So this is the year you’re finally going to replace that clunky old air conditioner.
If you have a good AC contractor, you’re already one step ahead in the game. But even if you haven’t yet selected a contractor, you can get yourself prepared to make the right decision.
The EPA says that AC installation should be guided by four factors:
- Energy efficiency,
- and cost.
Not surprisingly, some of those factors overlap.
For example, the higher the energy efficiency (what’s called the SEER– for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), the higher the initial cost of the system. The payoff comes down the road, as you save 30% or 60% or more on your annual electric bills.
Performance is directly related to the size of the unit and whether it’s appropriate for your home. Your AC contractor can do an assessment, and help you choose a system that’s neither too large or too small for the job.
This will directly affect the reliability and ultimate operating cost. If the new Air Conditioning is too large for your home, it will cycle on and off frequently, wearing down parts and doing a poor job of dehumidification.
One factor that stands a bit outside this little guideline is the environmental impact. Air conditioners have become commonplace over the past few decades. In fact, in places like Mexico, people have adapted to an American-style work day by skipping the siesta. This has forced them to work during the heat of the day and resulted in more AC. This has the perverse effect of increasing global warming . . . . which leads to more AC.
R22 vs R410-A
But there are things we can do to mitigate the effect of technology on our planet. One is to make sure your new system does not use the old refrigerant, R-22, which was highly damaging to the ozone layer. There is a replacement called R410-A, which is environmentally more benign.
You might want to discuss this with your AC contractor, to make sure that any R-22 coolant in your old AC system is removed, recovered, and recycled properly.
Ultimately, you will need to work with an AC contractor you can trust. The best way to do this is to located qualified HVAC techs through the our website. Then bone up on the subject. There is a ton of information on our website here. If there is confusion, you can ask our experts.
There are just a few major points:
You will want to invest in the best system you can afford. Don’t believe anyone who tells you to have the indoor or outdoor unit replaced without changing out the other one. Make sure your AC contractor gives you a ‘whole-house’ assessment that takes into account your climate, exposure to the sun, size of the house, windows, insulation, ductwork . . . the works!
Then relax and chill out this summer!