A Buyer’s Guide to AC Systems
Ready to buy a new air conditioner, but no idea where to start? Look: no one expects you to become an expert in air conditioning systems. That’s our job! But we know you want to be informed about your decision. Most air conditioner installations require a custom estimate. That can leave you feeling uneasy about whether you are being taken advantage of. For that reason, we put together this buyer’s guide for AC systems.
What Should Factor Into Your Decision on Which AC to Buy?
The reality is that there are many choices in air conditioning system brands, types, and features. Narrowing down your priorities can help a Comfort Consultant zero in on your perfect solution. Here are some items you should take into consideration:
- Initial Cost – At the top of the list for most Georgetown, TX homeowners is the affordability of the air conditioner. When considering what price you feel comfortable paying, make sure you take into account the savings available through rebates and financing.
- Operational Costs – Yes, the price of the air conditioning equipment is important. But you also pay every month to operate it with your energy bills. You can drastically reduce your monthly energy bills with a very energy-efficient air conditioning unit.
- Comfort – If you are replacing an existing air conditioner, think about the comfort in your home. Do you have any hot spots, where one room is hotter than the others? How about humidity; do you ever have a damp feeling inside your home? The right air conditioning unit can fix these issues.
- Sound – Let’s talk noise. If your air conditioner is loud enough to wake you up at night, or keep you distracted during the day, then it is definitely impacting your quality of life. Depending on your needs, we can recommend an AC to solve those problems.
- Durability – Investing in a reputable, high quality brand like Carrier is crucial for homeowners interested in a system that will last.
Size Matters: Choosing the Right AC Size
Here’s a quick way to know whether or not you can trust an AC contractor. If the salesperson simply looks for the size of your current unit and quotes you a price for an updated model of the same exact thing. We know you don’t want to get fancy shmancy, but an air conditioner will serve you for the next decade. So here at DTC, we make sure to get it right!
The size of your air conditioner does not depend on the square footage of your house. It depends on the load, which is a term HVAC professionals use to describe how much heat is in a space. In a house, heat can come from the windows, the walls, and the roof – those things don’t change much. But what does change is how many people are inside the house, how the space is used, and what kind of heat-producing equipment is inside each space.
Once our team determines the load of your house today (not the load of your home whenever your current AC was installed), we can recommend the correct size. We use an industry standard calculation (ACCA Manual J) to determine the load of a home. It’s crucial not to under or oversize an air conditioner; the result could be problematic both ways!
System Type: What Kind of AC Systems Are There?
Here in the area of Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock, central air conditioners are the most common system that are installed in homes. But, you should also consider ductless systems in your decision.
Central Air Conditioners
Central air conditioners are also known as split, direct expansion (or Split DX) systems. There are two major components, a large outdoor unit and a smaller indoor coil, connected by refrigerant piping. Together these two pieces of equipment make up the refrigeration cycle, and because they are located in two different physical locations that is why they are called, “split”. And yet, they also go by the name of “central” air conditioners…why?
The central part of the system all goes back to the idea that there is a central space for your indoor coil, which all the ductwork in the home is connected to. So, the air in your home is pulled across the air filter, then passes over the centralized coil, then pushed back out to individual spaces.
Central AC units are available with different features. Many times, there are 15-20 central AC units we could offer that fit your home’s load and physical size requirements. From here, we can narrow down the choices to just 2 or 3, based on the needs you describe for your home. Our team has extensive training on the products available in the market, and we will be able to quickly pick out the units that make the most sense for you.
Although most people are comfortable with centralized AC systems, we think that ductless systems deserve a second look. Ductless systems are perfect for:
- Add-ons and renovations like in-law suites, attic finish outs, or garage conversions
- New construction homes
- Hot spots or individual spaces that need cooling
- She sheds, pool houses, or tiny homes
Unlike how a central AC is centralized with an indoor coil that provides AC for your entire home, a ductless mini-split system is decentralized. The big indoor coil is essentially split into many smaller coils to meet the load needs of a single room. Those indoor coils are housed in cabinets and located in each space; they are called “indoor units”. With this setup, no central ductwork is required — which is how this system gets its name. Ductless!
There are many, many benefits to ductless mini-splits. They are quiet, space-efficient, and have incredibly high energy efficiency ratings. But our favorite perk? With every indoor unit, you get a separate temperature controller. That means you can keep your office at 70 while the living room is at 75. You can even keep an unoccupied guest bedroom at 78, and then when visitors do come, they have control over their own comfort. The personalized comfort a ductless system offers makes it one of our favorite system types on the market.
Call DTC For Installation of AC Systems
No matter what your needs are, the professionals at DTC are here to help. We will listen to you every step of the way, and make sure you get an air conditioner that suits your family. Choosing an AC system can be nerve wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Trust your neighbors at DTC Air Conditioning & Heating. We’re not comfortable until you are. Call us at 512-887-5091.
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