What to Think About When Replacing an Air Conditioning System

 In Keeping Cool

Summer’s here, heat’s back and your air conditioner is working hard. So hard, in fact, that it might be time for a new one.

Carrier says the average lifespan of a central air conditioner unit is around 15 years. Of course, much depends on the climate and comfort preferences, as well as how it’s maintained. That’s one of the reasons a regular maintenance plan is important. If your unit is anywhere around that time frame, it’s probably time to think about replacing your air conditioning system.

Terms to Know

You may run into some unusual vocabulary when you’re shopping for a new unit. Here’s a quick rundown of some words and acronyms you need to know.

SEER: This is an abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s the ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season divided by the energy consumed in watt-hours. Air conditioners usually have a rating from 13 to 14 SEER up to 21 or 25 SEER. The higher the number, typically the more efficient a unit is.

HSPF: This stands for Heating Season Performance Factor. Like the SEER rating, it’s an indicator of efficiency. The higher the HSPF number, the more efficient the heating system.

Tonnage: No, it doesn’t refer to how much the system weighs. It’s the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. It refers to how much heat the HVAC can remove from your home in an hour. Although every home is unique, here’s what tonnage you should generally consider given the square footage you have to cool:

  • 600-1,100 square feet – 1.5 tons
  • 901-1,400 square feet – 2 tons
  • 1,201-1,650 square feet – 2.5 tons
  • 1,501-2,100 square feet – 3 tons
  • 1,801-2,300 square feet – 3.5 tons
  • 2,101-2,700 square feet – 4 tons
  • 2,401-3,300 square feet – 5 tons

City of Tallahassee Plans

If you are on City of Tallahassee utilities, there are programs that can help defray the cost of replacing your heating and cooling system. Rebate amounts vary based on the SEER and HSPF ratings of your system. You can also finance your new system through the utility system provided your new system meets certain energy efficiency requirements.

Getting Ready for Your Replacement

Now that you know what kind of system you need and have a plan for paying for it, it’s time to get ready to have your new unit installed. An HVAC replacement usually takes about a day, but can take longer if electric or duct work is needed.

The installers will need to get to anywhere you have climate control equipment. This includes your thermostat, your indoor unit and your outdoor unit. They’ll need to remove all the old equipment before installing the new, and this could be a messy process. to get to, remove and replace your equipment, and to access the areas where this equipment lives, such as the attic, garage or crawlspace.

The Day of Installation

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, installation crews are taking special precautions. This includes minimizing the time they need to be inside your home and health checks for the workers who will be putting in your new home comfort system. You’ll have online payment options to cut down on contact, and you’ll also be offered the option to wait outside your home while the service is performed.

Also know that an installation may mean that the crew will need to cut power to parts of your home for a short time to safely install the new equipment. And, of course, your home will be without heating and air conditioning during that time.

After the Installation

When the new equipment is up and running, the crew will test it for leaks and to make sure it’s cooling evenly throughout your home. They’ll also walk you through your new equipment, including any new thermostats they’ve installed, and talk to you about maintenance. This is a great time to get set up on a scheduled maintenance program to keep your new unit running at its best. You may also receive important warranty information that must be completed for your unit to be covered. Your installer can also walk you through any rebate or loan programs you’re participating in.

Barineau Heating and Air can recommend the system that fits your home and your budget. Whether you’re replacing your air conditioning system or need maintenance on your current system, book an appointment online or call (850) 580-4029.

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