Spring has sprung, and summer is well on its way! Since it’s likely you’ll be spending a little more time indoors it looks like, it’s important that your home or building feels cool and comfortable all summer long.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, but aren’t exactly sure where to start, we’ve got you covered! We’ve created a two-part series to help you stay informed on everything you ought to know before buying a new air conditioner.
Use an Expert HVAC Team
For a number of reasons, finding the right HVAC professionals to help you is one of the most critical pieces of this process. Not all HVAC contractors are qualified experts, and for that reason, it’s possible you could end up with a poorly installed A/C unit that gives you trouble for the rest of its life (if you don’t do your research!)
If you spend time searching for an HVAC expert that you can trust, your wallet (and stress levels) will thank you in the long-run. When you jump on Google, here are a few things to look out for when comparing HVAC teams:
- A license issued by the Contractors State License Board. This is a must. In order to safely maneuver around gas lines, plumbing applications, and electrical set-ups, a person must be professionally licensed. Without being an expert in these areas, it’s possible to cause some serious damage to a home. Most expert HVAC teams will have their state license number clearly displayed on their website. For example, our state license numbers (KYMO4107, KYB1493, OHMO45158, OHBC4781) are marked at the very bottom of our website on any page that you visit. If you’re unsure, you can easily Check A License for any contractor at www2.cslb.ca.gov.
- A written estimate that can be explained to you, too, if you have any questions. Any professional HVAC team will provide you with a written estimate that outlines what services will be done and at what cost. If you’re receiving a verbal estimate without any documentation, be cautious.
- A reasonable cost. When comparing estimates, it’s important not to jump at the lowest (or highest) price. A reputable HVAC expert will quote you with a reasonable price and explain the value behind the price tag. Be a “healthy skeptic” of any exceedingly low-cost quotes you receive; they may be untrained or using cheap equipment. On the flip side, be skeptical of outrageously priced contractors, too.
- See references or testimonials. Make sure you see any references or testimonials that give you peace of mind about a company before choosing to partner with them.
Another few key questions to ask might be: What all does your installation estimate include? What are the benefits of the brands that your company offers? Can you share your warranty specifications? What kind of ongoing maintenance program do you offer? These are all welcomed questions.
If you’ve taken the time to cover these grounds, you’re off to a good start.
Know How Long Your Current System is Expected to Last
Generally, a high quality AC unit can last up to 20 years. Even for a system of lesser quality, it should last at least 10-15 years. To decide whether or not it’s the right time to replace your system, consider these factors:
- The age of your system. Is your unit 9 or 10 years old? It’s safe to say that 15 years is a fairly common life-span for an air conditioning unit (if regular maintenance has been happening), and if yours is getting up there, it may be worth it to replace it rather than repair it. If it’s newer than 9 years, you’re probably better off hiring a reputable HVAC team to do maintenance on it. But we can help you “do the math” to help you make an informed, confident decision.
- Rising energy bills. If your wallet is getting progressively thinner from your energy bills, it could be a sign that it’s time to consider a new unit.
- Perpetual repairs. If you’ve got the maintenance man on speed dial by now, it could be a red flag.
- Expensive repairs. Take note of the frequency and the cost of repairs–they can add up quickly! If you’re shelling out more than 60% of the cost of a new unit on just a repair, it’s usually a better idea to replace the system entirely (2).
Choose the Right A/C Size
The size of your A/C unit matters! And, contrary to popular belief, bigger isn’t always best when it comes to what is best for your home or building.
Energy efficiency is what you want to strive for. After all, that’s a better use of energy, it is better for the environment, and it is better for your wallet. Win, win, win. But in order to promote efficiency and keep your energy costs low, it’s critical that you choose the right unit size.
Because modern units run in cycles to slowly and gradually cool your space, a system that’s too large likely wouldn’t be able to reach a full cycle before successfully cooling your home. As a result, it would constantly be kicking on and off, thus causing a spike in your energy bills. Vice versa, too small of an A/C system is just as costly. If the unit is constantly working to cool a space that’s too large to handle, it’ll always be running—and again, that will cost you money.
A properly sized system will run in periodic cycles, kicking on to cool your home, and then turning off for a while after it’s finished. It’ll run enough to keep your space comfortable, but not so much that it’s wasting energy (3).
To keep reading tips you’ll want to know before buying a new air conditioner, read part two in the series here.
Turn to Greater Comfort When Buying a New Air Conditioner
We will be here now, and in the future, to assist your home or business with your HVAC needs. That includes 24/7 service and repair, ongoing maintenance, upgrades and installs. We’ll earn your trust through reliability, quality service, innovative offerings, and attention to detail. Whether it’s a building you own or it’s your home, we’re here to help!
Sources for further reading – from both blogs in this series: