Heating and Air Conditioning Installation
HVAC-The Decision to Repair or Replace
When your homes heating and air conditioning system begins to experience frequent problems, the following information can help you to decide whether to upgrade to a new system, or correct the problems affecting your current HVAC system.
First, if your system is more than 10 years old consider a new one. Age can affect efficiency causing it to diminish with time, and age contributes to more frequent break downs. Newer models will have improved energy efficiency and new features to increase your comfort. An ENERGY STAR qualified system will provide the most energy savings, and may qualify you for a rebate or tax deduction. If break downs occur frequently as well as your energy usage is rising, choose a new ENERGY STAR model for the greatest energy savings.
Next, if some rooms are too hot or too cold you may have problems with your ducts, inadequate insulation, or inadequate sealing. Check ducts for the joints being sealed and the ductwork for being insulated. Check any location where wire, pipes or duct exits the walls, basement or foundation. With the exception of a hot flue use latex expanding foam or caulk to seal holes. Duct problems and inadequate sealing cause your HVAC system to overwork reducing efficiency and increasing energy costs. If all of these factors look good, it is very possible that your old systems operation is degrading and needs repairs or replacement.
Third, if you are experiencing more dust than is normal or increased humidity your HVAC system may be poorly operating. Having the wrong size system, a poorly functioning system or leaky duct work can cause these problems. Dirty ducts can cause an excess of dust and should be cleaned every 10 years or more often as needed.
Know the energy star rating of your equipment: If your equipment rating is less than 5 replace it. Go to www.energystar.gov for an analysis of your home. The higher the rating the more energy efficient it is.
A new energy efficient model coupled with a well-insulated and properly sealed home will reduce energy costs. The money you save may very pay for your new HVAC system. An energy efficient central air unit alone can save you a bundle on energy usage when compared to a 20 year old model.
Choose the correct sized equipment: Having a bigger system than you need won’t save you money; it may even cost you more. A bigger unit will cycle more often, never reaching its peak efficiency. It will be unable to remove humidity from the air, and in the summer months humidity will make it feel warmer.
The size system needed need may be different than your old system. If you have added insulation, new energy star windows, and sealed air leaks your system requirement may be smaller. If you have a new addition this will change your system needs as well.
Your HVAC contractor will need to gather the following information about your home in order to determine an accurate size for a new heating and air conditioning installation: floor area, level of insulation and type and size of windows. He will do this by performing the following:
- Measure the square footage of your home
- Measure the square footage of windows and doors and note the direction in which they face
- Examine attic insulation to estimate the insulating value
- Check the basement or crawl space to estimate the value of the floor insulation
- If possible, look into the walls to estimate the value of the insulation
- Check the duct system for leaks and estimate insulation value needed vs. what is present
- Note the number of appliances
- Note the presence of any air leakage from a fireplace
- Note the number of bedrooms for fresh air needs
- Note the temperature you plan to keep your home
A professional will calculate these factors, so be careful that your contractor is licensed, and insured. Sizing is the most common mistake according to national surveys. Many installers simply replace the same size as your old system without considering changes made to your home, if it was the proper size to begin with or the increased efficiency of new systems. A reputable heating and air conditioning contractor will use an ACCA/ANSI Manual or computer software that takes all the above and other factors into consideration, including proper size duct.
Choose a high efficiency Energy Star rated system for the best value and the least impact upon the environment.
If your system is not ten years old or older and in a good, reliable condition, you may want to upgrade your home by sealing it, installing energy efficient windows and doors, and adding insulation.
Have your system checked and serviced bi-annually each year. The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure certainly does apply to your homes heating and air conditioning system. Small problems can quickly escalate to larger, more expensive problems.
If you’re still in doubt, your HVAC contractor can advise you as to whether you should correct any problems with your current HVAC system, or invest in a new energy efficient heating and air conditioning installation for your home. Give the experts at Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning a call, we will be happy to assist you. Financing is available for your convenience.