Consider These Tips Before Purchasing a New AC
With hot summer days upon us, increased heat and humidity have us all running to our air conditioners for relief. But if flipping the switch to “cool” and pushing down the thermostat doesn’t do the trick, a quick call to your neighborhood HVAC pro will likely be your next step, and a repair or AC replacement is often in the cards.
If you do plan on purchasing a new home air conditioning system this summer, here are a few critical things to keep in mind:
First, make sure your new air conditioner is properly sized for your home. Many people want bigger units, as they think they will cool better. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Air Conditioners need to run for long periods of time so they go into what is called steady state. This is when an air conditioner performs at its highest efficiency and pulls the humidity out of the air. An oversized air conditioner will stop and start all the time and seldom if ever reach this steady state. The result is a home that is hotter and more humid than it should be and utility bills that are through the roof.
They best way to ensure you get a properly sized air conditioner is to have your HVAC professional do something called a load calculation to determine the best fit. This is a straightforward process that involves taking data about your house (square footage, number of floors, insulation values, number of windows etc.) and applying mathematical formulas to determine the necessary output needed to properly do the job.
Ask to see the data used to make the calculations so you know your HVAC guy isn’t just guessing.
It is also very important that the contractor checks your ductwork for leakage. Research by the DOE and EPA have proven that the typical AC system in today’s home loses between 25-40% or more of its energy through leaks in the ductwork. Any efficiency gains you might hope to gain through your new system is easily lost through the duct leaks. You’ll wind up paying more for the equipment, more for your utility costs and more in the way of ongoing discomfort in your home.
Lastly, make sure you choose a qualified service company to do the installation. Going with the cheapest price may not be your best bet and could end up costing you more money in the long run.
With proper planning, a bit of research and a qualified HVAC pro helping along the way, your new air conditioner should be able to handle whatever the summer may have in store. Just make sure you have enough charcoal for the grill because all the neighbors who didn’t follow these tips will be coming over for long visits.
For more tips on buying the right AC for your home or to learn about ways to save energy and increase the overall performance of your home, visit the Comfort Institute website at www.comfortinstitute.org. And if you have any questions about how you can improve your own home’s performance, be sure to drop me a line – [email protected].