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Question DetailsAsked on 9/10/2013

What is a reasonable estimate to replace the AC unit And/or The gas furnace for a 1 zone 2600 square-foot house?

house built in the late 1970s.
Carrier AC unit installed in 2000: Freon-based.
Furnace was converted from electric to gas in the year 2000.
I believe the AC unit just needs to be recharged; like when you can tell your car AC system just needs to be recharged
But when I tried to have the unit Recharged, the technician from one of the higher rated HVAC services, Told me that we really needed to replace both the furnace and AC unit. We have had no problem with the furnace thus far.
This is the first house we've owned; but I was under the strong impression that AC and furnaces lasted in the 20-year range, Although the AC unit would occasionally have to be Recharged.

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Furnace should last 25-40 years - 30 years is not at all uncommon. A/C more like 15-20 years typically so it might be getting on towards the life of your A/C unit, but I can't see why the furnace should be replaced unless you are trying to go for extreme energy efficiency.

One thing on the A/C unit since it uses Freon - the refill of gas might cost you from $350-800 depending on local prices and how much it holds, because Freon is being phased out and the prices are skyrocketing, and will be even higher in the future. I would find out how much the refill would be (HVAC company should be able to find volume, or it probably has a capacity number right onthe A/C name plate that says what gas to use and capacity in pounds). Then, with that number in mind, have them explain why they think a new furnace is needed (and listen with more than a trace of scepticism) and what the cost for a new A/C only unit is, with the newer non-freon gas system. Then you will have more like the info you need to make a decision, because there is no inherent reason to replace a furnace when an A/C unit needs replacing, or vice versa, but if the cost of repair and a Freon refill (and bearing in mind if they don't find the Freon leak(s) correctly, it may drain on you and need refilling soon for the multi-hundred $) is getting up to 30-50% of the cost of a new unit, then you might be better off going that route.

For more info on unit costs (both furnace and A/C), and for info on the Freon (R-22) issue, review the questions on those subjects in the Home > HVAC link right under your question.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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