, releasing the heat outside.

This process seems simple enough, so why are matching components so important?

The Importance of Matching Components

There are several reasons why it can be difficult to properly match old components with new components:

  • New components are designed to achieve higher seasonal energy-efficiency ratios, which older components are unable to achieve
  • New coils are more efficient than older coils, and combining new and old coils can reduce cooling capacity, increase energy consumption and cause motor failure
  • New coils are designed with different grooves and spacing, which makes them physically incompatible with older coils
  • New units include thermal expansion valves that provide enhanced control of refrigerant with a shut-off system that limits the movement of refrigerant to the compressor, which in turn can damage old compressors


The Breakdown of Mismatched Components

Many manufacturers have conducted tests on how mismatched components affect the function of AC units. These tests have found numerous issues, including:

  • Reduced operational efficiency
  • Reduced cooling capacity
  • 45% chance of the compressor breaking down within a year

These are significant functional problems that can occur when new components are introduced to an older air conditioning unit. Before you rush to replace the outdoor unit of your air conditioner, consult an HVAC expert who will understand the effect this could have on your system. Replacing components may be cheaper now, but it could cost you down the road. Call ACS today to schedule a consultation and find the best solution for your AC unit.