Whether you want to install your new system soon or wait for warmer weather to arrive, it's always a good idea to plan for any significant HVAC installation. Your new air conditioner will impact both the comfort of your home and its resale value, so it's crucial to select components well-suited to your needs and budget.
Of course, learning all the ins and outs of modern air conditioning systems is too time-consuming for most homeowners. Instead, this guide will provide you with a few actionable steps to get started selecting a system that's right for your home.
1. Focus on Efficiency, Not Capacity
Air conditioning systems use BTUs (British Thermal Units) or tons to measure capacity. A higher capacity system brings more cooling power to the table, but an oversized system is unlikely to improve your home's cooling and may even create problems. Unless you believe that your previous air conditioner was undersized for your needs, you should plan to stick with roughly the same capacity.
Efficiency is an area where an upgrade may make a considerable difference, however. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures this characteristic in a single value, with higher SEER ratings directly equating to better efficiency. You can use a SEER calculator to quickly determine how much money you can save with an upgrade.
2. Match Components
It may feel wasteful to replace perfectly good components, but you won't get the best reliability or efficiency from your air conditioner unless you use matching indoor and outdoor elements. Using a different air handler brand may even impact your warranty since inadequate airflow can damage other system components.
You'll also need a professional to evaluate your existing refrigerant lineset and electrical wiring. You may not need to replace refrigerant lines still in good condition, but you must confirm that your existing plumbing is adequate for your new system if you want to keep it. Wiring is another area that may need an upgrade if your current circuit cannot meet your new air conditioner's maximum power draw.
3. Consult with a Professional
Even if you aren't ready to purchase and install a new system right now, it's never too early to consult with a professional. An HVAC technician can recommend components that will fit your budget and efficiency requirements. They can also help you to evaluate your home's cooling needs to determine if you should choose a higher (or lower!) capacity unit compared to your current one.
Installing a new air conditioner is a big decision, and it's one that you should treat accordingly. Spending the time to plan your new system will ensure that you get a reliable and efficient air conditioner for your home.
If you have more questions about ac system installation, speak with your local HVAC contractor.