Should I replace both my outdoor condensing unit and indoor coil at the same time?

Should I replace both my outdoor condensing unit (which includes the compressor) and the indoor coil on my central air conditioning system at the same time?

In most instances, yes.  Matching a new condensing unit with a new coil is the only reliable way to be certain you are going to get the rated efficiency of the new equipment.  Matching a new, high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) condensing unit with an old indoor coil probably would not result in optimum efficiency.

Another thing to be aware of is the government phaseout of R-22 freon.  If you’re air conditioner uses R-22 you may want to consider replacing the unit or it may become more expensive to fix within the next few years.

How do I go about shopping for a new air conditioner or furnace?

Ask friends and neighbors about the types of systems they have, how much they cost, how long they’ve had them, and how satisfied they are with them.  Then ask for recommendations as to brands and local contractors, or ask several different contractors to take a thorough look at your home, evaluate your overall comfort needs, and recommend the best system for you.  Look at all indoor climate control options – the entire spectrum of heating, cooling, air filtration, and humidification equipment.

When to replace my air conditioner or furnace?

When do I know it’s time to replace my system?

When the system starts giving you more problems than seem cost-effective to fix, particularly when major components such as the compressor start making unusual noises or otherwise indicating need for a service call.  When faced with major repairs, consult several contractors for their recommendations.  You may find that replacing the entire unit may give you greater efficiency and lower your operating costs.

See our Energy Savings/Efficiency Calculator.


Which is better – letting a central cooling system wear out before replacing it, or replacing it at some point before it wears out?

Because newer equipment usually is more energy efficient than older central air conditioning or heat pump systems, you might actually save money by replacing your old system before it completely wears out.  Contact local contractors and ask for their estimates.  In some cases, the money you save in reduced utility costs might pay back your purchase price of a new system years earlier than you might think.

Mediterranean Feta Dip

As you may know, tis’ the season for gardeners.  Unfortunately, most of my garden was ruined during the recent hail storms in Nebraska, but if you are out of the Cornhusker state you may still be in luck.  Tomatoes are one of the most common garden fruits (or vegetables, whatever floats your boat) and they start producing large quantities of produce now or in the near future.  If you are like me and trying to find new ways to use your tomatoes here is a recipe that uses a few tomatoes and is great for a summer barbecue or pot luck.

tomato and feta tapas recipe

Recipe and picture from COOKIE+kate.

Mediterranean Feta Dip

  • 20 pitted kalamata olives, sliced into thirds or quarters (about ⅓ of a cup)
  • 3 roma (or garden) tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup of quartered artichokes, chopped (you can use canned artichokes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ⅔ cup feta, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the top position.
  2. Mix together the kalamata olives, tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, and ⅓ cup feta cheese. Add sea salt to taste.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a one and a half cup oven-safe container or several small oven-safe ramekins. Top with the remaining feta cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake on the top rack for 10 to 15 minutes, until the feta cheese is turning light golden.
  5. If you would like to toast bread for crostinis, slice a whole wheat baguette into small slices, brush with olive oil and bake on the top rack for about five minutes.

Note: It would probably be fabulous on burgers too!