Considerations Before Purchasing an Air Conditioner
Posted: Jul 21, 2015
The months leading up to the hot summer are those to begin considering the purchase of a cooling unit for your home. Whether you currently own an HVAC system or are considering the purchase of a system including a cooling unit, it’s a major decision. Some people are tired of spending their summers trapped in one room with a fan, while others are fed up with exorbitant bills caused by their outdated system. No matter the reason for considering this major purchase, it’s a good idea to research all of the facts to ensure you’re making the right choice. Some older models may simply need maintenance to keep your home at an ideal temperature, regardless of the heat outside. To determine the right options for your home, you’ll need to evaluate your current system, desired needs and cost restrictions. Keep in mind that systems over the age of 15 will nearly always need to be completely replaced, as they’re likely costing you more money on energy bills. Upgrading an old system isn’t necessarily complicated, but working with a licensed and knowledgeable contractor will help you to make the best possible decision for your home.
The biggest factor in determining how to approach your cooling needs is the cost. The size of your home will dictate the needed type of cooling unit. Talk with a professional vendor to evaluate your current system to ascertain whether it’s the right fit for your home. Window units are ideal for apartments or for cooling a bedroom during the summer, while a split system can be added to your heating unit, as there are no ducts. A central system is ideal for houses and combined with the heating unit for ease of transition to the colder months. Consider what you have now for equipment, while looking over your bills for last year’s summer months. The price can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. These prices should be added to the estimated cost to run the equipment, and then compared with your cooling bills from last summer. In doing so, you’ll determine if you’ll be saving money over time and whether you can afford the upgrade.
What to Replace
Many homeowners ask if they can replace just some of their HVAC parts to soften the costs of the project. However, the entire HVAC system must be replaced at the same time to ensure all of the parts are working together. Although it may seem cost effective to only replace the outside or inside unit, you could face issues with your service down the line. Additionally, you may actually increase your energy costs, as one part may need to work harder to account for the older parts of the system. When you replace a heat pump or a furnace, you’ll need to match the part closely to the existing system. For example, older ductwork is often leaky or inadequate, even if the signs aren’t easily noticed. But when you install a new system onto the old ductwork, these flaws come into light. Before you make the decision about what to replace, your HVAC vendor should thoroughly inspect your current system to ensure you’re making the best choice for your home.
A new HVAC system is a major expense, but one that can save you money on operating costs throughout the year. However, you can only reap those benefits when your entire home is energy-efficient. You’ll need to look into replacing outdated windows and possibly your attic insulation to be certain you aren’t making this investment for naught. Additionally, once these upgrades are made, you may even be able to purchase a smaller system; the construction, size and orientation of the home affect the needed HVAC size.
Selecting a Contractor
Who you hire to install your system is nearly as important as the type of system you buy, for many reasons. The right contractor will not only be experienced in installation and maintenance of HVAC systems, they’ll be trained. The purpose of this is to ensure you’re getting the right system for your home and that it will be properly installed. The contractor should be licensed to protect you and your home, as well. Be sure the contractor intends to inspect your home for its current conditions and the state of your current system, in order to make a proper recommendation for your home. The contractor should also have adequate support staff to prevent damage and to finish the product in adequate time.
About the Author: Thomas M. Bird is a contributing author. Now retired, he ran a successful contracting business for over 25 years. He designed and built hundreds of energy-efficient homes, offering advice to customers for their maintenance needs. He recommends http://www.accutempair.com/ for the best prices in heating and cooling installation.
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