AC Replacement

It’s official: your air conditioner has stopped working. If it’s the middle of summer, you probably need it replaced right away. Temperatures can reach the 90s or higher in a home that isn’t air conditioned. If you’re in a milder season, you might be able to wait it out a little longer. Nonetheless, you might notice the instant hit to the humidity levels in your home even in cooler temperatures. Living without an air conditioner for too long could cause moisture problems and mold growth.

How do you know if it’s really time to replace your air conditioner? What should you look for in a new AC unit? We’ll answer those questions and more in this guide to AC replacement.

How Much Does AC Replacement Cost?

A new central HVAC unit can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home. If you’re installing central air in a house, apartment or office that doesn’t have the proper ductwork, you’ll need to add the price of duct installation.

When you’re replacing an existing unit, you usually won’t need to mess with the ducts. You may need ductwork if you’re upgrading to a larger unit, though. An older house may also benefit from having ductwork done. Newer ducts are better insulated and more efficient. You might find that your AC works better and your power bills go down when you replace your ducts.

You may need to upgrade your circuit breaker panel when you’re replacing your air conditioner. An older panel may not be able to handle the demand of the newer HVAC system.

What Size AC Unit Do You Need?

Some people believe that bigger is better. Realistically, a higher-capacity unit won’t necessarily cool your house more efficiently. A bigger unit may cool your house quickly, but then it will turn off. As soon as it does, the heat from outside starts to seep back in.

A unit that’s the right size will cycle fully, cooling your house more slowly but helping it maintain an even temperature. It’s more efficient to operate an air conditioner this way than having it provide rapid cooling. The rapid on/off cycle can also cause your air conditioner to wear out quickly.

Cooling capacity is rated in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. The size of an AC unit is measured in tons. This is not the same unit of measurement that’s used for weight. The tonnage of an air conditioner refers to its ability to cool a certain number of BTUs per hour. One ton can cool 12,000 BTUs in one hour.

There are a few ways to calculate what size HVAC unit is ideal for your home. These calculations will give you a ballpark range, but a professional AC technician will be able to give you a more accurate idea. To get an idea of the tonnage necessary for your home, multiply your house’s square feet by 30. Divide that total by 12,000. Subtract one from that number.

Using this calculation, a 1,200-square-foot-home would need a 2-ton unit. If you live in an extremely hot climate, leave out the final step. In that case, the same home would be better off with a 3-ton unit.

If one of your rooms is exposed to more sun than the others, you may think that you need a larger unit to cool it more effectively. An HVAC specialist can help you make that decision. In some cases, you might just need more ducts and vents in that room.

How To Decide Whether To Repair Or Replace

Compared to the cost of a new system, the price of air conditioning repair service may seem preferable to replacing your air conditioner. Paying just $500 once a year is better than shelling out $4,500 for a new unit, right?

Maybe not. If your air conditioner is 10 years old or older, you might be looking at a few $500 repairs per year. If you have a leak, you’ll also need to factor in the price of recharging the system when the coolant runs low. If you’re likely to spend 10 to 50 percent of the cost of a new unit on repairs in one year, you might as well replace the unit.

Before you decide to upgrade, you might want to make your home more energy efficient. Having a professional evaluate the air flow within your home and check your insulation can help you maximize your air conditioner’s effectiveness. Sealing air leaks can significantly reduce your cooling costs.

We know AC replacement can seem expensive, but it can save you money in the long run. New units usually have 10-year warranties. The peace of mind alone can make the decision worth it. You can often qualify for financing that allows you to pay off the unit slowly over time.

If you answer “yes” to the following questions, it might be time to replace your air conditioner:

  • Have you had the same air conditioner for 10 years or more?
  • Does your unit struggle to keep up with your comfort needs?
  • Does your air conditioner seem to run around the clock?
  • Have your energy bills increased over the past few years?

When To Replace Your Air Conditioner

Should you upgrade your AC before it dies completely, or should you wait until there’s an emergency? Some HVAC contractors capitalize on hot weather to increase prices. You’re less likely to shop around and make sound decisions if you’re scrambling to replace a unit that just died when the outdoor temperatures peaked at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the best recommendations is to have an HVAC professional perform regular maintenance on your air conditioner. That will help it run smoothly and prevent costly emergencies. You can also ask the technician how the system looks during these visits. The regular feedback can help you gradually decide to replace the unit as it ages.

Replacing an old air conditioner shouldn’t be a hassle. A professional HVAC contractor will evaluate your needs and give you a quote. A new system installation should only take a few hours. Although some consumers are tempted to purchase new air conditioners directly from a supply house so that they can save some money, this can void the warranty. We recommend using a professional HVAC specialist to complete the installation from start to finish to achieve maximum efficiency in the long run and avoid any headaches.

How To Get A More Energy-Efficient Unit

An air conditioner’s SEER rating describes its maximum energy efficiency. Units with higher SEER ratings are more efficient, but they may not be ideal for your property. Modern HVAC units have SEER ratings that range from 13 to 25. Older units averaged closer to 8 or 9 SEER. Therefore, most air conditioners that are installed today surpass older HVAC systems in efficiency.

However, they’re not guaranteed to be as efficient as the number at which they’re rated. That’s just the maximum. If you don’t run your unit properly, you won’t see its maximum potential. That means that if you’re constantly changing the thermostat or don’t have sufficient insulation, you won’t get the maximum SEER out of your air conditioner.

The SEER value is like the MPG rating on your car. It changes depending on the operation.

Their are many things to consider when looking for an AC Replacement in Houston and your HVAC specialist will help you determine how to get the most energy-efficient air conditioner for your home. To determine this, you must take into account your house’s ductwork, insulation, sun exposure, and size. You’ll also need to address your budget and lifestyle.

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*These prices are typical, but also subject to change. Replacement quotes are based on using customer provided equipment. Prices are for normal residential installations and are to help you understand our upfront pricing.