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Considering a New Central A/C for Your Aberdeen Home? Fall May Be the

  • September 16, 2014

new A/CIf your cooling system is nearing the end of its life, now is the perfect time to consider installing a new central A/C. Once the Aberdeen area’s summertime air conditioning repair rush is over and the fall furnace maintenance season is winding down, HVAC contractors are often waiting for the phone to ring. This is the time when you can get a great deal on a new air conditioner. The window of opportunity for scoring a lower price on a new system is short: Once the heating season is in full swing, contractors are busy once again with heating emergencies, and we’re that much closer to air conditioning season, when new systems are in high demand and more expensive to buy and install.

Before you start the process of buying and installing a new central A/C, it’s a good idea to consider several factors and understand the various features that are available on new systems.

Size Matters

It may sound reasonable that the bigger the A/C, the better it will cool your home, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here are just four of the many reasons an oversized system is a bad idea:

  1. Higher energy costs and shorter operating life. An oversized air conditioner cools the home quickly, resulting in frequent cycling, which uses more energy and wears out controls and other components faster.
  2. Reduced air quality. Oversized air conditioners spend a great deal of time in the off-cycle, meaning air isn’t moving through your air filter.
  3. Increased humidity. As air moves over the cold evaporator coil, the water vapor condenses, drips into the condensate pan and moves through the attached tubing into a drain. Short run times on oversized units result in less condensation, and typically keep the home’s humidity level at over 60 percent, which is much higher than the recommended 30 to 50 percent.
  4. It results in stagnant, stuffy air. Shorter run times mean less air moving through the home, which can make the air feel stuffy and smell mildewy.

A reputable contractor will determine the size of air conditioner you need by using the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual J to calculate your home’s cooling load. This important calculation is based on a number of factors, including the home’s size and layout, the heat gain in the home, the amount of insulation, the location of doors and windows, and the orientation of the house in relation to the sun.

Efficiency

A/C efficiency is rated using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, which indicates the amount of energy required for a certain cooling output. Older air conditioners have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio as low as 6, while all new air conditioners are required to have a SEER of at least 13. Air conditioners that have earned the Energy Star logo typically have a seer of 15 or higher. High-efficiency models usually start around SEER 16, with the numbers rising into the mid-20s.

While high-efficiency models cost more to buy, they typically pay for themselves in energy savings over the course of their operating life.

Ductwork

If your existing ductwork is in poor shape, or if it’s not sized properly, you may need to have it replaced. Your contractor will evaluate the condition of your ductwork and determine the optimum size required for the system using the ACCA’s Manual D.

Features

New technology has vastly improved the design and functionality of today’s air conditioners. Here are some of the features you should consider when purchasing and installing a new central A/C:

  • Variable speed air handler. Standard air conditioners have two operating speeds: Off and on. When the weather outside is cooler, the air conditioner doesn’t really need to blow air at its high speed. A variable speed air handler adjusts the flow of air depending on the real-time cooling needs of the home for better comfort, cleaner air and higher efficiency.
  • Thermal expansion valve. This metering device controls the amount of refrigerant that moves into the evaporator to keep the system operating at the highest possible efficiency based on the outdoor temperature.
  • Fan-only switch. On days when you don’t need to turn on the A/C, you can still operate the fan to keep air moving through the home for optimum air quality and comfort.
  • Auto delay. This switch will turn the fan off a few minutes after the compressor stops to ensure all of the cool air produced by the system is distributed into your rooms.

For more expert advice about choosing and installing a new central A/C in your Aberdeen area home, please contact us at Comfort Services, Inc.

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