Replacing an existing AC system is an easier job than designing and installing a brand-new system. Either way, you need an AC expert for the design, installation, and maintenance. Most central AC systems have a 10 to 15-year lifespan, and how long it lasts depends on how well the system was designed, installed, and cared for.
When the experts at All Year Cooling choose a new AC system for your home, what do they look at? It’s not as easy as picking a system in your budget. We have to consider these factors.
What Type of AC System Are You Looking For?
Homeowners have a few main types of AC systems to consider. In Florida, most homes already have a central AC set up. It’s uncommon to find other options as they’re not practical for the consistent heat and humidity.
- Split Systems (Ductless)
In a home where ducts do not exist or are not feasible, a split system may make sense. The condenser is located outside, while an evaporator unit is installed high up on an inside wall and cools that room rather than the whole home. The tubing passes through the wall from one system to the next.
Ductless systems tend to be more affordable and don’t require ducts, but you will have holes in the wall so if you decide to switch to central air at some point, major repairs to the wall would be needed.
- Central Air Conditioning
Most homes in Florida have central AC as the system cools every room in the home by moving the cooled air through ducts in the walls and ceilings. The air comes into rooms through vents and grates.
A central AC has an outdoor and indoor unit. They’re connected by tubes that contain the refrigerant. Cooled air is blown through the ducts using fans. This system is the most effective at cooling an entire home, but you do need to maintain it through regular filter changes, cleanings, and professional inspections.
- Window Air Conditioners
You could put in window air conditioners, but they’re not extremely effective in Florida’s heat. A window AC is meant to be taken down for the winter and stored inside. They have a shorter lifespan than ductless or central air conditioners, plus they’re bulky and the weight of the unit may not be well supported by an older window.
- Portable Air Conditioners
The other type is an in-room AC. The portable unit is on wheels and has a flexible pipe that attaches to a plastic frame you place in your window and holds in place by lowering the window to secure the frame. These are not particularly efficient and end up running continuously to try to cool a home during hot, humid weather.
What’s Your Budget for your New AC System?
Clearly, your budget does have to be considered. Don’t make this your only concern, however. Many Florida utility companies offer rebates if you upgrade to an energy-efficient AC system. Plus, the government has several tax incentives on qualifying ENERGY STAR central AC systems and alternative energy like solar if you decide to install a new AC system and power it with solar panels.
The other aspect of your budget is the money you expect to spend on utility bills. Your AC system is going to use electricity. If your electricity bills are already high, you’ll find that a newer AC with a higher SEER slashes your energy bill, so you end up saving money, even after paying for a new AC.
How Large Is Your Home? What Are Your Cooling Needs?
Your home’s square footage is important when it comes to designing an AC system. You have to have the ducts going from the interior AC unit to the different rooms in your home, plus you have the piping that goes from the interior AC unit to the outside area.
The size of your home helps determine the right size AC. You can’t opt for a system larger than your square footage requires thinking if it’s more powerful, it will cool faster and save you money. You also cannot choose a system that’s undersized in hopes of cutting costs. An oversized or undersized system ends up working harder than it should, which wears out the components faster, thus shortening your system’s lifespan.
Is It a New Construction AC System?
If you’re starting with a brand-new construction, the ducts can be installed in the walls and ceiling space. If you have an older home with no existing ducts, it can involve finding space in closets, crawlspaces, basements, and attics. Installers may need to cut holes in walls while avoiding existing electricals and piping.
The other perk to new construction is that the home is going to be well-insulated and up to current codes already. Installations of central AC in new construction are generally a quicker process.
What Is Your Home’s Layout?
Your layout plays an important part. A home with many closed-off rooms will cool differently from an open layout where there are fewer interior walls. A living room with floor-to-ceiling windows will heat up faster than a living room with a couple of smaller windows. With a lot of sun exposure, your AC needs to be designed with sun exposure in mind.
For this reason, a professional AC installer will calculate your home’s cooling load. The system must be able to remove enough heat from your home in a set time or it won’t sufficiently cool your air.
Do You Have Existing AC Ducts?
If you already have ducts in your home, they’ll be inspected. If your ducts need repairs due to holes and cracks, you’ll find out during this inspection. Deep cleaning, duct sealing, or restoration services may be all that’s needed to reuse your home’s existing ductwork. If you don’t have ducts, they need to be installed.
What Are the Local Codes?
Finally, a system has to meet local codes and should follow the recommended insulation levels. Framed wall insulation in Florida should be at least R-13. Block walls need to have interior insulation of R-7.8 or better, while exterior insulation has to be at least R-6. In the ceiling or on raised floors, insulation has to meet the minimum requirement of R-13.
Attics need insulation of R-30 or better if the attic is currently uninsulated or R-25 or better if it already is insulated. You may need to upgrade your insulation at the same time your new AC system is installed.
Wiring is also important. If your older home has aged wiring and electrical panels, they may need to be replaced first to prevent a fire hazard. All of this is inspected and discussed by your AC installer to ensure you have an accurate estimate.
A Central AC System Is Not a DIY Project
Don’t try to install your own central AC system. First, doing so may eliminate your chances of getting tax incentives and rebates. Some require proof that a qualified, licensed Florida AC installer did the work. Second, you miss out on warranties like All Year Cooling’s 10-year parts and labor warranty.
With our end-of-season sale offering up to 15% off, ENERGY STAR tax incentives, and rebates, you can save a bundle on a new central air system. Schedule a free inspection of your AC system to see if it is due for replacement or get a free estimate on a new AC system for your new construction. New customers receive a same-day installation on your new AC system.