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air conditioner upgradeAir conditioning is important in Southwest Florida, and if you’re getting ready to upgrade your system, it’s critical to find one that both falls within your budget and that is efficient enough to keep you comfortable without making your utility bills skyrocket. Here are a few tips for choosing a central air conditioning system that will meet you needs:

Consider Both Short and Long-Term Costs

When you’re choosing a central air conditioning system, it’s important to consider both the initial costs of buying and installing the system, and the long-terms costs of operating and maintaining it. An air conditioning system is a large investment, and while it may be tempting to choose a model with a lower initial price, chances are that its lower efficiency and reliability may wind up costing you more over the life of the system.

By upgrading to a more reliable and efficient system and paying a bit more up front, you can enjoy long-term energy savings, reduced maintenance and lower utility bills. Typical models have an energy efficiency rating of 13 or 14 SEER, while the most efficient models have SEER ratings of over 20 and can reduce your energy costs by up to 40 percent.

Size the System Properly

In the past, air conditioning systems were often sized by rough estimates and installers tended to oversize systems to improve comfort, leading to maintenance problems and reduced efficiency. For a system that both performs efficiently and cools effectively, it must be properly sized by an HVAC professional, using the appropriate Manual J procedures. This method takes into account more than just the size of the home, including the layout of the house, the number of rooms, the materials used, occupancy and other important factors.

Prepare Your Home

Another key to an efficient air conditioning system is the condition of your home. Have an energy audit performed to make sure your home and air ducts are properly sealed and insulated.

For more tips on choosing a central air conditioning system, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today.

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air conditionerIn Southwest Florida, air conditioning is vital to both your comfort and the value of your home. If you are selling your home, buying a home, or are simply curious about your current system, it’s good to know what the average air conditioner life span is and what can affect it.

Typical Air Conditioner Life Span

In general, you can expect an air conditioning system to last between 8 and 12 years with a reasonable amount of maintenance. If the system has had little or no maintenance, it may last a significantly shorter period of time. And with diligent maintenance, it may last the full 12 years or longer. As the air conditioner ages, however, it will begin to lose efficiency, costing more to operate not cooling as effectively.

Extending the Life of Your System

Routine maintenance is the key to keeping your air conditioner running efficiently and extending its life. The air filter should be replaced every few months to maintain your home’s air quality and to protect the system from damage. A clogged filter can restrict airflow and cause the system to overheat, harming sensitive components. The outdoor coils should be kept free of debris at all times, and the indoor coils should be cleaned at least annually. Finally, twice a year the entire system should be inspected and serviced by a professional.

When to Consider a Replacement

If your system is over 10 years old or is starting to have significant issues, such as compressor problems, refrigerant leaks or a failing blower motor, it may be time to consider a replacement. Newer models can be up to 40 percent more efficient, reducing your cooling costs significantly.

For more details about air conditioner life span, talk to our team at Conditioned Air. We serve Southwest Florida, including the Naples and Sarasota areas.

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air conditioner efficiencyWith the hot and humid weather of the Southwest Florida area, the overall efficiency of your air conditioning system can make a significant difference in your cooling costs during the summer. By understanding what each of the basic A/C efficiency ratings represent, you will be able to make an informed decision when purchasing a new air conditioning system or heat pump.

EER

The energy efficiency ratio, or EER, represents the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system measured in British thermal units or BTUs, divided by the amount of electrical power required to provide that cooling measured in kilowatt-hours. This rating represents the amount of energy used to provide cooling during peak conditions, such as the hottest days of the year, and is not the most reliable estimate of how the system will perform over time. A system with a higher EER will be more efficient, and today’s best systems feature EER ratings of over 16.

SEER

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, is a long-term measurement of the cooling efficiency of an air conditioning system. It is a ratio of the cooling output provided for a full season in BTUs, divided by the amount of energy, in kilowatt-hours, required to power the system. It is a better representation of how the system will perform in a variety of weather conditions, and, like the EER rating, higher is better. Today’s federal standards require A/C efficiency ratings of 13 or 14 SEER depending on location, and the best systems offer SEER ratings of over 23.

HSPF

The heating seasonal performance factor, or HSPF, measures the amount of heat provided during a heating season,in BTUs, divided by the power required in kilowatt-hours. This rating is applicable to heat pumps, which can provide both heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. A higher HSPF is represents greater efficiency, and the most efficient systems feature a rating of up to 13 HSPF.

For more information about A/C efficiency ratings, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air. We serve the Southwest Florida area, including Ft. Myers and Naples.