Replacing your System

What Is Involved?

While the initial cost of new equipment may seem high, energy savings that will be realized through increased efficiency often justifies replacement. This improved efficiency is not only good for you, but also helps reduce your home’s electrical demand, which is ultimately good for the environment

Many homeowners during some point of their ownership may have to replace their central air-conditioning systems. The average life span of central air-conditioning system is 12- to 15- years if it is properly installed and maintained. Heat pumps have about the same life-span — about 14 years — when recommended maintenance is followed. Newer units manufactured in recent years are expected to last even longer.

When the system starts giving you more problems than seem cost-effective to fix, it may be time to consider purchasing a new system. When faced with major repairs call Efficient Climate Control for recommendations.

Will I need to replace my entire system?

It is important to know that split air-conditioning or heat-pump systems consist of two parts: an indoor (coil) unit and an outdoor (condensing) unit. These two parts are specifically designed to work together as a coordinated “team” to provide top performance and maximum efficiency and comfort.

In the past, homeowners could sometimes replace part of their system, such as the outdoor condensing unit, to extend its useful life. However, air-conditioning and heat-pump systems manufactured today, by law, must have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher.  For these new, high-efficiency systems to work properly and to extend their life, the outdoor unit and indoor unit must be perfectly matched. So if you install a new high efficiency outdoor unit, but don’t install a new, equally efficient and properly matched indoor unit, the results could be uncomfortable, frustrating, and expensive. Because newer equipment usually is more energy efficient you will likely see reduced utility bills.

What should I look for in a technician?

Knowledge and experience. Talk with your neighbors or friends for technicians they have used and trust. Another way to identify a knowledgeable technician is to look for one that has been certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) such as us. To become NATE-certified, technicians have to pass a nationally recognized test to demonstrate they have the knowledge to properly size, install and repair today’s increasingly sophisticated heating and cooling systems.

How can I be sure my system is the right size for my home?

Homeowners should ask their air-conditioning technician to size the equipment to meet the specific needs of their homes. If a system is undersized, it will continuously run without properly cooling your home. If oversized, the system will cycle on and off too frequently, greatly reducing its ability to control humidity. It also will be less efficient. Duct system also have a huge impact on delivering that higher efficiency

To properly size a system for a home, trained technicians will use an equation that factors the home’s age, the number and quality of its windows, how well it is insulated, how many stories it has, its total square footage, and local energy rates. When needed we will perform a Manual J analysis, the industry’s term for the standardized equation used to properly size an air-conditioning system. Your technician will specify the cooling capacity of the system in either Btu/h (British thermal units of heat removed per hour) or refrigeration tons (one ton being equal to 12,000 Btu/h).

House Power

When installing a new air conditioning system, you will need to consider your home’s electrical system. s. Central air conditioners require a dedicated 230-volt circuit and may require 20 to 50 amps of power, making an electrical service upgrade sometimes necessary. We can have an electrician evaluate your home’s electrical supply before work begins.

How can I determine the energy efficiency of my air conditioning or heat pump system?

Air conditioning manufacturers are required by law to evaluate and rate their equipment according to its energy efficiency. This rating for central air conditioning is known in the industry as a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heat pump systems. The higher the SEER/HSPF, the more efficient the equipment. Generally, the higher the SEER/HSPF of a unit, the higher the cost, but the difference often can be recouped through reduced home energy bills.

Many manufacturers voluntarily submit their products for testing by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to assure consumers their energy efficiency claims have been verified by an independent, third party laboratory. However, AHRI does not certify individual units, but matched air conditioning and heat pump systems, which work together as a coordinated team to achieve the given SEER/HSPF rating. Because the AHRI Certified™ mark is usually visible on the outside unit, it is important for consumers to double check their system is properly matched by asking their technician to verify this information.

How will I know if my air conditioning or heat pump system is properly matched?

You can verify that the system your air conditioning technician is proposing is a matched system by asking him to provide you with an AHRI Certificate of Product Ratings or an AHRI Certified Reference Number (formerly ARI Reference number). The reference number can be entered into AHRI’s Directory of Certified Product Performance to verify that you have a matched system and to obtain an AHRI Certificate of Product Ratings. For higher efficiency systems, the certificate can be used to obtain a federal tax credit or a utility rebate if applicable.

What are two-stage units, two speed compressors, and variable speed motors?

American Standards has used new technologies to improve the efficiency of their equipment. Some of these technologies that help keep energy bills down are the two stage units. Two speed compressors and variable-speed motors.

Two-stage outdoor unit

Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner uses two compressors in one unit with two levels of operation: a large compressor for hot summer days and a smaller compressor for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80 percent of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures while reducing operating cost.

Two speed compressor

Two speed cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80 percent of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures while reducing operating cost.

Longer cooling cycles translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner can remove twice as much moisture from the air. The importance is, when moisture levels are high, there’s potential for mold and other pollutants.

Variable speed motors

The indoor air handler or furnace blower motor provides the energy to move air through the ductwork of a central air conditioning system to the rooms of your house. In most standard central cooling and heating systems, the fan and motor runs at one speed, which means the system is either on or off. A variable speed motor (VSM) uses control technology, meaning the VSM automatically changes speed based on your home’s heating and cooling requirements. It slowly increases up to maximum speed instead of coming on at full capacity all at once. This eliminates the sudden blast of air you feel with a one-speed system and results in the system running at a lower speed most of the time. This eliminates noisy start up, while reducing wear and tear on the fan and motor, resulting in a substantial reduction in operating costs due to major energy efficiency improvements.

What do I look for if I want a quiet air conditioning system?

Most heating and cooling systems manufactured today are quieter than those produced in past years. But there are still significant differences in sound ratings among these products.

All Platinum ZM units have for sound-dampening features such as insulated compressor compartments, discharge mufflers and innovative fan designs that work to soften the sound of a hard-working, high-efficiency compressor. Top-panel orifices, compressor wrappers and indoor blowers are all designed to further promote smooth, quiet airflow.