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When you're searching for a new HVAC system, you might have the idea of mixing different brands. You've researched AC's - and you have a specific model in mind. Now, it begs the question, should they be the same brand - or can you choose different ones? If that's what you'd like to know, we've researched the matter for you!
HVAC professionals generally recommend buying a furnace and AC of the same brand. However, there's little-to-no downside if you choose to go with a different one. At most, you'll be sacrificing efficiency and capacity.
If you go with another brand of furnace or AC, it should work with your current system as long as the coils and blowers are of the proper size.
Now that you know it's possible to purchase different brands of furnaces or ACs, you might want to know how much efficiency you're going to sacrifice. We'll also go over why professionals recommend getting HVAC equipment of the same brand.
In addition, we'll discuss if it's a good choice to replace one of the two or replace the entire system. If you'd like to learn this and more, keep reading ahead.
Same Brand vs. Different Brands
Two circumstances will put you in this situation - you need to replace either the furnace or the AC or, you want to pick specific systems because of a recommendation. Regardless of which applies to you, the consensus between HVAC professionals is that you don't need the same brand for the systems necessarily. However, it might be better for you to do so.
The Case for Purchasing the Same Brand
Both furnaces and ACs can last more than 10-15 years. However, technology isn't perfect. So, one of them might malfunction before the other. In this case, you might want to take note of the brand of your existing HVAC system. For most homes, you'll find that the furnace and AC are from the same brand. And, there's a good reason for that too!
It's crucial to note that there's a heavy emphasis on the term system. When you hear the term HVAC systems, it refers to the different appliances that work together to control the temperature in your home. Your furnace and AC work independently. But, they use the same distribution system - like vents and ducts - to cycle air into your home.
In that regard, we can get a better sense of why professionals would recommend using the same brand. When you purchase a furnace or AC of the same brand, you guarantee that it will be compatible with the existing system. But, that's not the only advantage of using the same brand.
HVAC professionals suggest that manufacturers will only test within their own catalog of products. The benefit of this is an AC and furnace that can work as efficiently as possible.
You can think of it in terms of the Apple ecosystem. For example, an iPhone can work seamlessly with other Apple-related products. Once you try to work with something outside of it, it can be a bit troublesome.
You'll need a bit more knowledge to get things working correctly. Likewise, if you're purchasing a different brand of AC or furnace, you'll have to consult with an HVAC professional. This way, they can make sure it is compatible with the existing system.
Purchasing a Different Brand
As mentioned, purchasing the same brand isn't a requirement. You can opt for a different brand if the blower, coils, and wiring are compatible. In this situation, you might suffer a loss in efficiency. It means you might sacrifice how fast the system cools or heats your home. The reason is that the furnace or AC will work harder to accommodate the other.
Still, it might not be because the furnace and AC are mismatched. It could also be because of the age difference (new system working with old). Regardless, if you're mixing and matching, you might void your warranty with the manufacturer. Additionally, other HVAC professionals suggest you might also miss out on rebates.
Therefore, if you're buying from a different brand, you need to consult a professional. You can ask what brands will work well with each other, what components will need replacement, and what works best for your situation.
Risks of a Mismatched System
Now that we've established the arguments for both cases - let's go over what happens if you happen to mismatch the furnace and AC. There are a few things that can happen if you mismatch a system:
- It won't work at all.
- It will work for a short while and then malfunction.
- The energy efficiency won't match the label.
It means you will have to spend extra to do the job over again. You'll have to pay more for multiple installations after components continually fail. If you go with a matched system, you're less likely to be in this situation.
Can I Replace Just the Furnace Without Replacing AC?
Now that brings us to the situation where you might want to replace one without the other. More specifically, can you swap out an old furnace for a new one - without replacing an AC that's still in working order? The answer to this question will depend on who you ask.
Some would argue that it's possible to replace the furnace without needing to replace the whole system. But, the reasoning should make sense. It would mostly depend on how the evaporator coil is doing and if there are any leaks.
Others would claim that it would be a better idea to replace them together. The reason is that it will guarantee your new equipment will perform at the energy efficiency on its label. Again, it's a case of new technology has to work with old. In this situation, the old AC will hinder the performance of the new furnace.
Replacing both units together will guarantee HVAC professionals won't have to visit any time soon. Nevertheless, whether or not you choose to swap one instead of both will depend on several factors:
- The budget - A whole new system will cost around $10,000-$20,000. Replacing a furnace will cost way less - about $6,000.
- Age of the AC
- Noticeable decrease in performance
- What you want in your HVAC system
Is the AC Unit Connected to the Furnace?
As we've mentioned, an AC and furnace work together to make your home comfortable. Does it mean that they are connected? Not necessarily. They work independently. But, they share a distribution system.
Does the Brand of the HVAC System Matter?
We've established a furnace and an AC don't have to be from the same brand to work together. In similar thought, would the brand itself matter when choosing an HVAC system? In other words, can you choose just about any brand? After all, the low price some would offer can be hard to beat.
While low prices might look enticing, HVAC professionals would suggest that brand matters! One factor that sticks out like a sore thumb is energy efficiency.
The top brands will give you more bang for your buck in the long run. However, the difference in energy efficiency between the top brands is negligible. It only matters when you're comparing to less established manufacturers.
Guaranteeing A Smooth Installation
Yet, that's not the only reason why brands matter when choosing an HVAC system. The additional benefit of a well-reputed brand is the guarantee that you will get quality installation services. Some are hesitant in allowing local companies to install their products. Thus, they'll only allow an HVAC company to install their products if they deem them good enough to do the job.
How Much Is a New Furnace and AC?
As mentioned, replacing or purchasing an AC and furnace together is a costly investment. A furnace alone can cost you around $6,000 or less. When you get both, it can cost an average amount of $8,267. At the highest price point, you might spend $12,586. In some cases, costs can be higher.
Nevertheless, you might be wondering what influences the price you're going to have to pay. There are many factors to consider. When purchasing a new system, the following will determine how much you'll have to spend:
- Size of your home
- Energy efficiency
- The units
- Labor costs
- Permit fees
These are the main influencers of the price. Yet, there's still more that can add to the bill. For example, if you switch to a natural gas furnace, you'll have to pay extra to install a gas line. Additionally, if your ductwork and ventilation aren't up to par, replacements will be necessary.
Whether you decided to get a furnace/AC with specific features you desire or not, we now know that they don't have to be from the same brand. So, if you want to save a bit of money, you can purchase any brand as long as it's compatible with the existing HVAC system.
Still, it seems like there will be minimal sacrifices if you choose to mix and match. We hope you found the information above helpful.
Before you go, do you want to learn more about your HVAC system? Are you curious to know if furnaces lose efficiency over time? To learn more, check out our post, "Does A Furnace Lose Efficiency Over Time?"
If you're installing a new furnace, you might want to find out if it needs ventilation. To learn more, check out our post, "Should You Ventilate The Furnace Room?"