Ask the HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical Expert- Jim Gregg
Replace your older air conditioning system for big rewards in energy savings and improved comfort
Do you know how old your cooling system is? It’s a question worth asking because aging air conditioners can become very expensive and uncomfortable to live with.
The symptoms of an aging cooling system include indoor air that is warm yet clammy, ice on connecting pipes or hoses, more frequent breakdowns, and worst of all, electricity bills that would make anyone’s hair turn grey.
If this sounds like your central air system then shopping for a replacement may be smart, because today’s models are much more efficient than they were even a few years ago, making it more affordable than ever to upgrade to a more energy-efficient cooling system.
But just replacing an older air conditioner with a new one does not guarantee either comfort or energy savings. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your investment in a new air conditioning system.
First, when you shop for a new cooling system, shop for efficiency. Look for SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), the measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency. The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient the air conditioner is.
Next, make sure your new air conditioner is properly maintained. Research shows that, without annual maintenance, air conditioners lose a substantial amount of efficiency, break down more often, and wear out a lot faster than they should. To get the most out of your investment in a new cooling system, treat it to an annual clean and check. Better yet, sign up for a maintenance agreement.
Last but not least, get your duct work tightened up. Studies show that most duct work has many leaks (and even gaping holes in some cases). Reducing leaks by as little as 30% can save as much as 15% off your annual air conditioning bill, and about 12% off your heating bill. Repairing leaks is not a do-it-yourself job. Professional contractors have the right tools and sealants to do the job, and once it’s done, the airflow can be rebalanced in the duct work.