Installing a new central air conditioner is an exciting time for your home. The right AC upgrade can vastly improve your home's comfort and energy efficiency during the warm season. Here are three tips for a successful central AC installation so you can be satisfied with your upgrade for years to come.
1. Choose the Right Air Conditioner
Naturally, factors like the type, size, and model of your new air conditioner will have the biggest impact on its performance. Homeowners in search of a new air conditioner should understand SEER ratings and air conditioner sizing.
The SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, describes the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. Central air conditioners are labeled with the SEER rating so you can compare them when you buy. The higher the SEER rating, the more heat the air conditioner can remove from the air per watt-hour.
A SEER of 13 is the minimum for modern air conditioners. 14 to 16 is the SEER range that most air conditioners fall in, where most homeowners find the best balance of energy efficiency and up-front cost. The most efficient air conditioners on the market can have a SEER rating over 20. High SEER units use technologies such as variable speed blowers and compressors to reduce energy use when demand is low.
Sizing a central air conditioner is not as straightforward as it seems. While you can estimate based on the square footage of your home, the best way to size an air conditioner for your home is to hire an HVAC technician to perform a load calculation. A professional load calculation determines the ideal BTU output for your AC based on the shape of your home, the quality of your insulation and ventilation, and several other factors.
2. Prepare for the Day of Installation
Once you have chosen your new air conditioner, you will have another important decision to make: choosing your HVAC contractor. Make sure you choose a contractor who is licensed and insured, and take time to read reviews and speak to references who have first-hand experience with the company. Working with a trusted contractor prevents errors during installation that could reduce energy efficiency or damage your system.
Homeowners can help AC installation go smoothly by clearing the space where the AC will be installed. Quality contractors will bring tarps to contain any spilled refrigerant and all other necessary cleaning supplies, so you won't have to worry about providing these items. Remember to make plans to keep children and pets away from the work area during installation.
3. Consider a Thermostat Upgrade
The thermostat is the only part of an HVAC system that people interact with directly, yet many homeowners forget to look into thermostat upgrade options. A thermostat upgrade can provide several new features for your HVAC system, and sometimes an upgrade is even required to ensure compatibility with your new AC. Most air conditioners have multiple compatible thermostats for you to choose from.
A simple upgrade from a mechanical thermostat to a digital one enables your air conditioner to react much more precisely to temperature changes. However, you will want to look into smart thermostats to get the most out of your upgrade. Smart thermostats allow you to run your AC on a set schedule and control it from a mobile device. Many smart thermostats feature large touchscreen displays for easy interactivity.
New central AC installation doesn't have to be stressful, especially if you take plenty of time to research your options beforehand. Take advantage of these tips, and you might just be surprised by the difference a new central air conditioner can make!