Florida’s hot, humid weather can extend year-round. That means central air conditioning doesn’t have the same lifespan as a unit in a northern climate where the systems are only used for five or six months. While some areas of the nation can expect their systems to last 15 or 20 years, South Florida residents are lucky to get 10 to 15 years, and that’s with proper maintenance and cleaning.
As air conditioners are essential for keeping your Miami home cool and comfortable throughout the year, how do you know when it’s time to install a new unit? What is the right time to install a new AC system?
You Have a Broken System
The most obvious sign that it’s the right time for a new AC system is that yours no longer works. Maybe it flooded and you’ve been unable to invest in a new system, so you’re using window air conditioners for now, but the electricity consumption is costing more than you can afford.
It may be expensive to install a new central AC, but it’s better than having your home get too humid and develop black mold. If that happens, you cannot live in your home. The clean-up costs from black mold can run upwards of $30,000 for an entire house per Bob Vila.
Your Current System Is More Than 10 Years Old
Is your system older than 10 years? If so, it’s a good time to upgrade it. Technology and efficiency keep improving, and today’s central AC systems are far more efficient than they were 10 years ago.
SEER 12.5 was the minimum SEER for the Southeast U.S. in 2013. That’s when your 13 SEER, 3-ton system was installed. If you upgraded to a higher SEER2 rating, here is what you would save in energy costs.
- 14 SEER2 – 15% per year
- 15 SEER2 – 21% per year
- 16 SEER2 – 29% per year
- 17 SEER2 – 37% per year
- 18 SEER2 – 45% per year
- 20 SEER2 – 61% per year
- 22 SEER2 – 77% per year
- 24 SEER2 – 93% per year
- 26 SEER2 – 109% per year
- 28 SEER2 – 126% per year
Systems with a higher SEER2 rating end up paying for themselves in little time. If you did install a 3-ton 28 SEER 2, your average yearly electricity use would drop from $303 to just over $130. It’s a substantial cost reduction.
Your Home Isn’t Staying Cool Enough
It’s another hot day, but your home doesn’t feel as cool as it used to. Before you panic, check a few things. First, pull out the air filter and look at it. Is it especially dirty? That could be preventing the airflow. Change the filter and see if your home cools back down. Second, check the thermostat. Is it set correctly or did someone change it, has it been switched to “Fan Only?”
If you can check the ducts, look for holes and cracks that are allowing cool air to escape into your attic, your crawlspace, or inside walls. You might be unable to check all of the sections of the duct. It’s a good time to look into having a professional duct inspection and cleaning, sealing, or restoration.
Do you see any leaks that could be coolant? Is ice building up on your coils? Head outside and make sure the coils are clean and not coated in pollen, dirt, and dust. You should also verify that there are no leaves built up on the outdoor unit and that shrubs are at least three feet away and not blocking airflow.
After you’ve had it cleaned, inspected, and checked the ducts, you should have a good idea if it’s time for a new AC system. If it is, you can save money by taking your time and doing your research.
Try to Wait for the Off-Season
If it’s possible, you’ll save money waiting until the off-season. Fall and winter are less busy for Miami AC installation experts. Because they have more openings in their schedule, it’s going to cost you less.
Plus, inventory for the next year is going to be arriving, so any remaining units from the current season are going to be discounted. You can often get AC systems with higher SEER2 ratings for a fraction of what you’d usually pay.
When you install a new AC system in the off-season, it’s usually cooler outside. You won’t have to deal with an excessively hot, humid home while you’re waiting for the installation to be completed.
One thing that you do need to consider is that a new AC installation has to be tested. If the winter is unseasonably cold, it may be harder for the installers to test the system. Be flexible if you get a call that it may not be ideal weather for a fall or winter installation.
Always Have Your System Sized by an AC Professional
Don’t purchase a system without asking an AC expert for advice. People often search online for a discount and expect to get someone who will install it for them for cheap. This can be a costly mistake.
You’ve purchased a system that cools a home bigger than yours. Oversized systems do cool quickly, but they shut off just as quickly. You end up with a system that turns on and off in minutes, which wears out components.
The other issue occurs when people purchase a system that’s too small. You see a system that’s well below your budget, but it’s designed for a home that’s up to 1,000 square feet. Your home is 1,200 square feet. It will run constantly to try to get your home cool enough. It runs constantly and increases your electricity bill.
What If You Can’t Wait?
It’s been a sweltering summer across the nation. Pay attention to your central AC system. If you notice it’s making unfamiliar noises, you should have it checked. It’s better to pay the money and learn it’s a minor issue than avoid calling and have something go drastically wrong.
Once you’ve had your AC inspected, you’ll know if your system still has life left or if it’s time for a new AC. If it is time for a new AC, you may not have the time to wait. Don’t worry. All Year Cooling regularly has coupons and special offers to help make your new AC installation more affordable.
Installing a new AC unit is a big decision, but it is one that can save you money and improve your comfort in the long run. By choosing the best time to install your AC unit, you can get the best possible deal and avoid any unnecessary stress. All Year Cooling is here to help. Reach us online or by phone.