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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Is It Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Central Air Conditioning?

Hot weather got you thinking of buying a new air conditioner? Is your current air conditioning system not cutting it anymore? If you have central air conditioning, it may be time for an upgrade, or to address some problems with your ventilation system.

Here's how to tell:

Your current fan may be ineffective.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it is likely working ineffectively and inefficiently, and should be replaced with a more energy-efficient model. Older air conditioners typically mean higher energy bills.

If your air conditioner needs frequent repairs it may not be properly suited for your home. You need a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) specialist to assess your current system.

If your cooling bills continue to rise, your system may be working inefficiently. Some of the cost of a new air conditioning system will be offset by lower energy bills.

If some of the rooms in your home are either too hot or too cold, it could be your air conditioning equipment malfunctioning or functioning inefficiently, or it could be a result of problems with your ducts or inadequate insulation.

If you have problems with humidity, your air conditioning equipment may be defective or otherwise performing inadequately or you may have leaky ductwork, which can be corrected by a qualified HVAC contractor.

If there is a lot of noise coming from your air conditioning unit, there may be a problem with its indoor coil, or your duct system may be too small. For any of these scenarios, contact a local HVAC specialist for an assessment and recommendations.

For any of these scenarios, contact a local HVAC specialist for an assessment and recommendations.

A bigger system is not always better

The most important factor when purchasing a central air conditioning system is that it's the appropriate size. Bigger is not necessarily better. If your system is too big, it won't be as effective at dehumidifying, which will make your home feel hotter. Also, because oversized systems cycle on and off more frequently than they should, they tend to break down more often, cost more to maintain and wear out faster.

An air conditioning system that's too small won't be able to cool your house adequately. It will be overworked, use excessive electricity, run loudly and be prone to premature failure. It may even freeze over on the warmest days.

Get a professional to assess your system requirements

A professional installer is trained to consider various factors that determine the right size of air conditioning equipment to meet the specific needs of your home - beyond square footage. Factors such as the age of the house, its size, how many stories it has, how well it's insulated, the number and quality of windows, and even local energy rates. They should use industry-standard "Manual J" and "Manual S" sizing calculations, however their years of experience can be used modify the results. They may take into account other factors such as the shade effect of trees or the positioning of the windows on the house, to further inform their recommendations. For this reason it is best to get more than one opinion.

Once you know the proper size of air conditioning unit required for your home, you can compare different models for energy efficiency, price, warranties offered, quiet operation, etc. To compare energy efficiency, each system is given a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER (look for the yellow Energy Guide tag attached to each appliance).

Go for SEER 13 or above

To keep it simple, the higher the SEER value, the more energy-efficient is the system. Right now, a SEER of 10 is the lowest rating of air conditioner allowed to be sold by law. However, on January 26, 2006, the law will change requiring a minimum mandatory SEER rating of 13. So for now you are still able to purchase SEER 10, 11 and 12 air conditioners, but it is a good idea to buy at least SEER 13. Aside from its better energy efficiency (i.e. lower cooling bills) and less damage to the environment, further down the road you won't have the difficulty and increased expense of trying to find parts for an outdated system.

Energy Star means energy-efficient

To ensure that you are getting a system with exceptional energy efficiency, buy a unit with an Energy Star label affixed. Energy Star is a program developed jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the use of appliances that reduce energy consumption and have less negative impact on the environment. According to the EPA, an air conditioner that qualifies for Energy Star, which is properly sized and installed, with a properly sealed duct system, will save you 20 percent in energy costs compared to other new, conventional systems.

Coolaire Consolidated’s Daikin systems offer the kinds of innovative and unique product features that deliver the optimum in air conditioned comfort and control. Various sites can range in size from a few hundred to several thousands of square feet. That’s why we offer a range of systems with advanced features to meet practically any challenge: our flexible, reliable, and energy-efficient air conditioning systems deliver Absolute Comfort to nearly any building, making it the ideal solution.


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