We often speak with customers who have had several estimates done on their existing HVAC with mixed results. One contractor might recommend replacing the AC unit only, while another may want to replace the furnace as well. Yet a third contractor might add that the duct-work needs replacing too. The homeowner wants to know: “Are some of these contractors taking me for a ride, or do I need full replacement for my Air Conditioner?
How Much Are You Willing To Invest In Your Home?
The easy economical answer would be to replace the air conditioner only. However, that may not be the best answer in the long run. If you plan to stay in your home for 5 years or more, then a total upgrade makes sense. Naturally, you want to be as comfortable as possible while living in your home and save as much money as you can on your monthly bills. With all the financing plans available to consumers, it makes little sense to hold off.
If a contractor has recommended a full upgrade now, then it is only going to get worse the longer you wait. That being said, not every contractor is ethical, so it’s recommended that you hire an Energy Audit professional certified by BPI (Building Professional Institute) or RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network). The audit will tell you if your home has an air-tight seal, if you have enough insulation, and if you’ve been paying to cool all of Houston.
Proper Sizing of New AC Units:
A good contractor will be able to determine if your existing ducts are sized properly for the furnace fan size, power and location. Many people find that old Heating and Cooling systems located in the basement have a hard time cooling second floor rooms. However, the newer high-efficiency systems can be located anywhere and will do an excellent job cooling the entire home.
Make sure the HVAC professional you use refers to manufacturer manuals to determine the proper sizing of the equipment for your home. We’ve seen many cases where AC units are much too large for the homes they were put into. For instance, you don’t need a four-ton AC unit for a 1,900 sq ft ranch home. A unit that is too large will cool the space quickly, but also leave excess moisture in the air. Damp homes breed mold and mildew.
Get Several Quotes to Ensure
It’s a good idea to get several free quotes before making a decision. If everyone says the same thing, then it’s obviously very easy to make the call and go with whoever seems most knowledgeable, professional and reasonable. If you hear conflicting stories, look for a third party energy auditor to advise you going forward. The average central AC unit in Houston lasts 10 to 15 years, so if you can’t remember the last time it was replaced, then it’s probably a good idea to upgrade your entire system.