4 Questions to Ask BEFORE Buying a New Central A/C
Purchasing a new air conditioning system can be expensive and stressful. Thinking about these questions ahead of time will help you to make a more informed decision and feel more comfortable.
What is my budget?
This is a question you need to ask yourself before you go talk to an HVAC company so you have a clear idea of what you are looking for. The cost for a new central air conditioning unit ranges from about $3,500 to more than $7,500. This is based on the brand and type of unit, as well as what size it is rated for. If you have a larger home, expect to pay more for a bigger unit. Spending a little more on a new a/c unit can actually save you money in the long run. A higher-quality system is usually more energy efficient, which means you will pay less in monthly energy bills, and the system will most likely live longer. A system that lasts longer obviously costs less. If you have an older air conditioner (say, more than 10 years old), it would be a great idea to start saving money for a new unit. Most a/c systems last between 15 and 20 years. If you weren’t able to plan ahead, talk to Weather Crafters to find out about financing options and to see if we have any promotions coming up.
What size unit should I get?
The bigger your home is, the more expensive the air conditioner will be. Units are rated based on the square footage of the space they are cooling. They range from 1.5 tons (600 to 1,000 sq. feet) all the way to 5 tons (2,500 to 3,300 sq. feet). If you have a space that is 800 sq. feet it might seem like a good idea to buy the next size up and get a 2 ton unit, rather than a 1.5 ton unit. However, that can actually work against you. If an a/c system is too big for the space, it can wear itself out more quickly than an appropriately sized unit would. A big unit will cool the area fast, and then shut off, before running through the cycle completely. It will keep turning on to cool, and then off, and then on, over and over. HVAC systems are made to work as efficiently as possible, so if it can’t run the complete cycle, it is actually wasting energy. A properly sized unit might turn on once every hour, run the cycle, and then turn off for 30 minutes before starting the cycle over. A unit that is too big will turn on, cool things down, and turn off all in a 15 minute period. So in the same hour and a half, the oversized unit will have turned on 3 times, while the properly sized unit only turned on once and ran the full cycle. On the flipside, if a unit is too small, it will constantly run, wasting energy and wearing itself out, shortening its life span. It is constantly running because it is unable to maintain the desired temperature without producing cool air all the time. If you aren’t sure what size unit you need, talk to an HVAC specialist to discuss what option is right for your home and your budget.
Can I keep my current ductwork?
Keeping your existing ductwork might save you money, if it is in good condition. Ducts that are leaky or poorly maintained can cost a lot of money in energy bills. You are paying to cool your living spaces, but a leaky duct might mean you are cooling the space under the floorboards instead. It’s also important that your ducts are cleaned regularly. They can be a haven for mold, mildew, bacteria, and other irritants, so now might be a great time to schedule a cleaning. When deciding if you should keep your current ducts, or purchase new ones, have them inspected by an HVAC specialist to determine what shape they are in.
What new technologies would you recommend?
HVAC technology is constantly evolving and becoming more energy efficient. Even relatively new air conditioning systems can be more costly than the most up-to-date models. While the newest technology generally costs more, it could be worth it in the long run. Energy efficiency will cut down on your monthly cooling costs and lengthen the lifespan of your system. Talking to one of the Weather Crafters team is a great way to know about the latest technologies. Whether you are interested in upgrading to a smart thermostat, looking into a ductless air conditioning system, or just want to know what’s out there, our highly-trained team is ready to answer any questions you might have.
New air conditioning systems are expensive so you want to feel confident in what you are purchasing. Let Weather Crafters help you make the right choice, call today to schedule an appointment with our team.