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Air conditioners are complex devices that contain several key components. Each of these components must work well in order for your AC to properly control the temperature inside your home. In some cases, the outdoor unit on an older air conditioning system — which contains a compressor and a condenser coil — breaks down before the indoor unit, which contains an evaporator coil. If this happens to you, you might be tempted to replace just the outdoor unit and leave the indoor evaporator in place. However, for a number of reasons, this attempted solution may cause significant short- and long-term problems.

Understanding How Air Conditioners Work

When you turn on your air conditioner, heated air pulled from the interior of your home passes through ducts to the evaporator coil, which contains a refrigerant vapor. This vapor gathers heat from the air and rises in temperature. Next, it passes to the outside compressor, where it gets squeezed (compressed) and reaches an even higher temperature. The hot vapor then travels to the condenser coil, which releases the heat and turns the refrigerant into a cooler liquid. This liquid travels back inside to the evaporator coil, where a fan circulates cooled air to your home. As it moves through the coil, the refrigerant liquid turns back into a vapor and the whole process begins again.

The Importance of Matching AC Components

In order for your air conditioner to function properly, each of its main components must be in good working order. In addition, the evaporator in the inside unit and the compressor and condenser in the outside unit must operate in a coordinated manner. This means that each of the components must “match” the other. If one of the components doesn’t match the others, you can easily develop a range of problems. Common issues include a reduced ability to keep your home cool, a significant loss of energy efficiency and much higher chances of experiencing an AC breakdown in the near future.

If you only replace the outside unit of an older air conditioning system, odds are very low that you can match the new compressor and condenser to the old evaporator in the inside unit. Reasons for this problem are technology-based. Simply put, the technologies used to create modern, high-efficiency AC units don’t mesh well with the technologies used to create older, less efficient units. Attempts to combine new outdoor components with old indoor components will typically make your home less comfortable and set you up for future, needless repairs.

Replace Your Entire AC

While it will cost you more up front to replace all of the components of your AC system, you will likely save quite a bit of money in the long run. You’ll also ensure the comfort of your household and increase your peace of mind. To learn more about air conditioning replacement, contact our expert staff. You can also follow us here for more information on how to successfully manage your indoor climate.