Is Repair or Replacement Right for Your Air Conditioning Unit?
Homeowners in Indianapolis may some point, have to make the tough decision about when it’s time for a new air conditioner unit. Although it can be a big investment, it can be more expensive to continually operate and repair an older, less efficient unit.
Ideally, you want a system that maintains optimal comfort in your home, while still being energy efficient. Most central air conditioning systems aren’t meant to last more than fifteen years, but even with regular maintenance, there may come a time when your system can’t keep up with the hottest days of summer. Here are a few warning signs that it may be time to replace your central air conditioning system:
Your air conditioner is over 15 years old
- Even an A/C unit that was properly maintained will start to become less and less efficient and effective. At some point, the cost of repairs and maintenance will outweigh the cost of replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model. If your unit struggles to keep your house cool, or the repairs are piling up, the best financial decision is to replace your unit.
Repair costs are too high
- The 5.000 rule can help you determine if the repair costs are too high. If the age of the air conditioning unit, multiplied by the repair cost exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If it’s less than $5,000, go ahead and have the repairs done.
Your air conditioner has become inefficient
- A SEER rating can tell you how efficient your air conditioner is. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If the SEER rating for your air conditioner is below 13, you can reduce your energy costs by replacing your equipment with a new, more energy-efficient system.
Repairs are needed more frequently
- Your A/C system will give out eventually. Some systems can run well past their life expectancy with regular maintenance and responsible upkeep. Once a system has exceeded its life expectancy, most repairs are merely band-aids rather than cure. If your system now requires frequent repairs, the cost of such frequent repairs won’t pay off in the long run. It makes more financial sense to replace a needy unit.
Selecting Your Air Conditioner
Choosing an air conditioning system can be a large investment for Indianapolis homeowners. Fortunately, it should pay for itself over time through energy savings. But how much time? That will depend on the type of air conditioning system you choose. Williams Comfort Air is proud to offer our clients the most energy‐efficient air conditioners available.
There’s not one best approach to replacing your old air conditioner. With so many options available, our Comfort Consultants approach this decision depending on our your specific situation. Our trained air conditioning experts will assess your home’s needs and make sure you have the right air conditioning unit to keep your home cool and comfortable all season long.
Different Configurations of Central Air Conditioning Systems
There are two main central air conditioner system configurations: a package system and a split system.
In a package system, the mechanical components are all contained in one cabinet, usually outside of the home.
A split system utilizes a metal cabinet outside of the home, which contains the condenser and compressor. The system also has an indoor cabinet that contains the evaporator coil. The outdoor cabinet is placed next to the home and the evaporator coil is located above or near the air handler unit (furnace or blower), which is inside the home. Crawlspaces, basements, attics, or closets are common locations inside the home for the indoor cabinet. In this type of split system, the indoor and outdoor units must be properly matched to achieve their efficiency rating.
Heat pumps look a lot like a central air conditioners in size and appearance. However, unlike a central air conditioning system, which only cools the air in a home, a heat pump cools and heats the air in your home. Essentially, a heat pump is an air conditioner in the summer and a reverse air conditioner in the winter. During the summer, a heat pump extracts heat from your indoor air, transfers the heat through refrigerant, and releases it to the outside. In the winter, instead of venting it to the outside, the heat pump pushes the warm air back into your home. When an air‐source heat pump is heating your home, the cooling cycle is reversed. It should be noted that a heat pump runs all year-round. Whereas an air conditioner only runs in the summertime.
Central heat pumps are most commonly part of a split system, with separate components located inside and outside of the home. However, some heat pumps are packaged systems, which means they have a compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, and fan all located outdoors in a single cabinet.
What is an Air Handler?
As its name suggests, an air handler “handles” the air inside your home and delivers warm or cool indoor air throughout your entire home. What would we do without delivery!
An air handler is sometimes called the blower. The air handler contains the components that move the air throughout your home and works with the heating and cooling components of your HVAC system. It is placed inside the home, usually a dedicated closet, basement area, or attic space. The air handler closely resembles a gas furnace.
Air handlers can run with an air conditioner and contains the indoor coil, used to cool and heat your home depending on which system it’s running with.
If you have a heat pump as part of your system, the air handler is likely the indoor component comprising your two-part, split system that keeps the indoor temperature of your home comfortable all year long.
A ductless air conditioner or heat pump typically consists of a wall-mounted indoor unit combined with an outside compressor, therefore it does not utilize ductwork to move the air throughout a home.
Ductless systems are extremely energy-efficient. In typical systems with ductwork, you may lose 25% of your energy to the ductwork. Ductless models also have inverter-driven compressors, that slow down and speed up based on the needs of the system. Unlike traditional HVAC compressors, which shut off entirely.
Ductless systems are more likely to be used in a home where a window AC unit or baseboard heating might be considered, such as a new addition to a house. However, unlike window air conditioning units, ductless systems only require a very small hole to be drilled into the wall. This makes them less vulnerable to air leakage and security problems. Since the indoor system is wall mounted, it can be more aesthetically appealing than window units and it won’t obstruct your window views.
Geothermal energy is up to 500% efficient. Since heating and cooling your home accounts for about 50% of your utility bills and water heating is another 14%, you can save big. For example, when you use one unit of electricity, you get up to five units back to condition the air in your home. That means that it takes less energy to keep you comfortable, which saves you money. Geothermal systems can heat your water during the summer without additional energy usage too! Geothermal systems are so energy efficient that you could get your investment back in the money you save on energy bills in as few as 5-10 years, depending upon the efficiency of the system you are replacing.