An air conditioner is a major financial investment and the appliance you rely on to be comfortable during our long, hot summers. This checklist covers the information you need when selecting the cooling system best for your home. Replacing an A/C is not something homeowners do often (thankfully), and this list can help guide your decision.
- Sizing. Of all the decisions you make when replacing your cooling system, determining the best size is the most critical. Systems that are too small won’t be able to cool your home during our hottest weather, and those that are too large waste energy, provide uneven cooling, wear out sooner, and fall short when it comes to humidity control and air filtration.
Your contractor needs to perform a load calculation using software called Manuals J and D. Manual J applies to the cooling load calculation and equipment sizing, while Manual D specifies the duct configuration and capacity. Ignoring these steps could result in a less comfortable home and higher energy bills.
- Efficiency. The current minimum efficiency standard for central air conditioning systems stands at 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Broadly speaking, anything higher saves 10 percent per numeric increase. If you choose a system with a 16 SEER, for example, it will use 30 percent less electricity than a 13 SEER unit. Considering the cost of electricity and our long cooling season, higher efficiency makes a difference.
- Maintenance. An air conditioner requires maintenance both by you and your reliable HVAC professional. The evaporator coil inside the air handler should be cleaned every two years, so choosing one whose coil is easy to access will help with this task. For the same reason, you’ll want an A/C whose filter is easy to access, since you’ll be replacing it as often as monthly during the cooling season.
- Contractor. Choosing a NATE-certified contractor to install the system is likely to boost your satisfaction with the whole process.
At Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning, we’re happy to help you through the air conditioner replacement process. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for San Joaquin Valley homeowners for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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