Sometimes regularly scheduled professional maintenance isn’t enough to keep your older air conditioner running as it should. If you’re thinking of replacing the A/C in your northwest Arkansas home, here are some points to consider.
- When to replace. If your A/C is more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. An old, inefficient cooling system doesn’t just leave you hot and uncomfortable; it wastes electricity. Investing in a new Energy Star certified central A/C or heat pump can significantly reduce cooling costs.
- What to replace. It’s best to replace your entire system at once. Replacing the A/C piecemeal (for example, keeping the indoor evaporator/air handler and replacing the outdoor condenser/compressor) can lead to reduced efficiency, poor performance and breakdowns. It may not even be technically feasible.
Types of A/C
- Packaged. A packaged unit may be better if you’re also replacing your furnace. “All-in-one-box” packaged units, installed on your roof or next to your house, combine A/C with a heating element or furnace for heating as well as cooling. These systems are more common in commercial settings, however.
- Split-system. If you’re happy with your current heating set-up, a split-system unit is a cost-effective option. It’s very likely the same type of system that you’re replacing. Split-system A/Cs are available for both ducted and ductless systems.
- Heat pumps. In warmer climates, heat pumps are an increasingly efficient way to both cool and heat your home. They typically cost less to run than conventional A/C, though they do use the same technology when in cooling mode.
An A/C system needs to be properly sized for your home. A system that’s too small won’t cool the space effectively; too large, and it will short cycle, stressing parts and wasting energy. This may cause uncomfortable temperature fluctuations and inadequately remove humidity and filter the air. Your HVAC contractor should conduct a Manual J load calculation on your home, which considers its size and a constellation of other factors in determining the right-sized cooling system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about replacing the A/C and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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