When shopping around for an air conditioning unit, you know that there are many factors to consider. Instead of getting overwhelmed with what to look for, here are four simple ways of knowing that you're on your way to a quality HVAC installation.
A central heating and air unit should be sized right for your home. But despite the fact that HVAC systems are sized by the ton, this isn't actually a reflection of how much they weigh. A 1-ton unit is able to cool a certain amount of water one degree per hour. So the size essentially dictates how quickly and efficiently your home will cool.
To give an example, the average 2,000 square foot home in a hot climate like Florida or Texas will usually demand a 3.5-ton AC unit. But if you live in a cooler part of the country, like the far north, the same size home will probably only require a 3-ton unit.
So what happens if the unit doesn't "fit" your home? If it's too small, it will have to work harder to keep your home cool in the summer. So you may be comfortable temperature-wise, but your wallet will suffer because your AC will likely be running non-stop.
If the unit is too large, you run the risk of having a system that turns on and off too quickly. As a result, it isn't able to run through the full cycle it was designed to. This can also run up your fuel costs from the constant on/off process the system goes through.
Location! Location! Location!
Where your unit gets installed is everything.
The indoor part. It's generally recommended to stay away from installing the evaporator in the attic when possible. If and when it leaks, your attic and ceiling can suffer water damage. If it's unavoidable, be sure to ask the company if they will take precautions for this, like adding an extra condensate pan and a drain line that runs to the outside of the house.
The best spot for the evaporator is anywhere that's level with the floor, like your garage or in a closet. These units are less likely to leak and much easier to service and repair.
The outdoor part. The condenser unit is the part that goes outside, and it should be placed where it won't be an eyesore to you or passersby and where it can't become blocked or damaged by bushes, tree limbs, and debris from gutterless roofs. It should also be placed as far away from a bedroom window as possible so that the noise isn't a distraction. And if it's doable, afternoon shade on the condenser can help it run more efficiently.
Show Me The Money
Asking how much your new air conditioning unit should cost is a little like asking how much you should spend on a new home. Much of the cost will be determined by where you live, the type of unit purchased, its SEER rating (the efficiency rating. Don't get anything less than 10), whether or not you're having ducts installed or replaced, and the size. But the average homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from $2,650-$15,000 on the high end.
The best way to determine whether or not you're spending too much is to research the average costs in your area. And here's a tip: don't necessarily go with someone who is way underpriced. This can mean that they don't have as much "overhead" like liability insurance, a license, or something else equally important. It's generally advised to ask why they are able to give such a huge discount.
It's, Like, Totally Cool, Y'Know?
Your central heating and air unit should have the right type of coolant to keep your house comfortable.
Federal laws recently changed, and by the year 2020, R-22 refrigerant will no longer be allowed due to its harmful effects on the environment. Make sure your new system uses R-410A or some other acceptable and safe alternative. If you end up investing in an R-22 system now, it may be cheaper in the interim, but it will become very costly to repair down the road. This is because R-22 will no longer be manufactured after 2019, which will put a stranglehold on the market and cause prices to jump.
For more information and options, talk with an air conditioning installations expert, such as those at Nova Air Conditioning & Heating.