WISE BUYING GUIDE TO CENTRAL A/C
Are you considering purchasing or upgrading a new central air-conditioning system for your home? Or are you just curious on how to get the most value and quality out of a future system? Well, we are here to help!
According to Consumer Reports, more than 75% of US homes use air conditioning and 90% of new homes are equipped with central air-conditioning. In other words, in a world where heating and air conditioning once were considered luxuries, they have quickly become necessities in Georgia.
There are several things to consider when looking to replace your air-conditioning system. Most likely, one of the most important things to you, the consumer, is price. To break price down even further, when you install or replace an old air-conditioning unit, there are two costs: the price of installation and the price of the unit itself.
The price of the unit and equipment is usually tied to the process of the company, along with the efficiency and durability of the unit itself. It is recommended that you research the brand of equipment that your heating and air-conditioning company sells. Different brands offer different qualities and they are mainly based on personal preference.
Sometimes more important than the price of the unit is the price of installation. The price of installation is greatly influenced by the company’s installation practices and procedures, which are often comprised by lack of knowledge and skill. Pride and lack of work ethic can also have an effect on procedure. In many cases, the technician is fully aware of best practices but doesn’t use them. This is demoralizing to the trade and the customer. It is crucial that you find a company that utilizes the best installation practices and procedures, as this may dictate the life of your system.
NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification is also a great factor to consider as it is a barometer of a company’s knowledge and enthusiasm about the trade. NATE is actually the nation’s largest non-profit certification, independent organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians and companies. If a company or the technician is NATE certified, you can rest assured that they have the proper knowledge to install your unit correctly.
Another important thing to look for when buying a new system, is the unit size. Your home will determine the type and size of your unit that you get. A system that is too big reduces energy efficiency, and one that is too small will prevent you from cooling your home properly. Therefore, a manual J load calculator should be ran before any unit is installed.
If you are interested in conserving energy, which in return saves you money, you should consider looking at the SEER rating. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating. Basically, the higher the SEER rating, the greater the energy efficiency. The minimum requirement for an HVAC unit is 14, and the highest ranking is 25.
Lastly, considering the condition of the ductwork in your home is the most critical in conjunction with conserving energy. Your household can lose up to 20 percent of cooled and heated air through improperly sealed ductwork. Many homeowners and even some air companies underestimate the importance of properly sealed ductwork.
Based on the previous information, there are many important factors to consider when purchasing a new heating and air-conditioning unit. Just like any investment, it is best to do your research on a company and manufacturer that is in your price range, but more importantly, is going to do a thorough job.