What you need to know before you call your HVAC contractor.
Air conditioning installation or replacement is always a big project for any homeowner, especially when you have to do it in the middle of the hot, sweaty summer and you have to find the right air conditioning contractor, the right price and of course the right equipment for your house.
There are several aspects to consider to make the right decision; things like, is he a licensed HVAC contractor? Does he have a good reputation? What kind of system do I need? What brand? Is it up-flow or horizontal set up? What is my budget?. These are some of the fundamental questions any homeowner should answer to make the right decision.
In this article, we are going to answer all these questions. We intend not just to point you in the right direction, but also help you understand the process involved in the installation on an air conditioning system.
There are several aspects to consider to choose the right air conditioner for your home as well.
The first thing you should consider is:
Knowing how much money you are willing to spend is very important because it can determine the brand of the equipment, the model of the equipment, the SEER rating (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) of the system and many times the quality of the installation you will receive. Throughout the internet, you will find that the average price for a residential AC installation is between $3,500 to $8,000. Now, you may think that its a big difference in price for an AC system, but surely reflects the importance of knowing the size of the equipment you need. The average cost for a 1.5-ton system installation is $3500 (14 SEER-single stage and without ductwork) and for a 5-ton system installation is $8,000 (14 SEER – single stage and without ductwork) can you see now why is very important to know what size of the air conditioning unit you need for your house? In order to know what size of the system you need, you first need to know the following.
The square footage of your house.
Air conditioning systems are sized in TONS. The largest size for a house is 5 tons, but some houses need more than one system to cover the entire house. Check this chart to see what size of equipment you need in order to cover your entire house
Up to 2000 sf. – 5-ton system
Up to 1600 sf. – 4-ton system
Up to 1200 sf. – 3-ton system
Up to 800 sf. – 2-ton system
In some cases when the house is larger than 2000 square feet (usually anything above 2500 SF), it is necessary to install two central air systems. In some cases in a two-story house and for efficiency reasons, they use two air conditioning systems, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, even if the house is less than 2000 sf.
Besides the right size of equipment, the HVAC contractor needs to design the ducting system, which usually is charged separately. A good ductwork design should balance the airflow from room to room to maximize the efficiency of your equipment.
One thing that I also like to mention is that if you already have a central heating system and you are adding the air conditioner, is highly recommended also to upgrade the ducting system because the air volume needed for heating is smaller than the air volume needed for air conditioning. In other words, you need a bigger size duct for air conditioning.
Do you need a Gas or an Electric system?
In other words, do you need a furnace or a heat pump system? If you are replacing an existing system, this is an easy decision, unless of course, you are planning to switch one for the other. On new construction, you will have to refer to the mechanical plans to know what type of system do you need, and if you are planning to build an addition to your house consider the square footage you are adding to select the right air conditioning system size.
Heat pump systems are becoming more, and more popular, especially with the evolution of solar power. Follow this link to learn more about heat pump air conditioning systems
Do you need a split system or a package unit?
To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the difference between one and the other.
A split system is the most commonly used for residential applications and consists of 3 parts. The condenser (Usually installed in the backyard ), the gas furnace and the evaporator coil, these two parts always go together and are typically installed in the attic, the garage or a closet within the house. If your system is in the attic, almost always you’ll have a horizontal set up, and if it is in the garage or a closet then is an up flow set up.
If you have a heat pump system, the evaporator coil, and the air handler will always come together in one piece from the manufacturer.
A package unit as the name mentioned, is all in one piece and almost always you going to see these type of ac-unit on the roof and in some rare cases at ground level. You can also find this type of air conditioner in gas/electric or heat pump.
Of course, if you already have an air system installed, and you are upgrading your air conditioner, this is an easy decision for you.
What if you just build an addition to your house. Do you really need to upgrade your air conditioner?
To answer this question, we have to consider how big the addition is, and is this addition a living area?.
Now let us assume that you already have a 5-ton system Installed in your house (the largest for residential applications) and that your addition was only a 12′ x 12′ room, which is 144 sf. In this case, I would recommend instead of adding another full a/c system, install a ductless/mini split air conditioning system or a window air conditioner.
Mini splits air conditioners are an excellent option for these situations because they provide you with heating and cooling and they are the most efficient of all HVAC systems, and you can find them in many styles and sizes as well. Ductless air conditioners can be a little bit pricey, but in my personal opinion is an investment that will pay for itself over time due to its high efficiency. Some other benefits that these systems have are that you can find them in different styles, like wall mount, ceiling mount, picture frame style (just a few brands offer this style) and if you need to use ductwork, you can also adapt it to use it as central air. Follow this link to learn more about mini split air conditioning systems.
Quantum Air Conditioning thank you for reading this article and likes to remind you that if you need a professional HVAC contractor, we are here to serve you. You can contact us and let us know what you need by filling out this form, or you can call us at (951)541-5579 and schedule your free estimate.