Universal parts for air conditioners are made to fit as many brands as possible and will likely work with most brands.
Air conditioners have running costs, like electricity and maintenance costs that you have to consider after you have purchased your unit.
However, using universal parts can help you cut down on maintenance costs if your unit is compatible and you have considered all of the positive and negative facets of using these parts.
The cost of air conditioners
Air conditioning systems range from large central air and full HVAC units to smaller room-size portable and window units. They can be very convenient on hot and humid days.
However, air conditioners, even the smaller, less powerful ones, use a lot of power to start up and run. This translates to high electricity bills, not to mention maintenance and replacement costs on top of the air conditioner’s initial purchase price.
What AC brands use universal parts?
One way to cut down on the costs associated with owning and maintaining an air conditioner (AC) is to use universal parts. Universal parts can also be a good option for you if you or your repair person are struggling to find parts from your AC’s original manufacturer.
To fully understand how universal parts work, it is also important that you comprehend what exactly these parts are and how they compare to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
This difference can be explained as follows:
|Type of parts||Description|
|OEM parts||OEM parts are produced by the same manufacturer that made your air conditioning unit and are sometimes referred to as “original” parts|
|Universal parts||These are parts that are manufactured by some of the distributors of air conditioning equipment, who have a good idea of which parts need to be replaced frequently. These parts are designed to work with a variety of air conditioner models and are also referred to as “aftermarket” parts|
As the name suggests, universal parts are designed to be compatible with as many air conditioner brands as possible, so that these parts can function as universal replacements across a wide range of air conditioner brands.
Some manufacturers also have their own ranges of universal parts, such as Carrier Totaline and Lennox’s FirstChoice range, which is guaranteed to fit their brand’s air conditioners, and some others as well.
The best way to check whether your air conditioner can take universal parts, is to insert your AC’s model number into a universal parts distributor database to see whether they recommend using universal parts for your model or not.
It is also vital that you keep in mind that some parts are generally more widely available than others and that using universal parts has negative aspects and positive aspects that you should consider.
Which universal parts should you buy?
You are more likely to find universal parts for your unit if you have a single-stage air conditioning system. The parts needed for this type of system are less brand-specific and you can find many universal parts to replace motors, compressors, control boards, pressure switches, and gas regulators if you have a single-stage AC.
The hunt for universal parts gets more complicated with split systems. If you have a split system, you may need to consult a professional HVAC technician or distributor to find out whether your OEM part that needs to be replaced has a suitable universal part replacement. In most cases, only the capacitors and contactors have universal part counterparts.
Benefits of universal parts
The main benefits of using a universal part instead of an OEM part is that universal parts tend to be much more affordable. On average, a universal part can be between 25 percent and 60 percent less expensive than its OEM counterpart.
Universal parts are also more widely available than OEM parts, which means that you will likely receive the parts quicker and get your air conditioner up and running with the replacement part at an earlier stage than if you wait for the part to be back in stock at the original manufacturer.
Drawbacks of universal parts
On the other hand, there are also some negative aspects to consider. If your air conditioner is still under warranty, you will most likely not be able to use universal parts or you will void the warranty of your air conditioner.
Additionally, universal parts do not always go through the same quality and performance tests and certifications that OEM parts have to, and this can make it difficult to determine how well they will work and how long they will last.