Once the summer heat wave strikes, many Sugar Land residents begin thinking about upgrading their air conditioning systems. After all, air conditioners have come a long way! Did you know that brand new AC systems are 60 percent more efficient than AC systems made in 2002? Newer models are built with features that ensure consistency, comfort, long-lasting performance, and lower utility bills.
Consumer Reports recommends considering the following factors:
1. Cooling Load – How much space do you need to heat? How many windows do you have? How is your ventilation? A good contractor will perform a Manual J cooling-load calculation to make sure you get the right size. Sugar Land air conditioners that are improperly sized will cool in short spurts — turning on and off constantly, without reducing humidity.
2. High SEER Rating – Keep in mind that the more energy efficient models will cost more to buy initially, but are less expensive to operate. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the cost of a SEER 13 air conditioning unit is about $171 more than a minimum standard SEER 10 unit. However, the average household will save $48 per year on their utility bills, so the higher standard will pay for itself in 3.5 years. Central air conditioners last about 18 years, so that’s a whopping $696 in savings over the lifetime of your Sugar Land AC unit!
3. Special Features - Scroll compressors are quieter, more efficient and more reliable. The compressor is one of the most expensive parts to replace, but this type comes with a 10-year limited warranty. Two-Stage Air Conditioners are more high-end units that use two compressors and two fans. While they cost 30 percent more to buy, you really can’t beat their comfort and efficiency. You’ll also want to find a Texas AC unit with noise-dampening features.
4. Qualified Contractors - If you want your 10-year warranty on the compressor and 5-year warranty on all moving parts to be upheld, you need to find a contractor who is licensed and certified to perform a proper installation. Manufacturers often refuse covering warranties if it’s been discovered the contractor screwed up somehow. The technician you choose should be certified by the North American Technical Excellence program or the Air Conditioning Contractors of America — the two most highly-regarded national training organizations. You’ll also want to make sure your contractors are licensed, bonded and insured.