With summer quickly approaching, air conditioning is on everybody’s mind. However, not everyone needs the same exact type of HVAC unit. There are multiple factors that help determine which AC unit is best for someone’s home. Here at Efficient Systems, our team is happy to help you decide which AC unit is best for you, ensuring comfortable air year-round. Continue reading to learn which type of HVAC unit is best for your home!
Traditional, Central AC Units
As traditional, central AC units become more energy-efficient, they also become less expensive to run. The most common central AC design, split systems, have refrigerant circulating between the indoor coil and outdoor condenser. Air is cooled and dehumidified by the refrigerant and circulated through ducts by the blower, with the thermostat maintaining the temperature with a select setting.
With traditional HVAC systems, your air is distributed throughout your home by ducts. However, the location or size of heating ducts might be wrong for cooling. Undersized ducts mean inefficient, noisy operations, therefore, have a contractor ensure the ducts are appropriate when installing your AC unit. This can be done using Manual J from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).
Ductless, Mini-Split AC Units
Ductless, mini-split AC systems are common and are a great option for homes without ductwork. Additionally, the installation is easier than that of other AC units, and mini-splits are quieter than portable and window air conditioners.
Ductless systems require professional installment and include an outside condenser, compressor, and one or more indoor blower units. Indoor units are mounted on walls, distribute air, and are connected to the outdoor sections by a conduit. The conduit holds the power cable, refrigerant tubing, and condensate drain, with 3-inch holes behind the indoor units allowing the conduit to run through them. The temperature of the rooms is controlled by a remote.
An extremely energy-efficient method of heating homes, and previously more common in warmer states, heat pumps now provide heating and cooling for multiple climates. Heat pumps have ducted and ductless versions and can be used with existing or supplementary heating systems. When outdoor temperatures drop below a certain point, systems such as gas-fired furnaces can be used instead.
While more expensive than AC-only units, heat pumps cost less than the combined cost of heating and cooling systems. Tax incentives and direct cash rebates are also offered by some state governments to homeowners that have heat pumps, making them a low-cost option.
Factors And Details Of AC Units
An ACs size is measured in British thermal units per hour, Btu/hr, and is calculated based on methods in Manual J of the ACCA. When too small, ACs struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature. Meanwhile, AC units that are too large cycle on and off too often, stress components, and struggle to control humidity.
To ensure your house maintains a comfortable temperature, determine what size AC system is needed during replacement. Upgrading windows or adding insulation reduces cooling needs, whereas adding rooms will increase them.
An AC unit’s efficiency is defined as how much cooling the units deliver for each watt of electricity. This efficiency is given a rating known as SEER, or seasonal energy-efficiency rating. The higher the SEER, the greater the energy efficiency. While this costs more, it will pay for itself over time through lower energy costs. For new split system central ACs, the minimum SEER allowed is 14.
The best predictor of satisfaction with AC units is a quiet operation: the best predictor of satisfaction with AC units. Measured in decibels, the lower the ratings, therefore the lower the decibels, the better the satisfaction, especially if the AC is near a bedroom window.
Setting thermostats correctly can greatly reduce cooling costs and help you save 3% on utility bills. To start, set thermostats at 78° Fahrenheit and experiment until you find what feels right. Additionally, installing box or ceiling fans can make you feel 3-4 degrees cooler.
As compressors need adequate airflow to operate, make sure there’s enough space for access and service. Additionally, check local building codes for regulations on how close compressors can be to property lines
What To Leave To The Professionals
- Cleaning and flushing coils, draining pan and drainage system, and vacuuming blower compartments
- Make sure your system is properly charged with refrigerant, leak-free, and functioning properly
What You Can Do
- Clean your HVAC system’s grill and filter
- Clear debris from your condenser coils, checking for blockages
- Follow your AC manufacturer’s recommendations for changing filters and the filter manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change them. (Thicker disposable filters can be changed less often, HVAC filters can last three-12 months).
Think you know what kind of HVAC unit is best for your home? Still need more help deciding? Schedule an appointment with the trustworthy contractors at Efficient Systems today!