Another hot and humid Nashville summer is upon us. If you’re like most Music City residents, it’s during the dog days of summer that you really appreciate your central air conditioning.
If you already have new, well-maintained AC that’s great. But if you’re worried about the reliability and efficiency of your system it may be time to consider central air conditioning replacement.
Air Conditioning Replacement: When is it Time?
While every home and situation is unique, at Jewell Mechanical we generally advise customers to seriously consider air conditioning replacement when an AC unit:
- more than 12 years old
- experiencing compressor problems or a condenser or evaporator coil issue
- problem with the heat exchanger
- undersized or oversized
- low SEER rating
- utilizes R22 refrigerant (aka Freon), an ozone-depleting substance
On the other hand, you probably better off repairing your AC if:
- your unit is leaking water
- coils are dirty
- loose or broken duct-work
- broken blower motor or a clogged drain line
- there’s an electrical problem
- the unit is still under warranty and is sized correctly for your home
If you believe that air conditioning replacement may be warranted, we recommend getting your system inspected by a contractor who employs licensed technicians—a contractor who can give you expert advice as to HVAC replacement. To make an appointment for air conditioning repair or replacement, contact us online.
Air Conditioning Replacement: How Much Does It Cost?
As one might expect, this is a frequently asked question. The answer depends on a variety of factors, including:
- the size of your home
- the type of system being installed
- the brand you choose
Meanwhile, another important consideration is whether the duct work in your home needs to be replaced. (The answer is usually yes.)
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of the system you select is also a factor; (SEER is a measure of the unit’s efficiency, and the higher the SEER value the lower the operational costs.)
Finally, the size of the HVAC unit also plays a role in the cost, as we’ll see in a second …
Calculating HVAC Unit Size
In terms of the size of a new HVAC, the larger the system, the greater the up-front cost. Yet you want to make sure that the unit you purchase isn’t undersized for your square footage and living space. That’s because a unit that is too small won’t be able to properly cool your home, leading to a large increase in your gas or electric bill.
At the same time, an oversized unit is no good either, as it will tend to cycle on and off frequently (one of several reasons why an AC unit may run constantly), which also leads to inflated utility bills.
At Jewell, we look at a variety of factors when sizing an HVAC replacement system, including the total volume of your home’s living space, the total area of your sun-exposed exterior walls, the amount of sunshine on your home, the amount of shade and trees, as well as the age, condition, orientation and number of windows.
If you believe your existing HVAC maybe improperly sized, give us a call. One of our licensed technicians will be happy to come out and review the conditions at your house.
Who is Qualified to Help With Central Air Conditioning Replacement?
Speaking of licensing, if you’re hiring someone to help you with central air conditioning replacement you need a licensed HVAC technician. While you might save some money up front by hiring an unlicensed contractor, that’s a decision that comes with significant risks. That’s because an unlicensed contractor has the potential to damage your home and/or AC unit, and almost certainly won’t have insurance to cover the damage if he or she does so.
In the past, we’ve seen situations where an unlicensed contractor’s work led to:
- gas leaks
- electrical overload
- duct work damage
- installation of an inappropriate, undersized or oversized unit
- installation or repairs that resulted in excess energy consumption and higher utility bills
- a voided warranty
- personal injury
Of course, a license doesn’t guarantee you a problem-free HVAC replacement experience. But licensed technicians are required to carry general liability insurance, a minimum of $100,000 for contractor’s licenses with a monetary limit of up to $500,000 and a minimum of a half-million dollars for licenses with a limit of $1.5 million.
Licensing also preserves your AC unit’s warranty; without a license, your unit—even a brand-new one—might lose its warranty, in whole or in part.
Why Else Should You Choose Jewell Mechanical?
It’s also a good idea to work with a contractor who maintains a close working relationship with top manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment. At Jewell Mechanical, Rheem® and American Standard® are just a few of the prestigious HVAC brands we service and install, and we’ve long been a Diamond Dealer for Mitsubishi Electric. We also offer several different financing options if you’re looking to finance your central air conditioning replacement.
As always, we want to help you make the best and most informed decision possible when it comes to cooling your home.