Central air conditioners tend to have long life spans of 10 to 15 years on average, but sooner or later, the time comes for A/C replacement. If your cooling system is nearing the end of its days, the following advice can help you understand what central A/C features to look for when you're shopping for a new system.
The Right Size
A system sized too large for a home's cooling load will short cycle, running inefficiently and failing to remove moisture. The home's occupants will feel clammy and need to turn the thermostat down to keep comfortable. A system sized too small will run continuously, straining to meet thermostat settings.Both situations overwork parts and can lead to breakdowns and potential system failures. Get the right size by insisting your contractor use Manual J software to determine cooling load, Manual D software for ductwork, and Manual S to determine the size of the cooling system.
SEER is an acronym for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The minimum SEER mandated for air conditioners by the Environmental Protection Agency is currently 14 for systems manufactured after Jan. 1, 2015, and 13 for systems manufactured prior. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the equipment, as long as it's sized and installed properly. Use SEER to guide you when comparing similar models.
Noisy air conditioners that cycle on with a rumble and a bang are annoying and can interfere with sleep and entertainment. Look for brands and models known for quiet operation, and use consumer ratings and reviews to guide you or ask your contractor for recommendations.
Modern air conditioners offer a number of convenient and efficient features. Some have a thermal expansion valve to modulate refrigerant flow for greater efficiency, or a variable speed air handler. A fan-only switch allows homeowners to turn on ventilation and reduce A/C use.
For more on central A/C features, contact Air Assurance. We've been providing our Broken Arrow customers quality HVAC service since 1985.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “James J. Flanigan/Shutterstock”