Upgrading your current cooling system is a major investment, but it’s one that can save you a considerable amount of money when it comes to keeping your home comfortable in the often-oppressive heat of Sun City Center. If you’re ready to commit to installing a new central A/C in your home, don’t wait until spring!
Fall is the best time to get a new cooling system, for a couple of reasons. First, air conditioners are in low demand in the fall, but they’re in high supply, meaning you can get a better deal on a new system. Secondly, autumn is traditionally a slow time in the HVAC industry. Once the summer A/C repair rush is over and the fall preventive maintenance rush hasn’t yet begun, contractors will do everything they can to get your business, including offering great specials on the purchase and installation of a new air conditioner. Before you start your search for the perfect system for your needs and your budget, there are a few things you should think about.
Hiring a Contractor
The most important consideration when installing a new central A/C is hiring a reputable and qualified HVAC contractor for the job. Most manufacturers will void the warranty on a new system if it’s installed by an unauthorized technician. Proper installation is critical for efficient and problem-free operation of the new system, and even small errors can have big consequences for your system and your finances.
Choose a contractor that belongs to prestigious trade organizations, such as Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) or Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). Their technicians should be NATE-certified. North American Technician Excellence routinely tests technicians on new technologies and best practices, ensuring they’re knowledgeable and skilled at the tasks required for a new installation.
Air conditioner efficiency is rated using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. A system with a SEER of 13 is 30 percent more efficient than one with a SEER of 10. Older air conditioners typically have a SEER of 6, while new ones are required by law to have a SEER of at least 13. High-efficiency models that are Energy Star certified will sport a SEER of 17 and above. The higher the efficiency, the more expensive the air conditioner. However, the energy savings you get with a high-efficiency system are much higher, and typically pay for the system over the course of its operating life.
A lot has changed in the last 10 years in the manufacture of air conditioners. Systems are much more efficient than they used to be, and new technologies are available that have a big impact on energy bills and comfort. Installing a new central A/C system can greatly improve your comfort level and lower your heating bills, even more so if your new system includes these features:
- Variable speed air handler. Traditional air conditioners blow the air through your home at just one speed, which means you’re getting the same amount of cool air through the ducts no matter how hot it is outside. A variable speed motor adjusts the airflow based on the actual cooling needs in the home, and usually operate at a slower, more continuous speed for better air circulation and humidity control. These motors are quieter, use much less energy than standard single-speed motors, and last longer.
- Thermal expansion valve. Similar to air speed, the refrigerant in a standard air conditioner moves into the evaporator coil at a single rate. A thermal expansion valve meters the amount of refrigerant that flows into the coil based on real-time cooling needs, saving energy while keeping you comfortable.
- Fan-only switch. On nice days when your air conditioner cycles on infrequently, the air in the home isn’t moving through air filter to remove pollutants, and the air can feel stale and stagnant. The fan-only switch allows you to run the system so that air is being circulated through the home without the A/C compressor operating.
- Auto-delay switch. On traditional air conditioners, the fan stops blowing when the compressor shuts off, and the air that’s already been cooled by the system doesn’t reach your rooms. An auto-delay switch holds off the shut-off of the fan so that the cool air already produced isn’t wasted.
For more expert advice about purchasing and installing a new central A/C to save money on energy costs and increase your comfort level, please contact us in Brandon, Plant City or Sun City Center at Gulf Coast Air Systems.