Tips for Buying a new AC

The high cost of buying a new furnace or air conditioner doesn’t have to give you the chills. That’s why it’s very important to get it right the first time.

The best model and size for you depends on a host of conditions specific to your home. Here are some tips to follow to help you do it right:

  • Hire a licensed contractor who will perform a heating and/or cooling load calculation to size your system properly, instead of safely basing it on the home’s square footage or the size of the equipment being replaced. To gather the necessary information, your contractor should spend about an hour looking around your house, taking measurements, and asking questions. He or she needs to measure floors, ceiling, and walls – including gall the windows- and check insulation in the attic, walls, and crawlspaces. Some other factors that go into a hearing and/or cooing load calculation are number of occupants, shading, and roof color.
  • Check for duct leaks and disconnected ducts. Also be sure air flow is not restricted by ducts that are crushed or are too small for the system If you have a room that never seems to get warm or cool enough, your contractor should perform a room-by-room load calculation to determine if duct modification is needed
  • Air conditioners have booth indoor components (cooling coil and blower) and an outdoor component (the compressor.) Some contractor will suggest that you replace only the outdoor unit. But, if a new compressor is mismatched to an old coil, your system will not operate efficiently.
  • Insist on getting a printout of the heating and/or cooling load calculations with your contractor’s bid. These can be useful in comparing bids from contractors. Question the contractor if the calculations don’t include all the items mentioned in the first tip, or if you see anything that you don’t understand.
  • Choose the highest efficiency unit you can afford. Even though it will cost more, a unit with a higher efficiency rating will have greater energy savings. As always, look for the Energy Star symbol when you shop.
  • Don’t be tempted by the lowest bid. Be willing to pay for the time the contractor must spend to do the job right. It will save you money down the road.
  • Install your furnace or air conditioner for ease of maintenance. The air filter or coil should be located where it‘s easy to remove and clean. Check it each month when it’s in use, and change it or clean it when it’s dirty.
  • If possible think about putting the outdoor units of your air condition (the compressor) in a shaded place with plenty of room for air to circulate around it. If the move is too costly, consider planting trees to shade the unit from the hot summer sun.
  • After work has been completed, have the contractor check the new air conditioner’s air flow and refrigerant charge to ensure proper operation. Remember, only EPA-certified technicians are allowed to handle refrigerant.

Contact us today at 650-627-7422 or fill out our FREE In-home estimate form by clicking here for more information!