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Air Conditioner Replacement – Questions You Should Ask

ThinkstockPhotos-459903291Replacing your air conditioner is a major home improvement task which requires a big investment. Because your air conditioner is so essential to your indoor comfort during the summer season, it’s important that you choose the right equipment and have it installed by a skilled professional. Before you replace your air conditioner, ask the following questions:

  • Should I repair my current system instead of replacing it? You’ll need to look at several factors to help you answer this question: equipment age, how often repairs have been needed in the past, and the cost of the necessary repairs. Most air conditioners last about 10 years, so if you’re close to this point or beyond, it may be more beneficial to replace it. Also, most systems experience more problems in their last years of service, so if you’ve needed multiple repairs over the last few summers, you may choose to replace instead of repair. When faced with costly repairs, you may also find it a better investment to put that money towards a new system rather than pour it into a dying one.
  • What size should my new system be? To maximize comfort and efficiency, an air conditioner must be sized properly for your home; oversized systems cost more and make controlling the moisture level difficult because they do not run long enough; while undersized systems may run longer but cannot give you the proper amount of cooling to reach your desired temperature. To ensure your new system is the right size, your contractor can determine what is needed for your comfort and home.
  • What type of system should I choose? There are many types of systems to choose from, including heat pumps, central air conditioners, and ductless air conditioners, which come in ranging efficiency levels. Systems with higher efficiency ratings typically cost more upfront but offer higher energy savings over their lifetime, reducing your operating costs.
  • How do I choose a contractor? Quality installation is essential to the success of your new air conditioner; installation problems will decrease efficiency, hinder performance, and reduce service life. It’s important to choose an HVAC contractor with the skill and knowledge necessary to provide you with quality installation. Your contractor should be knowledgeable about the equipment you select and be willing to provide references to other homeowners they’ve performed installations for at your request.