In the hot and humid climate of Southwest Florida, air conditioning is practically a necessity during the hottest parts of the year, and a quality system can increase the value of your home significantly. Many older homes lack a central air conditioning system, so here are a few tips that will help when installing air conditioning in an older home:
Prepare Your Home
For an air conditioning system to run efficiently without dramatically increasing your energy costs, your home must be reasonably sealed and insulated. Drafts around windows, doors and other penetrations in your exterior walls can allow cool air to escape, significantly increasing your cooling costs, and a lack of insulation will make it hard for your home to maintain a cool temperature. Before installing air conditioning in an older home, consider having an energy evaluation done to find out where your home needs proper sealing and additional insulation.
Choose a System Type
If your home has existing ducts for a furnace, adding a central air conditioning system can be a relatively inexpensive choice. If, however, ducts must be added, the costs will increase dramatically. In that case, you may want to consider adding a ductless mini-split system, which can cool one or more rooms without the need for traditional air ducts. If you are upgrading your heating system at the same time, another option may be a heat pump, which requires air ducts, but can both heat and cool your home efficiently and cost-effectively.
Size It Correctly
Often, especially in older homes, air conditioners are oversized to compensate for any problems with air leaks or poor insulation. An air conditioner that isn’t properly sized will run inefficiently, increasing energy costs. Oversized systems will cycle on and off frequently, preventing proper dehumidification and stressing components like the blower motor and fans. Systems that are too small will work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. A professional should be used to size the system, using the proper Manual J procedures.
For more tips on installing air conditioning in an older home, talk to our team at Conditioned Air.
A dependable air conditioning system is vital to weathering the hot and humid conditions of Southwest Florida comfortably, but as your system ages, it may become ineffective at cooling, inefficient and expensive to operate. Here are a few signs that indicate upgrading your air conditioner may be a wise investment:
It Requires Frequent and Expensive Repairs
Air conditioners require annual maintenance to run efficiently and properly, but if your air conditioner starts requiring frequent repairs to keep it running, or if a major component like the condenser or compressor must be replaced, it may be time to consider upgrading your air conditioner. As those repair bills start to add up — especially on an older system — they can quickly approach the cost of a new, much more efficient air conditioner.
It Runs Inefficiently
As an air conditioner ages, it will begin to run less efficiently, reducing your comfort and significantly increasing your energy costs. While some of that efficiency may be gained back through frequent maintenance, eventually the costs of operating the system will outweigh the benefits, especially if it’s an older model with a SEER rating of less than 13. Today’s most efficient air conditioners have SEER ratings of over 20, which can significantly reduce your cooling costs, often by over 20 percent.
It’s Over 10 Years Old
If your system is over 10 years old, it’s time to consider an upgrade. Most air conditioners have a usable lifespan of 10 to 12 years. If your air conditioner is showing signs of age like reduced efficiency, strange noises, or increased maintenance costs (and it has already had a long life), upgrading to a new, more efficient model will improve your comfort and reduce your energy costs significantly.
By upgrading your air conditioner, you can not only save money on your cooling costs, but you can also make sure that your system will operate reliably through even the highest temperatures. Talk to our team at Conditioned Air in Southwest Florida to learn about the latest in energy-efficient air conditioning systems.
Air conditioners are a major source of energy usage in the Southwest Florida area, and as energy prices rise, energy-efficiency becomes even more important. If you have an air conditioning system that is several years old, there may be significant savings to be had by upgrading to a newer model. The latest high-efficiency air conditioning systems have many innovative features that reduce energy usage while improving your comfort and increasing reliability. Here are a few of the most important features to look for in a new high-efficiency system.
High SEER Rating
Older air conditioning systems had SEER ratings as low as 13. And as they become older, they become even less efficient, even if they have been maintained relatively well. Today’s high-efficiency air conditioning systems have SEER ratings of over 20, and they can reduce your cooling costs by 20 percent or more.
Older systems had single-speed compressors that would run for a while at full speed, then shut down to regulate the temperature of the home. Not only does this process inhibit dehumidification, but it’s also inefficient, noisy, and hard on the compressor. Two-speed compressors can run at full speed to reduce the temperature quickly, then switch to a slower speed to move a constant volume of air slowly. This eliminates uneven cooling and allows the compressor run at a slower, more efficient speed the majority of the time.
Variable Speed Air Handlers
Air handlers in older systems turn on and off as needed to moderate temperature, leading to noisy and inefficient operation. Variable-speed air handlers can adjust the volume of air by speeding up or slowing down as necessary. This allows them to better adapt to changing temperatures which eliminates unevenness and allows them to run slower, which reduces energy consumption.
Efficient Coil Designs
In high-efficiency air conditioning systems, the evaporator and condenser coils have been redesigned to increase surface area, reduce restrictions and increase the efficiency of the heat transfer process.
For more information about high-efficiency air conditioning systems, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Southwest Florida region.