- Repair or Replace: Should you pay to repair whatever is broken? In an older unit, this often means compressor replacement. This is always a difficult a decision. On one hand you don’t want to spend money on a new high efficiency system, but on the other hand, you don’t want to throw good money after bad. Which way should you go? Replacing a compressor use to be a viable choice if funding was not available. With the rising cost of Freon it has become prohibitive for these types of repairs. If you have been performing maintenance by a licensed air conditioning technician, then perhaps the current repair is isolated to a single, simple problem and not indicative of a major or potentially recurring issue. In this case it might make sense to repair and fix the problem.
- Replace with a Freon or R-22 unit: These units are still available for an undetermined amount of time. The numbers are rapidly diminishing with the phase-out of Freon. They are generally a lower efficiency or SEER value and, over the life of the unit, will likely have higher operating (utility bill) and maintenance (repair) costs. However, given the right scenario, this could be a reasonable financial choice if needed.
- Buy a unit with R-410A, environmentally friendly Freon: In every instance where there are criteria other than “lowest first cost,” you should strongly consider buying a new system. Using a higher SEER unit saves energy. Saving energy saves the environment. Using technologies such as the eco friendly R410A refrigerant will also minimize the overall environmental impact. Therefore, you can feel good about saving both the planet and money on your energy bill with your new air conditioner.
A few additional thoughts as you evaluate HVAC replacement proposals: There are some very important elements to think about as you contemplate replacement of your unit and a change of refrigerant. With financing, an American Standard high efficiency system is more convenient than ever. Financing is provided with approved credit by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank, an Equal Housing Lender.
- Importance of Efficiency The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rates the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. A 10 year old unit would probably have been a 10 SEER unit at time of purchase. Over time this unit will wear down and operate somewhere around the 8 SEER level. The higher the SEER rating, the higher the efficiency of the unit. In 2006 the minimum SEER rating for an Air Conditioning unit was raised to 13 SEER. Operating cost savings can range from 38% to over 50%. The money saved on your electric bill from upgrading to a newer unit will pay for the unit itself. So transitioning from an 8 SEER unit to a new 18 SEER unit will allow better performance at your current budget.
- Should I Finance? Monthly finance charges never sound like a good thing. There is a way to stick with your current budget and have a brand new A/C Unit? Using a higher SEER unit this is a very real possibility. The amount of savings generated from your lower monthly electric bill could very well take care of any finance charge. Imagine – a cooler more comfortable home, with a better unit, at your current budget.
- Getting the size of the system right: In the past, when electricity was less expensive, the general concept was “bigger is better.” Builders use to be charged by the ton of air conditioning so it was not uncommon for contractors to install larger units than needed. Today, the best strategy is running a load calculation if needed and “right-sizing the system.” Our company has lost lots of quality installations by reducing the size of both the indoor and the outdoor units for your system. Our technicians know what is needed to make you and your family comfortable. Humidity levels are the key to comfort and right-sizing makes your home more comfortable by reducing indoor humidity. Right-sized systems also cost less to operate on an annual basis.
- Matched systems: Effective air conditioning comes from a matched system. The system usually includes an outside unit (condensing unit) containing a compressor, an indoor unit that has a fan blowing air over the indoor coil (evaporator), and distributing the air through the duct system to the home. The evaporator has a device that changes the pressure of the compressed refrigerant, and when the pressure is reduced, the coil gets cold. When the air runs over the coil, water condenses (humidity is removed from your home) and the air temperature gets lower because it is exposed to the cold evaporator coil — thus creating colder air. It is important to have the size of your systems matched (engineered ratings are the best method) and to have the right pressure-changing device (a thermal expansion valve, i.e., TXV) to get the best results.
- Get a new indoor (evaporator) coil: You will need a new evaporator coil to go with the new outdoor unit. Installing an older coil on a new unit can decrease efficiency drastically. The size is one element; the refrigerant metering device is another. Also, the new refrigerant operates at a significantly higher pressure, and without the proper match of the coil to the condensing unit you simply will not have a system that functions properly and efficiently
- New or existing refrigerant lines? These lines are made of copper and run from your indoor coil to your outdoor unit. Generally, they will be hidden by walls, floors, or ceilings. Manufactures have guidelines on sizing the lines so the unit will operate reliably. ECC always checks for proper sizing. It is often difficult and always expensive to replace these lines. The new refrigerants also use a different lubricant that is not compatible with the old Freon systems. If existing lines are used it is critical that the lines are clean.
- Duct Work: This is the key to delivering the efficiency of that new system. A 30% return duct leak on a hot or cold day can decrease your heating or cooling capacity more than 50%. That may sound extreme, but with Texas heat it is not uncommon. Ducts move air, and air is invisible. So to determine if your ducts work and are sized properly air properties must be designed and measured. An Efficient Climate Control Comfort Specialist is able to measure how much air goes to each room and compare it to how much is needed. He can also take other measurements including temperatures and pressures to determine how well your ducts work, then can review the results of these test with you.
Don’t take chances with your Woodlands AC services: when you need help with your air conditioning, heating or indoor air quality in The Woodlands choose the company that’s been trusted for years. Providing service to thousands of homes and offering satisfaction guaranteed service. Efficient Climate Control serving The Woodlands, Oak Ridge, Spring, Imperial Oaks, and surrounding areas.
To schedule a service call contact us at (281) 367-5267 or click HERE.