An air conditioning unit is a big investment. But if your old equipment keeps breaking down and despite all the repairs doesn’t provide the efficiency and comfort you seek, then it’s time to get a new one! The HVAC market has changed a lot in the past decade, and our Maryland air conditioner installation pros are here to guide you toward the right choice. Before you hire that HVAC tech and swipe your card to pay for the new AC, consider these things in order to make an informed decision.
THE HEALTH OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM
A good Maryland HVAC tech will conduct a thorough inspection of your system before recommending HVAC repair or replacement. We don’t mean to alarm you, but in homes with a broken AC we often find leaky air ducts, an inadequate number of supply or return registers, and a furnace that’s about to take its last breath. Although you didn’t plan on an upgrade of this magnitude, now may be the best time for it. Consider upgrading all of your equipment at once or installing a more energy-efficient geothermal system for an even bigger impact. There are various federal, state and manufacturer rebates available to help you keep the initial cost down.
What changed in the past decade that you’ve been using your current AC unit? Have you built a home addition or finished your basement? Did you buy a new convection oven that radiates insane amounts of heat? The reason we ask is because your AC unit has to be properly sized for your home’s cooling needs. And if your cooling needs increased or decreased recently, you shouldn’t just get an AC replacement with the same specs. You need to re-evaluate how you use your home and what would be an adequate cooling system for your needs.
HIGH-EFFICIENCY AC UNITS
If you are replacing an AC unit that is 10-15 years old, any newer model will probably be more efficient than your old one. However, if you want to maximize your savings, consider purchasing an appliance with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The Department of Energy defines SEER as “the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output.” In other words, each AC unit is given a score based on how much energy it uses to cool a space to a certain point. The minimum SEER rating is 13, but the higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
WHAT’S NEW IN THE INDUSTRY
If you haven’t shopped for HVAC equipment in a while, you’ll be amazed at how far this industry has come in terms of both efficiency and comfort. Modern AC units have many new features you might not be familiar with. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:
- A fan-only switch to help you reduce costs by circulating air instead of cooling it.
- A programmable thermostat to help you control temperature when you are away (some models even sync with your phone!)
- A light alerting you to check and replace the filter
- Quiet operation
- An air handler with variable speeds
- Add-on air cleaners and humidifiers
In addition to all of the above factors, cost is certainly another important thing to consider. When you are requesting estimates from different Maryland HVAC contractors, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, the lowest price estimate may not include the labor cost for fixing your leaky air ducts. And between the two most expensive estimates, one may not offer as good of a warranty as the other one. That’s why you should always request itemized estimates for HVAC replacement if your contractor doesn’t automatically itemize.
Our cooling and heating specialists at Cool Breeze are always available to conduct an inspection of your HVAC system or evaluate the health of your equipment. Give us a call or contact online for a free quote.