Should You Buy the System or Only the Unit?
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Should You Buy the System or Only the Unit?


Buying an HVAC system naturally comes with an expectation of lower operating costs and enhanced indoor comfort. You’re making a major investment and you have the right to receive the improvements in energy consumption and reliability promised by the manufacturer’s specs and efficiency ratings. However, there’s one scenario where buying an HVAC system may not deliver the expected upgrade.

A central air conditioner is divided into two discrete but interdependent units: the indoor half incorporates the air handler, blower and evaporator coil and the outdoor half that includes the compressor and condenser coil. To get the results you’re paying for, the entire system must be upgraded as a whole, not just one unit or the other. Here are some of the things that can go wrong when buying an HVAC system and only one unit is replaced.

  • Lost efficiency. Every A/C comes with a SEER efficiency rating prominently displayed on the yellow Department of Energy sticker. The SEER specification, however, assumes you are replacing the entire system, not just half. When only one unit is upgraded, the official energy efficiency estimates no longer apply. Not only will you not gain expected improvements, you may in fact get lower efficiency and higher operating costs than the old existing system.
  • Performance shortfalls. The cooling performance of an A/C depends on critical interaction between the evaporator coil and condenser coil. These two components are precisely engineered as a matched set. If only one coil is replaced, the resultant mismatch degrades cooling efficiency as well as humidity reduction, leading to a less comfortable indoor environment.
  • Increased wear and tear. New components that conflict with old components expedite system wear and lead to shortened expected service life. Mismatched coils, in particular, over-stress the compressor, the most costly part of the system.
  • Loss of warranty coverage. Upgrading only half the system usually voids the warranty on the new unit installed as well as any coverage remaining on the existing system.

Make sure you’re getting all the improvements you expect from buying an HVAC system. Contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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