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Because they pair well with forced-air central heating, most homes with central air-conditioning use split-system air conditioners. A split air-conditioning system consists of an indoor and outdoor unit that are linked by refrigerant lines. The evaporation coils are located inside near the air handler and furnace. They’re responsible for removing heat from your home’s air. The condenser and condensation coils are located outside and shed the heat that was absorbed from your home’s air into the exterior air.

A split air-conditioning system is usually installed all at once, but if just the indoor or outdoor portion ends up broken beyond repair, you may be tempted to save money by replacing just one of the units. Although this can be done in some cases, it’s usually a poor decision.

Your air-conditioning may be prone to premature breakdown and operate inefficiently if the indoor and outdoor units aren’t well matched. New minimum efficiency standards went into effect in 2006, so newer units are more efficient than older units. Pairing an inefficient unit with an efficient counterpart will result in significantly lower overall efficiency and increase the likelihood of breakdowns.

Another change in air conditioning that’s been going on is the phasing out of the old refrigerant (R-22) and replacing it with a new, more environmentally-friendly refrigerant. Since the inside and outside portion of the split air-conditioning system are part of the same refrigerant system, they need to be designed for the same refrigerant. Running air conditioning components with the wrong refrigerant will lead to early failure and inefficient operation.

It may be acceptable to replace just the broken unit if you have a newer air conditioner and can find a suitable match for the replacement. You’ll want to consult an experienced HVAC contractor.

For help with your split air-conditioning system, contact the pros at Griffith Energy Services. We proudly serve Chantilly, McLean and other cities throughout northern Virginia.

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