Is Furnace Replacement Required When the AC Breaks

Many of us will face the fact that our central air conditioners will fail this cooling season. One of the most common questions that usually arises when the contractor is at your home, is whether or not you really have to replace the furnace when the central AC system breaks! The short answer is no… As long as the furnace and the blower system are working fine, they probably don’t need to be replaced. The long answer however, is much more complicated and deserves more explanation!

In this Gas Furnace Guide article, we want to help you understand the reasons the gas furnace might need to be replaced, when your home AC unit fails. If you have been told that you MUST get the furnace replaced at the same time as the air conditioner system, learn more about the role of the furnace in the central ac system, and always get at least 3 estimates from qualified, local contractors! (Get Free Quotes Now)

Should You Replace Furnace with Air Conditioner?

Use the simple guidelines below to help you with answers to the questions.

Is the Furnace Broken?

  • Yes – That’s an easy one… Replace it! If the gas furnace is no longer working, it only makes sense to replace it at the same time.
  • No – Move to the next question.

Is the Furnace Repair Cost More than $750?

  • Yes – Tell the Contractor you want a replacement quote as well as the repair quote.
  • No – Even though its less than $750, take the next question into account as well.

Is your Gas Furnace More than 8 Years Old?

  • Yes – If the furnace is more than 8 years old, it makes sense to have the contractor provide an exact quote to replace it at the same time. Since they are going to have most of the duct and the evaporator coil disconnected from the furnace already, its very low cost for the contractor to replace the furnace at the same time.
  • No – You can easily get 10-20 years out of a properly installed gas furnace system. If yours is less than 8 years old, ask the contractor for detailed reasons why it should be replaced.

Is the Old Furnace Properly Sized for the New Air Conditioner System?

  • Yes – If the gas furnace was designed to move the proper air flow (CFM) and meets the requirements of the new air conditioner system, it may be fine.
  • No – If your new AC unit is larger capacity that the old furnace is designed to handle, it MUST be replaced or the coil will just freeze and your home will not cool properly. Learn more.

Does the Manufacturer Recommend a Matched System for Warranty Purposes?

  • Yes – Just about all furnace manufacturers recommend that you replace the system in whole. Ask the contractor where the brand you choose stands on the issue and make sure you ask if NOT replacing the unit will effect warranty, or the efficiency of the new system.
  • No – Next…

Does the Furnace Need to Replaced to Achieve Proper Efficiency?

  • Yes – Many newer central ac and heat pump systems rely on specific functionality of the furnace or heating system, in order to achieve the manufacturers designated efficiency. This could range from the blower capacity or variable speeds, to proper electronic needs that must be met to allow the compressor to function as planned. If you are upgrading to a higher efficiency cooling system, chances are pretty good you need to replace the furnace also.
  • No – If efficiency is not an issue, maybe the contractor has other reasons.

What did The HVAC Contractor Recommend?

Plain and simple – the HVAC Contractor is your trusted guide in this situation. If, in their own professional opinion, you should change the furnace at the same time as the air conditioner, simply ask them to explain why?!

As we mentioned earlier… ALWAYS get a second opinion if you have any doubts!

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