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Air Conditioning Season’s Not Far Away: Advice for Wise Shopping

Posted on May 9, 2013

Replacing your air conditioning may be one of the more challenging tasks you face as a homeowner, but when you make the right decisions, you’ll be rewarded with a comfortable home and lower energy bills. The three factors that drive your decision are the type of system you choose, its size and its energy efficiency.

Type

You can choose from a package air conditioner or a split system. A package system has all the parts, except the ductwork, on your roof or in the yard. The system connects directly to your ductwork. A split system separates the condenser/compressor unit, which stay outdoors, and the air handler, which is inside, usually in a closet, attic or laundry room.

Size

Regardless of the type A/C you choose, precise sizing is important. HVAC contractors use a protocol called Manual J that assesses a variety of factors about your home to calculate its cooling load. Windows, insulation levels, air infiltration, number of floors, your home’s size and landscaping features are among the factors that go into the calculation.

Systems that are too large run in short cycles, increasing energy bills, adding to wear and tear on the system and not evenly cooling your home. Air conditioning systems that are too small can’t handle the load when the weather is exceptionally hot.

Once you know the necessary size of the air conditioner, the contractor will evaluate your ductwork for sizing and efficiency, and make changes or repairs so the new system operates as efficiently as possible.

Efficiency

The minimum efficiency for air conditioners sold in the U.S. stands at 13 SEER. If you’re replacing a system that’s more than 10 years old, you could see your energy bills decline by as much as 30 percent with the minimum SEER air conditioner available on the market. If you choose a higher SEER model with upgraded features such as a dual-stage compressor or a variable-speed motor in the air handler, your energy bills will be even lower. Dual-stage compressors run at high speed only when the temperatures are hottest and variable-speed motors use far less electricity than a single-speed motor.

If you’d like to learn more about air conditioning replacement, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC & Plumbing services for the Wichita area since 1953.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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