Tips, Tricks, and HVAC Expertise Blog

Tips, Tricks, and HVAC Expertise Blog

Should You Upgrade Your Air Conditioner?

If there is one thing that we know in Alberta with our extreme temperature swings from the bone chilling winter to the lazy days of summer: climate control in our homes is not just a luxury to be expected by the elite – this has grown to become an amenity that we expect to find wherever we spend time indoors.

Gone are the days when you needed to decide what single room was going to get the benefit of a window-mounted air conditioner to lower the temperatures in your home.  With the rapid growth of central air conditioning systems, this has evolved to become the standard in home cooling for most modern homes.

The first step in identifying your choice for a home air conditioning system is to honestly assess where you’re starting from.  If you are not operating with a central air system now in your home, then you may want to consider taking the leap to bring your system up to date.  But before you do, two critical questions you need to answer are:

How many rooms in my home require added cooling?

In many homes with a basement, what homeowners find is that the rooms on their lower floor maintain a comfortable ambient temperature throughout the year even without the benefit of air conditioning in the basement.  If this is where most of your living spaces are situated, then you may only be looking to maintain a comfortable temperature in one or two upper level rooms.  In this case, a window-mounted air conditioner assisted with fans to help circulate air may be the best solution for you.  However, if most of your home is above grade and you have entire floors that need a reprieve from the summer heat, upgrading to central air may make sense.

Do I have all my ducts in a row?

Central is an ideal solution for many homes, however, depending on the vintage of your property, you may find that the home does not currently have the ductwork in place to readily accommodate a migration to central air conditioning.  In this case, you may also have to assess the feasibility and cost of installing the air ducts to make the upgrade possible.  This isn’t always as easily accomplished as one might hope.

If your home is already operating with a central air conditioning system, it is recommended that you consult a professional firm before making a purchase.  At Furnace Solutions, we have helped many homeowners assess their Edmonton air conditioning efficiency and in some cases, discovering efficiencies has saved thousands of dollars in unnecessary upgrades.  Often we are called when a homeowner feels that their energy bills are too high during peak season and they want to see if there is a more energy efficient solution to meet their needs.

The first step is to conduct a home energy assessment.  This will first investigate if there are any areas where home insulation can be improved to prevent heat from penetrating the home’s exterior and compromising the efforts of your system.  This assessment checks for drafty doors and windows and any deficiency that is increasing the work load of your system.  As an added benefit, Provincial governments are now becoming more aware of the benefits to our overall power consumption by promoting energy efficiency at home, so efforts to improve insulation, replace windows and reduce the home’s energy costs may be subject to grants and tax incentives, as well as increase the value of your property.

If all factors have been investigated and you determine that it is time for a system upgrade, you’ll next want to determine the size and output of your current system.  Based on best practices, is it still the best equipment to do the job?  You need to know what the cooling load of the system is and for that, you may need to draw upon outside expertise.  Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to home cooling systems.  While a central air system that is too small for the requirement will run constantly and experience a shorter life expectancy, a system that is too big for your exact needs can also be problematic, creating a damp environment in the home and lower the temperature to below a comfortable level.

One of the most common indicators that it is time to look at an upgrade relies on the age of your current system.  If your air conditioner is more than ten years old, you may recognize that there has been a lot of improvement in the technology of these machines over the past decade, including a number of initiatives to increase efficiency.  When considering an upgrade, only do so if you feel that your current system is no longer able to perform at the level required or if an upgrade presents the opportunity for significant energy savings over the short term, promoting a purchase that will pay for itself during the time that you occupy the home.

If you still have questions, we welcome the opportunity to discuss any air conditioning upgrade or assessment in the Edmonton area.  At Furnace Solutions we can recommend whether an upgrade is needed, or if other home improvements can increase your home’s climate control needs.  If your current air conditioning system isn’t performing at its peak, we can assess what maintenance and repair may be needed that will save the cost of replacement.  But, if it’s time for an upgrade, you can be assured of the best advice to ensure your best options to meet your needs.  Drop in to see us or give us a call today and let’s discuss your air conditioning needs both now and into the future.

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