I was having a conversation the other day with a customer whose outdoor unit failed. Wanting to save a little money, (which is a good thing) he asked me about replacing the outdoor unit only.
Under normal circumstances this would be a good idea. But these are not normal circumstances.
Most older systems use a refrigerant called R-22. By January of 2010 manufacturers will stop selling central air conditioning systems that use R-22. Actually most manufacturers will stop making these systems sooner in order to empty their inventory. The new systems will use a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant called R-410a. Integrity Air has been selling R-410a systems for the past few years in anticipation of this change.
But I digress. The question before us is: What should you do if only one unit of your R-22 split system fails? The problem you have when you only replace that unit is that R-22 systems are not compatible with R-410a systems. If you install a new R-22 outdoor unit and you indoor unit fails around the fall of 2009, their may not be an R-22 indoor section available. You may be forced to replace the entire system with a new R-410a system.
These are some things to consider when shopping for a new system or partial system.