Is your electric bill being forced up by your old air conditioner? Replacing your air conditioner with a new unit may be a good way to save home energy. However, if you do not approach this replacement properly, the high cost may not provide the gain you expect. Here is what you need to know BEFORE buying a new air conditioner.
Have you done as much as possible to reduce the need for cooling? The greatest energy savings come from the air conditioner being off. It is more cost effective to reduce air infiltration, improve insulation, reduce solar gain, and reduce internal heat generation. Solar gain is the heat directly from sunlight coming in through your windows. All of the above actions reduce the amount of time your air conditioner is operating. By the way, infiltration and insulation improvements also reduce heating costs.
Hire a cooling service company that will work with you. This is a major expense; the contractor should be willing to discuss all options available including complete costs and warranties. The warranty is very important. Ask the contractor to guarantee their work in addition to manufacturer’s warranty. Most problems come from improper installation or a manufacturer’s defect which shows in the first year. The contractor should be willing to fix any problem at no additional cost. The contractor should be able to perform or assist in the items below. There may be an additional fee, but is usually worth the extra cost.
Inspect your ductwork. Request your cooling service company to inspect your ductwork. The entire supply and return paths should be inspected. Air leaking from ductwork makes it difficult to deliver conditioned air to all of the desired rooms. Leaks to the attic or crawl space waste energy; even leaks into conditioned areas can waste energy. This is because rooms far from the central unit can be uncomfortable if there is insufficient air. This situation results in the thermostat being adjusted for these far rooms. Other rooms are overcooled or overheated, wasting energy. godrej 1 ton 3 star inverter split ac
A little known fact is that most restriction in airflow is from the turns and transitions in the duct. A qualified contractor can spot duct fittings that unnecessarily restrict air flow. Even if you do not buy a new air conditioner, improvements in your air distribution can have a major impact on reducing your energy bill.
Which SEER should you select? The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating is the way central air conditioning systems are rated for energy efficiency. It is the seasonal energy output in Btu divided by the seasonal energy consumed in watt-hours. A SEER of 13 means for every watt-hour you pay for you get 13 Btu of cooling. Since January 2006 condensing units must be made with at least a SEER 13; for a new air conditioner your choices start at SEER 13. Major manufacturers offer products with SEER values over 20. Of course the higher the SEER, then the higher the cost. Request your contractor to provide a cost for each offered SEER.
Request a heating/cooling load calculation. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) have developed a code accepted procedure for calculating heating and cooling requirements (load) for your home; it is called Manual J. This calculation is needed to determine the size of your air conditioner. This analysis should be performed after any energy improvements discussed in the first item.
Do not just replace with same size. The old unit may have been oversized or your energy saving actions may make your current size to large. An oversized unit will start and stop more often. This is inefficient and decreases the life of your unit.