Let’s face it. Most people want to feel comfortable, day and night,
through every season all year long. And truthfully, many people
need to feel comfortable in order to work more efficiently, think more effectively,
rest better, play harder, and just plain relax. Indeed, staying warm in
the winter and cool in the summer are standard expectations for many.
This may be why most homes in this country depend on central air conditioning
to keep their homes comfortable in the dog days of summer. According to
the latest findings by the American Housing Survey, almost two-thirds
of all occupied U.S. households have central air conditioning. Another
25 percent use conventional window units to help beat the heat as outdoor
You may already have a suitable A/C system to cool your home. But, if your
A/C system is experiencing major component failures, needs frequent repairs,
or if you’re thinking it’s time to buy an A/C system for the
very first time, making the right choice can be hard.
Here are six things to consider when purchasing a new A/C system:
1. How energy-efficient is the unit?
High-efficiency units may cost more upfront but they eventually pay for
themselves through savings on utility bills. Always check the SEER (Seasonal
Energy Efficiency Ratio). Higher SEER ratings mean higher energy efficiency.
Since 2006, a SEER rating of 13 or higher is mandated by the federal government
for all new A/C systems. However, some systems have SEER ratings as high as 23.
2. What is the heating seasonal performance factor?
If you choose a heat pump to be part of your central heating and cooling
system, in addition to the SEER rating, another very important measurement
to take note of is the HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). A heat
pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that is used
to either cool or heat your home, depending on the season. The HSPF measures
the heat pump’s cooling efficiency, but it does not measure the unit’s heating efficiency.
As with the SEER rating, the higher the HSPF rating, the higher the efficiency.
The best HSPF rating will be between 5 and 7.
3. How quiet is the unit?
A condenser is the part of an A/C system or unit that makes the noise.
On portable window units, the condenser is the backend of the unit that
juts outward from the window. On central A/C systems, condensers are always
installed outside, either in the yard or on the side, back or top of the
house. Some condensers run quieter than others. Some systems have built-in
noise reducing technology. To measure the noise level of A/C systems,
manufacturers give the machines a decibel rating. A good decibel rating
for any A/C system is 76 or less.
4. Licensing and Certification of your HVAC Contractor
Federal law requires that all contractors working in refrigeration be EPA
608 trained and certified. There are additional state-specific, county
and municipal licensing and registration requirements for all contractors
performing refrigeration work that requires a permit. Check with your
state and local building departments for specific information and to verify
your contractor’s credentials.
5. Does the system have written warranties and/or guarantees?
Generally, a warranty is a “promise” or guarantee from a manufacturer,
seller or contractor to stand behind the product and/or service. It is
a statement about the quality of the product and about the commitment
to correct problems should they arise. Most A/C system manufacturers offer
full or limited warranties on the appliance as a whole. Or, they may offer
warranties exclusively on certain components of the system. Likewise,
many HVAC contractors offer workmanship or satisfaction guarantees for
specific, reasonable time periods. For example, a contractor might offer
a five-year warranty on parts and labor. In many cases, consumers can
lengthen a warranty by purchasing optional warranty extensions.
Very often, the consumer will be responsible for routine maintenance on
the appliance in order for a warranty to be honored. Warranties vary,
so check with your manufacturer and HVAC contractor for specific information
and eligibility requirements.
6. What preventative / maintenance plans are available?
Purchasing a new A/C system is a big decision and exciting home improvement
investment. Having this investment properly installed is critical to ensure
the system runs as safely, efficiently, and smoothly as possible. As the
proud new owner of an A/C system, it makes sense that you do your part
in taking reasonable measures to increase the system’s efficiency
and longevity. Check with your HVAC contractor about any related service
partnership plans or routine maintenance programs they might offer. Typical
plans include special benefits to the customer, like: priority service,
annual tune-ups and inspections, discounts on services and satisfaction
Now that you have the facts, don’t hesitate, call Arco Comfort Air today!