If you’re like most homeowners, your air conditioner becomes one of your most prized possessions when summer comes around. You may even have a few ingenious DIY tips to fix it should it fail.

But when summer is at its peak, this cooling system is bound to overwork. So, when your air conditioner unit outside starts causing issues, you’re left with two choices: replacing the outdoor unit alone or the entire system. This article will help you decide what to do depending on several scenarios.

Can You Replace Just the Outside AC Unit?

It’s possible to replace just the outdoor AC unit. However, you’re better off replacing both units, especially if you have an old AC system. Here’s why:

Old Indoor Units Do Not Work Well with New Outdoor Units

It’ll be a tall order to try and find a compatible outdoor unit if you have an old AC system. The latest AC units have been created with the environment in mind and use a refrigerant model called 410A. Older models use a refringent called R-22, which the government banned because of the environmental risks it poses.

You’ll Do More Harm Than Good

There’s more to an optimally functioning AC system than refrigerant models. For example, the AC coils, valves, and SEER ratings must match. Mismatched components cause the system to use more energy than usual, raising your energy bill. Also, the units will wear out and lead to an early failure of your HVAC system.

You Could Void Your Warranty

A new air conditioner has a warranty with terms and conditions set by the manufacturer. This is a grace window for free repairs or replacements, provided you meet the criteria. Typically, your outdoor and indoor unit models must match. You’ll void your warranty if you replace just one.

When It’s Okay to Replace One Part of the System

So, how do you decide whether to repair or replace your air conditioning unit? Some instances make replacing only your outdoor or indoor unit a good idea. For example, you may still qualify for warranty coverage if your air conditioner is between 3 and 5 years old. If you’re lucky, the new AC outdoor unit can keep your system running for several years. Here are the steps you can follow:

Determine Your Warranty Status

Your warranty status could mean a world of difference in how much you spend on replacing your outdoor unit. But you need to know whether you’re still within the warranty period. To do this, check the metal panel in your outdoor unit for the model’s number. Use this number to search your warranty status from your manufacturer’s website.

Read Your System’s Terms and Conditions

Most systems come with a hard copy of the terms and conditions. You can quickly access them on your manufacturer’s website too. Find out what the terms dictate about your outdoor unit. If you’re still covered, you have a high chance of having it replaced pro bono without replacing the indoor system.

Reach Out to Your Manufacturer

Contact your manufacturer to start the claim process. The customer service team will also be happy to guide you through the process, and you’ll have the new parts shipped to you in a reasonable time. And because the new outdoor part will match the indoor unit, it’ll fix your air conditioner issues without causing more problems.

Things to Try if Warranty Cover is Not an Option

If you’re not qualified for a warranty cover, you can pursue these avenues to get your unit up and running well again:

  • Find an HVAC Technician

Hire a Charleston, SC, HVAC professional to help you discover what could be wrong. Usually, a malfunctioning outdoor unit has these issues:

  • Broken Compressor

If the compressor is faulty, the indoor evaporator coils don’t cool, causing warm air to blow from your air conditioner.

  • Electrical Issues

A tripped circuit breaker, for example, interferes with powering, causing malfunction.

  • Bad Capacitor

Capacitors store up the energy that powers the air conditioner’s fans. Extreme heat outside and indoor heat can be too much for the capacitor, causing it to fail.

  • Inadequate Power

Any issue that causes low power flow can cause a faulty outdoor unit.

  • Contactor Failure

The contactor controls the fan motor. If it’s not working well, the outdoor fan can stop spinning.

Some outside AC unit issues could be as minor as wrong settings, or the on-and-off switch being accidentally turned off. In any case, an HVAC Charleston SC technician helps you discover more than you can.

  • Replace the Entire System

An entire replacement will take up more work but hiring an HVAC Charleston professional can make an installation that covers your heating and cooling needs for the next decade. Here are tips to help you prepare:

  • Get an Expert Contractor

Your HVAC system could be top of the range, but if it’s poorly installed, you’ll call for repairs soon after installation. Get referrals, if necessary, but you can look for contractors with good reviews online. 

  • Determine the Correct Unit Size

Speaking of professionals, you need one to evaluate and decide what you need. Ideally, they should determine the load calculation achieved by considering the size of your home, climatic conditions, roofing material, unit orientation, and other aspects.

They’ll also analyze your unique needs. For example, does your home have crawl space, is it a bungalow or story home, attic insulation, occupant count, window sizes, and preferred temperature?

  • Consider the SEER Rating

SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures an air conditioner’s efficiency. A good quality air con has a SEER rating of 14 or higher. As a rule of thumb, the higher the SEER rating, the better it is.

Closing Thoughts

Your air cooling and heating systems are all about gaining all-weather comfort. It pays to invest in a sound system and repair and replace it as necessary.

Also, you’ll have a much better time with your AC if you can access expert help whenever needed. If you live in Charleston, SC, Smoak’s Comfort Control is your best bet.

We are a Charleston HVAC company offering top-of-the-line HVAC and plumbing services since 1972. As a third-generation business, we understand how vital an efficient home is for comfortable living. Contact us today for all your HVAC and plumbing needs; we’ll gladly help.