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3 Surprising Facts About Replacing Your Air Conditioner

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As the end of summer approaches, it's a great time to look at your HVAC system and consider its overall performance. Did your home's air conditioner struggle to keep you cool through the year's severe heatwaves? Is your equipment approaching the end of its lifespan? While it's tempting to put these questions off until next year, it's usually better to deal with any issues before the heat returns.

If you're still debating whether you should replace your aging system with a new one, you might want to consider these three surprising facts about installing a new central air conditioning system.

1. You Don't Have to Splurge to Lower Your Utility Bills

One of the best parts about replacing an aging system is seeing your new and improved utility bills. Modern air conditioners are more energy-efficient than ever, which means they can keep your home cool while using less energy. Many homeowners believe they need to splurge on a high-end system to see these benefits, but that's rarely the case.

When upgrading, it's worth considering the age of your system and the history of SEER standards in the US. The federal government only mandated SEER 13 in 2006, which means that older systems may have ratings as low as SEER 10. You may be able to realize as much as a 30% improvement in your utility costs even with a system that just barely meets current federal requirements.

2. You Don't Have to Replace Everything

When replacing an air conditioning system, you typically only need to replace the evaporator/air handler and condenser units. Your ductwork and line set can often remain in place, significantly reducing the costs associated with a new installation. However, you should consider performing a duct leakage test to ensure you aren't wasting your new system on leaky ducts.

3. You Don't Have to Upgrade

HVAC systems live and die by one critical rule: proper sizing is always better than over or undersized systems. If your old system isn't keeping your home cool, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to upgrade. Air conditioners become less effective as they age, and you may only need to buy a new system with the same tonnage as your old one.

If you're unsure, it's best to have your HVAC installer perform a Manual J load calculation to determine your home's capacity before buying a replacement. This calculation will allow them to decide whether you need an upgrade. If not, you can save some money by choosing a replacement system with the same size as your old one.

Contact an air conditioner replacement contractor to learn more.