Help! My HVAC Just Died!
You might think â€œThatâ€™s easy! Â I will just replace my HVAC with a new one that is just like the one I had,â€ but itâ€™s not that simple. Changes in your home over the years as well as improved efficiency in Heating and Air conditioning equipment can make a difference in the size of air conditioner you need.
Many factorsâ€”such as the addition of extra rooms, new and/or different types of windows and/or doors or other remodeling projectsâ€”will impact the choice you make when you purchase a new unit.
Although some do-it-yourselfers may undertake the task of determining what unit is best for them, it is wise to have a professional with years of experience do this for you. A HVAC professional understands all the variables that go into selecting the proper size HVAC system for your home. He can perform a heating and cooling load calculation to help accurately size the heating and air conditioning equipment that is right for your home. Using load calculation software, the HVACÂ professionalÂ enters the data he has collected (measurements of your home, amount of insulation and its R-values, window types, duct leakage, orientation, and more) and the calculation gives how many BTUs (British Thermal Unit) Â per hour your home needs.
Canâ€™t I just install a much larger unit than the old one to ensure that it will keep my home cool?
No. Â An air conditioner cools and dehumidifies the air in your home. One that is too large will cool the air quickly and cycle off, but since it constantly cycles on and off, it does not run long enough to properly dehumidify the air. The constant cycling on and off puts wear and tear on the system and will shorten the life of your air conditioner. By contrast, an HVAC system that is too small runs constantly but does not provide the level of comfort you need.
The average lifespan of a home air conditioner is 10-15 years, although some last up to 20 years. It depends on whether the homeowner has given proper care and maintenance to the systemâ€”changing the filters when needed and having yearly maintenance performed by a HVAC technician (preferably one who is NATE-certified).
The efficiency of an air conditioning system is represented by a SEER number. Since 2006, the federal government has mandated that all central air conditioning units be at least a SEER 13, but the size of your replacement unit (and its SEER number) should be determined by the (load) calculation made to ensure that your new unit will meet the heating and cooling needs of your home.