When you decide your old, clunky, money-gobbling air conditioning system just went through its last summer, you’ll have a few big decisions to make. One of the first is to choose when to have it replaced. Although we’re heading into the end of the year and colder weather, we recommend you don’t wait for the spring to have your new air conditioner installed.
Take advantage of the cooler temps in the fall to have the system put in. That way, you’re prepared for when a sudden fall heat wave occurs—and we’ve certainly run into those from time to time. Fall is an easier time for the work schedules of an HVAC company in Clovis, NM, so you can find a convenient time to have the work done.
Fall also gives you a bit more time to consider your options and the best way to ensure you have the right new central AC for your house. Below are a few considerations during the new installation process.
The Air Conditioner Size
“Size” of an air conditioner doesn’t mean its physical dimensions. Of course, you can’t have an air conditioning system that’s too big for the HVAC cabinet where it’s supposed to go, but most central ACs are designed to fit into the same spot. What size means in this situation is the cooling capacity of the air conditioner: how many tons of cooling it can put into a house. (Or, more accurately, how many tons of heat it can remove from a house.)
The tonnage for a residential air conditioning system ranges from 2 to 12. The AC must be in a middle spot between too small and too large. An AC that’s too small won’t be able to reach the setting on the thermostat, while one that’s too large will rapidly turn on and off and waste power.
The good news is that finding the proper tonnage for an AC is a job you can leave to professionals. They’ll use a load calculation that takes various factors of your house and comes up with the correct size AC for its needs—not too big, not too small, but just right. Don’t let amateurs do this job, because that increases the chance you’ll have the wrong system.
Air Conditioner Efficiency Rating
If you’ve had your current air conditioner for long enough, almost any new system you purchase will have better energy efficiency. The basic technology of AC manufacturing has made newer models better at turning energy into cooling power. However, you can opt to have an air conditioning system installed that has special features to boost efficiency even higher.
Currently, the US Department of Energy standard for residential ACs to receive the ENERGY STAR label is a SEER rating of 15 or higher. Your old AC might have been around 13 SEER. The newest high-efficiency air conditioning systems can have SEER in the 20s, which can mean a significant change in your cooling costs. However, high-efficiency units with multi-stage compressors, scroll compressors, and variable speed fans are more expensive to purchase. Check with the installers to see if the long-term savings make a high-efficiency air conditioner a good option for your house.