5 Questions You Should Ask Before You Replace Your Air Conditioner

With summer finally at an end, now is a good time to replace your current air conditioner with a brand-new unit. But before you call up your HVAC contractor, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. The following article offers five important questions to consider before you replace your air conditioner.

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

Do you know when your current A/C system was installed? If it's been over 10 years since it was first installed, then you should consider replacing it with a newer and more energy-efficient unit. Keep in mind that this general rule of thumb isn't always ironclad—after all, there are air-conditioning units that have managed to operate for decades on end with only routine maintenance.

Just because the exterior of your A/C unit looks pristine doesn't mean that it isn't a prime candidate for replacement. The best way to find your A/C system's true age is to look for the date of manufacture on the model manufacture plate. In most cases, the date of manufacture is included in the first four numbers of the serial number. The first two numbers may be the year of production (i.e. "13" stands for "2013") while the other two numbers indicate the month or week of production.

How Big Should It Be?

Size definitely matters when it comes to heating and cooling systems. Your new A/C system should be perfectly matched to your home's exact cooling needs. An oversized A/C unit can cause a wide variety of problems, including excess moisture, mold and mildew growth, and short cycling issues. An undersized A/C unit can prove inadequate for cooling your home, but undersized units often have a short lifespan due to the increased stress and strain on various components.

The best way to size up your home's air-conditioning needs is to have your HVAC contractor perform a Manual J load calculation. This process takes a wide variety of factors into account (such as home orientation, moisture content, and ventilation), making it more accurate than the usual "rule of thumb" used by some contractors.

Does Your Current A/C System Break Down Often?

Another question you should ask yourself before replacing your air conditioner is how often your current unit breaks down. If your A/C system spends more time being tended to by your HVAC contractor than it does cooling your home, then it's time to have the unit replaced.

Frequent air-conditioner repairs can also cost you a pretty penny. According to HomeAdvisor, the average homeowner spends between $165 and $507 on A/C repairs. A good rule of thumb is that if you end up spending more on repairs than the average cost of a brand-new A/C system, then it's time to give your current A/C unit a well-needed send-off.

Does Your New A/C System Meet Energy-Star Standards?

Before you replace your air conditioner, you'll also want to ask yourself whether the new unit features the Energy Star logo. This seemingly trivial detail becomes far more important once you realize how much money you could potentially save by choosing an Energy Star–certified unit. On average, these units use 8 percent less energy than new conventional A/C units.

A typical A/C unit earns the Energy Star logo by meeting the stringent energy-efficiency guidelines created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An Energy Star–certified central A/C system must have a seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) of at least 15.

Because these units use less energy than their conventional counterparts, you'll end up reducing the amount of money you pay for your utilities each month. The savings can add up to hundreds of dollars per year throughout the life of the unit, in many cases.

Does It Offer the Latest Features?

One more question you want to ask yourself is whether your new A/C system comes with the latest in HVAC technology. For instance, a growing number of AC systems now offer scroll compressors, which use less energy than the piston-driven compressors typically used in older and less expensive A/C systems.

Other units are using variable-speed compressors that offer the ability to ramp up and down gradually instead of turning on and off. This not only increases the lifespan of the compressor itself but also offers increased energy efficiency and improved cooling comfort. Variable-speed blower fans also feature gradual start-up and shutdown capabilities, plus they can operate continuously at very low speeds to promote continuous ventilation.

Contact a company such as Always Ready Repair for more information.

About Me

Remaining Comfortable In Your Home after Completing a Major Renovation

In a few, short months, my spouse and I will begin the construction process to build a much needed addition onto our small home. The addition will include a den and a master suite. But because our home will be much larger after the building process is complete, we will need to update our HVAC system. After speaking with our knowledgeable HVAC contractor, we’ve decided to purchase a second heating and air conditioning unit for our home. This additional unit will be considerably smaller than our current one. It will only heat and cool the new addition to our house. On this blog, I hope you will discover the best options for heating and cooling a home after building an addition onto it.

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