Some say that summers are getting hotter with every passing year. Perhaps it is the fact that we have lost that innate ability to tolerate the heat. We can all admit that we have been tempted to get rid of those noisy old air conditioners at one point in time. Or maybe you don’t have an air conditioning unit, and you are looking to install a central air conditioning system.
However, for some reason, you have never taken active steps on getting a central air conditioning system for your home or office space. We know that many are worried about the supposed exorbitant costs of installing a central air conditioning system in your home.
Of course, there are other reasons why people opt not to install central air conditioning systems in their homes. Those with heating systems are worried that modifying the already-existing system might be a bother. On the other hand, those who live in homes without ductwork are worried that installing ducts might be a costly task.
The truth is that central air conditioning systems are not as expensive as they may seem. If you already make use of a heating system, installing a central air system for a home of about 2,000 square-foot would cost between $3,500 to $4,000. A capable technician will be able to carry out the project in three days.
If your house needs additional ductwork, the project may take longer to complete. It can even take as much as six days along with increased costs. However, it is an expenditure that is worth it.
Central air conditioning units are extremely efficient. Over the years, they are also cost-effective and guaranteed to save you additional costs. Keep reading to know the factors that go into determining the price of a central air conditioning system.
Choosing A Central Air Conditioning Unit
Before purchasing a central air conditioning unit, you have to determine the exact type of system your home needs. It wouldn’t do for you to buy a system that is too big for your home or to purchase one that isn’t up to scratch.
When choosing a central air conditioning system, the following factors should be put into consideration:
Before advising you on the type of system to buy, it is the function of the contractor to make a Manual J load calculation. This calculation is regulated by a controlling body and determines the heat gain of your home.
Manual J load calculations are not very difficult for your contractors to perform. The result of this calculation is that you will know exactly what size of central air conditioning you need.
If your contractor wants you to select a unit based solely on experience, it is a good sign that you should flee from such contractors.
Manual J load calculations are greatly influenced by the location of your home. It is also affected by some factors including:
- Attic and wall insulation
- Placement of doors and windows
- Exposure of your home to solar rays etc
Heat gain calculations are hugely beneficial. With these calculations, you can decide whether or not to upgrade the insulation capabilities of your home. If your home has excellent insulation, you can even reduce the size of the central air/conditioner you would need.
2. Choosing the right size
This can only be done if your contractor has carried out proper manual J load calculations. The appropriate size you will need is a function of the British Thermal Units per hour consumed by your home.
Getting the right size is perhaps the most crucial part of obtaining an air conditioning system. A system that is too small for your home will be unable to cool it on hot days. Additionally, you will have to spend more money operating it since it has to run continuously over long periods.
On the other hand, an oversized central air conditioner will also be expensive to run. The bigger they are, the faster they accrue unnecessary electricity costs. Similarly, an oversized air conditioning unit will not be able to lower humidity. This is because it works so fast and turns off before it can extract the needed moisture.
The result is that you will have a room that doesn’t feel as cold as the temperature readings show. Sometimes, the room may even feel damp.
Make sure that you get a right-sized unit for your home.
3. The efficiency of the air conditioning system
After determining the right size AC unit for your home, the next step is to evaluate its unit efficiency. The effectiveness of a central air conditioning unit is defined by its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER of an air conditioning unit determines how much BTU is removed from your home for every Watt of electricity used by the system.
As long as your unit’s SEER is high, it will cost less to operate. The higher the SEER rates, the lower the operational costs. It is recommended that you purchase an air conditioning unit with a SEER of at least 13.
The recommended systems are of higher quality, easy to maintain, have low operating costs, low voltage requirements and are safer. You should note that the purchase price of a unit increases with its SEER.
Types of Air Conditioning Units
Another thing to consider when buying an air conditioning unit is the type of unit you want. There are two major types of central air conditioning systems available for sale. They include:
- A package system
- A split system
Package systems have their condensers together with the whole unit. The condenser makes sure that the refrigerant is cool while also releasing warm air outside. Ducts are usually connected directly to a package system. They can primarily be described as wall conditioners that have pipes. Today, package air conditioning systems are scarce.
Split systems have their condensers located outside your home while the fan-and-coil system is situated indoors. The two complementary systems are connected by ducts that carry refrigerant.
Pipes will be connected to the cooling coil system if your home already has a forced-air furnace. These pipes are then fitted into your furnace air handler. The fan-and-coil system will be placed in the attic where they will work undisturbed if you don’t have a forced-air furnace.
Factors to Consider When Having Air Conditioning Installed
Before your HVAC contractors come in to install your central air conditioning system, there are some issues that should be ticked off your list. They include:
1. Proper Placement
Even the most silent of air conditioners will emit some form of noise. You are advised to place the air conditioner where the sound will not be a disturbance, for your advantage.
Additionally, you are advised not to place your air conditioner under any enclosure or encase it. AC systems emanate warm air from their tops. If there is a restriction in airflow around your air conditioner, it may affect its efficiency.
2. Absence of ducts
Even if your home does not have ductwork, you can still install an air conditioning unit. A large percentage of central AC are split ones and its condenser can be placed outside your home. You can disguise the refrigerant pipes as a part of your gutter system.
3. Duct Inspections
If your home already has furnace ducts, they can be used to deliver cold air for your air conditioning systems. It is recommended to have your ducts inspected before configuring the whole system.
Many a time, you may have to carry out some modifications on your ducts to make them ideal for air conditioning. Air conditioners generate a higher volume of air, a phenomenon that your pipes may not be outfitted for. Ironically, old furnace ducts which tend to be larger are perfect for your air conditioning needs.
Below is a list of modifications you may have to make on already existing ducts:
Upsizing your Furnace Blower
It is through cubic feet per minute measurements that your furnace blower is rated. It is a measure of how much cubic feet of air it can move through your home every minute. You may have to increase the size of your furnace blower. An undersized furnace blower won’t be able to move enough air. This can lead to your coils freezing and getting faulty.
Sealing your Ducts
At certain points, your ductwork needs to be sealed off, to boost the efficiency of your system. An imbalanced system can cause back drafting during scorching weather. A professional looks into this safety hazard.
Changing supply registers
Your supply registers should be swapped out for ones that allow an increased volume of air to pass through. Old register grilles offer too much of a resistance to proper air flow. New grilles, on the other hand, can increase efficiency by as much as 30%
Even if your home does not have a pre-existing duct system, installing an air conditioning unit will make those hot summer months more pleasant. It is not as expensive as everybody makes it out to be.
Contact our professionals to help you with choosing the right unit and installing it as well. Call us today!