Installing or replacing a central air conditioning system can be a huge expense, so you’ll want to get it right. To help, the nonprofit, consumer-advocate organization Consumer Reports released a new, Central Air Conditioning Buying Guide. The report cites six primary factors to consider.
- Size: A synonym for the air conditioner’s cooling capacity, size is measured in British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr.) or in “tons.” One ton of cooling equals 12,000 Btu/hr. For sizing guidance, check energystar.gov
- Efficiency: This describes how much cooling the unit delivers for each watt of electricity. Efficiency is expressed as the seasonal energy-efficiency rating, or SEER. The minimum SEER for a split system central air conditioner allowed today is 14, so look for units with SEER ratings of 15 or greater. The higher the SEER, the more you can lower your energy costs.
- Programmable thermostats: Proper use of a programmable thermostat can reduce your cooling costs by about 10 percent. And using a box or ceiling fan, which costs little to run, can make you feel 3° F to 4° F cooler.
- Upgrading an existing system: If you’re upgrading your central air conditioning, don’t assume you should buy the same-sized system. Any changes you’ve made to improve your home’s energy efficiency, such as upgrading your windows or adding insulation, can reduce your cooling needs. On the other hand, if you’ve added rooms, you might need more cooling.
- Load: Have your contractor do a load calculation based on a recognized method, such as one in Manual J from the ACCA. The contractor’s evaluation should include whether your ducts need to be resized, sealed and insulated, or replaced. Remember that an indoor evaporator coil and outdoor condenser must be a matched set from the same brand, or the performance, efficiency, and capacity might not meet expectations.
- Maintenance: An air conditioning service plan that combines regular inspections with discounts on repairs and a labor warranty is worth negotiating into the overall price. Prices for such a service vary widely.
Call Custom Climate Concepts today at (941) 955-COOL (2665) to learn more about replacing your Sarasota air conditioning system. We also offer a very reasonable and comprehensive preventative maintenance plan. Click here to take a look.