Installing a new central A/C is a matter of timing: not too soon, not too late. You definitely want to get all the available service life out of your existing cooling system to maximize your investment. However, you don’t want to be stuck at the worst time of the year with no cooling because you pushed a borderline system too far past its normal lifespan. Most air conditioners that have surpassed their expected service life will fail either at system start-up at the beginning of the cooling season or during the time of greatest load; i.e, during the summer’s worst heat wave. So, if you’ve managed to nurse a marginal, outmoded A/C through one last summer, this fall’s the perfect time to upgrade and ensure dependability and enhanced efficiency next season.
Here are some of the signs it may be time to start thinking about installing a new central A/C:
- Age. The average age of a central air conditioner when it requires replacement is 12 to 15 years. If you’re unsure of the age of your A/C, look for a date of installation on the warranty paperwork that may have been included in the sale documents when you bought the house. Record the model number and serial number and contact the manufacturer to find out the age. If you’re lucky, the installation date might even be written on the equipment.
- Increasing expenses. If you’re spending an ever-increasing amount on frequent repairs, you’ve probably reached the tipping point where fixing an aging, inefficient air conditioner isn’t the most prudent financial course. Upgrading to a new, standard-efficiency system will increase energy efficiency and lower operating costs from day one. High-efficiency A/C’s can save even more money in locales with long cooling seasons.
- Comfort issues. Air conditioners with components like the compressor that have worn past acceptable tolerance will no longer perform adequately to maintain indoor comfort. Rooms that used to cool won’t do so anymore; humidity will accumulate and the air will feel clammy. A new air conditioner restores your home to the cool comfort you expect.
When to Buy?
It’s usually best to purchase HVAC equipment in the off-season. Upgrade your heating system when it’s hot outside. Consider installing a new central A/C when the weather’s cool, such as in the fall. Summer’s probably the worst time to be forced to make a snap decision and buy a new cooling system because the old one has suddenly given up the ghost. Prices are high, the selection of the best air conditioners with the most desirable features is low, and the wait time for installation may be long. As fall arrives, HVAC dealers are often in the position to negotiate better prices on new units from wholesalers that incorporate all the latest features for performance and efficiency. In addition, specials may be offered on remaining systems from the previous year. By the time fall rolls around, your HVAC contractor’s installers have cleared all the summer emergency calls off their calendar. They’ll be ready when you are to install your new system – and you won’t have to take a number on the waiting list.
The Right Installation
Installing a new central A/C the proper, professional way will positively impact the system’s energy-efficiency and performance through its entire service life. So, it’s important to get it right from the start. A professional air conditioning installation will include these vital elements:
- Sizing. No reputable HVAC contractor will rely on rough estimates to match the BTU output of your new system to the unique thermal requirements of your home. Nor will they simply install a new system with the same specs as the existing A/C. Proper installation begins with a professional sizing calculation using Manual J, the industry standard software developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
- Matched components. In today’s systems, the indoor evaporator coil and outdoor condenser/compressor are a precisely matched set. In a proper installation, existing coils will never be re-used with the new system to save money. Both indoor and outdoor coils will be new components made for each other and engineered for the new system.
- Ductwork issues. Hooking the efficient technology of a brand new air conditioner to old leaky ducts doesn’t meet industry installation standards. It’s like driving a brand new car on bald tires. In many locales today, it’s also a violation of local building codes. A proper installation will include an inspection of existing ductwork, as well as a duct pressure test to quantify the amount of leakage and identify the location of leaks for sealing.
If you’re thinking about installing a new central A/C this fall, please contact us at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning for installations in and around Savannah.
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