Does an Air Handler and Condenser Have to Match? - Ask the Expert Episode 131

Sometimes you just have to replace the air handler or condenser part of your heating and air conditioning system without replacing the whole thing. But do the air handler and condenser have to match?

Video Script:

"Can a heat pump be replaced without having to replace the air handler?" The answer is yes, but with some caveats.

You have to make sure the units you have match appropriately. You can't just go to a store and buy the first condenser you see and match it with the air handler in your house. They might work together. They might not.

A good start would be to make sure that the brands are matched. Then you could look up on HRI to see if they're matched to work together. Or you could ask the manufacturer. Then you will want to make sure they have the same refrigerant.

Have more questions? Just ask them in the comments below or on Facebook or on Twitter. 

8 comments (view/add)
  • Arthur
    Posted on 10/31/2018

    How low to the floor can I mount the airhander?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 10/31/2018

    Technically, you could mount a ductless mini-split air handler quite lower to the floor. You should always leave at least a foot of space to allow for proper airflow. That being said, you will get much better performance the higher on the wall you place the interior unit.

  • Enrique Pacheco
    Enrique Pacheco
    Posted on 3/25/2020

    Hi Sir last June 2019 I had the outside unit dryer filter replaced because a leak the system was empty and the line was opened without closing any check valve. No vacuum was performed only a charge with 410 Freon. Now 9 month later looks like I have compressor failure! The two lines read 90 both of course when it’s on! Does that look like comp failure to you? Is this something not vacuuming can cause?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 3/25/2020

    Sorry to say, Enrique, but it does sound like compressor failure. Pulling a vacuum is used to get moisture out of the lines, since moisture does not mix well with the refrigerant or the oil. That could be the source of the problem. You would need a detailed diagnostic to be certain.

  • William Land
    William Land
    Posted on 5/17/2020

    This is great, thanks!
    We recently moved into a condo and the heat pump is definitely broken.
    2 HVAC guys said we have to get a new heat pump AND air handler.
    One guy said he can modify the air handler with a new valve and then it will be compatible with the new heat pump.
    He said the air handler might last another 2-5 years if we get lucky (it's from 2011).
    Replacing the air handler will be a really big job which we'd like to avoid, if possible.
    Any thoughts on this?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 5/18/2020

    What you're describing could be possible. Though it is hard to say without knowing the particular make and model of the equipment.

  • Elizabeth Deforrest
    Elizabeth Deforrest
    Posted on 6/27/2020

    I purchased a newly built 1400+ square foot home with very high ceilings in Florida in June 2018. I have my ac serviced every 6 months. I have been having problems with it cooling to 74 degrees and sometimes won’t go below 80 degrees. My ac company came this week and said I have a 2-1/2 ton air handler and 2 ton condenser which is not adequate to cool my house. I checked the cCarrier model numbers and that is correct. Please let me know your thoughts
    Thank you

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 6/29/2020

    Depending on insulation and other factors, it could definitely be undersized. A 2 ton condenser is usually only sufficient for up to 1200 sf in Florida.

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