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Ready for an A/C Upgrade? Here Are Some Factors to Consider

Posted: May 10, 2016

Outside HVAC units

Memorial Day is just around the corner – which means muggy Catskill Region nights are not far behind.

The question is will your older home cooling system be up to the task? (Hint: if there was a Bush in the White House when your home cooling system was installed, it’s probably replacement time – especially if it was George Sr.).

If you’re ready to make the leap to a new A/C system (or Heat Pump) for your home, here are some of your most important factors to consider.

SEER Rating and Efficiency
The most common measure of efficiency in a home cooling system is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which measures the amount of cool air your A/C unit produces compared to the total amount of energy it needs to run for the cooling season (think of it as you would MPG in your car – the higher the rating, the more efficient your A/C is).

Typical central air conditioning models today have SEER ratings between 16 and 20 (many ductless mini-split systems have even higher SEER ratings).

Higher SEER units cost more, with prices increasing by about 8-10 percent for every 1-point increase in SEER on a similar-sized unit by the same manufacturer. In our Northeastern climate, it will typically take about 3 years to “pay back” the added cost of an 18 SEER unit over a 14 SEER unit.

More importantly, SEER doesn’t take into account other factors that will have at least as much bearing on cooling performance as the efficiency of your unit itself, such as how well your home is insulated, the condition of your ductwork, and how well matched the size of your system is to your house’s cooling load – which leads us to point 2.

Right-sizing
Right-sizing an air conditioning system is vital to getting the most for your cooling dollar. Buy an air conditioner that’s too small or too large and you’ll wear it out before its time (a unit that’s too small will overwork; a unit that’s too large will constantly turn on and off, over-taxing the compressor and fan controls).

The problem is that right-sizing isn’t just based on the volume of your house: you need to take into account the climate, the style of your home, the number of windows you have, the amount of insulation you’ve installed, the amount of shade your house is exposed to, and more.

Right-sizing is best left to a professional who will consider all these variables (Contact BlackBear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating & A/C to learn more).

Other Considerations

  • Manufacturers – Look for reputable names like Daikin, Mitsubishi and York
  • Warrantee – Compare Warrantees offered by the manufacturer – and make sure you keep your warrantee in force by performing routine maintenance and service!
  • Expert installation and support – Always choose a company with experienced, knowledgeable technicians – like Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing Heating & A/C!

Contact Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating & A/C today to get a FREE estimate for a new cooling system professionally installed in your home – Just In Time For SUMMER!