820 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 6
Chesapeake, Va 23320
- 2646
Office: 757-655-6447 | FAX: 757-523-6530
kim@centralplumbing.hrcoxmail.com

You Have 1 Item in your Cart. Price is $199

Blog

Air Conditioner: Repair or Replace? – Chesapeake, VA

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Follow these tips to decide whether to repair or replace your central air conditioning equipment.

So much has changed in the world of air conditioning in recent years that if your system has almost any significant breakdown — or if it’s just not keeping you as cool as it used to — it may be worth replacing it instead of repairing it.

As of 2010, for example, manufacturers must use a new kind of refrigerant that’s not an ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon. And a new system can use less than half the electricity of your old one while doing a far better job of keeping you cool and comfortable.

If your air conditioner is more than eight years old, repair is probably not worth the expense, unless it’s a simple problem like debris clogging the condenser unit or a worn fan belt. Still, to best weigh your repair-or-replace decision, ask your contractor to assess not just the condition of your existing equipment, but also the ducts that deliver the cool air and the overall quality of the insulation in your house. Improving those elements might increase the effectiveness of the system as much or more than installing new machinery.

Assess the Efficiency of Your Current System

Even if your central air conditioner is just eight to 10 years old, it could suck up to twice the electricity that even a low-end new one would use. That’s because it operates at or below 10 SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Until 2006, 10 SEER was standard, but these days, the minimum allowed by federal law is 13 SEER. That translates to 30% less electrical consumption and 30% lower cooling bills than equipment installed just a few years ago.

For an 1,800 square foot house, a new 13 SEER unit will cost $3,000 to $4,000. You can double your energy savings by jumping up to 16 SEER, which will reduce cooling expenses by 60% over a 10 SEER unit. At $5,000 to $6,000, these super-efficient units are more expensive, but they qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $300 and possibly local incentives, too.

Your installer can run the numbers for you to see whether it’s worth the additional cost. If you’re south of the Mason Dixon line, certainly, you can make up those dollars pretty quickly.

Inspect the Condition of the Ductwork

You could upgrade to the highest efficiency gear available and still not feel comfortably cool on hot days. That’s because the mechanicals are only part of the central air system. The average house’s ductwork leaks 10% to 30% of its air before it can reach your living space. Before deciding whether to repair or replace your condenser and blower units, your technician should run a duct-leakage test, by sealing the vents and measuring how much air escapes the system.

If the ducts are inefficient, he can locate and seal the gaps, typically for $25 to $35 per vent (per “run” in industry jargon), or replace the ductwork entirely with new, insulated pipe for around $100 per run. Your technician may recommend doing the duct improvements in conjunction with replacement of the mechanicals or may recommend only one or the other job.

Consider the Building Envelope Itself

If your house is poorly insulated, it’s putting a strain on your aging air conditioner. Resolving the house’s flaws may mean that your old system will have enough cooling power to continue to do the job for a few more years. Or it may enable you to buy a smaller replacement system, lowering your upfront and ongoing energy costs significantly.

Your heating and cooling contractor should assess and, if necessary, upgrade the building envelope. For example, he might seal gaps and cracks in the outer walls and attic floor, or he might blow insulation into the walls, either of which could knock as much as 30% off your heating and cooling costs. Insulation also may get you a $500 federal tax credit, and in some cases, it may be a more effective solution to your cooling problems than replacing your equipment.

Make Sure a New System Is Sized Right

If you decide to replace, make sure the contractor’s bid includes a load calculation, which is a computer printout showing how big a system you need and why.

Air conditioning is measured by the ton, which is the cooling power of a one-ton block of ice melting in 24 hours. Some old-school installers use a ballpark estimate for sizing equipment—say, one ton for every 400 or 600 square feet of living space. But that typically leads to systems that are too big. Not only do oversized systems cost more, but they also do their cooling work too quickly, which means more frequent on/off cycles, wearing out components and gobbling electricity. Plus, they don’t have a chance to effectively dehumidify the air.

Good contractors use load-calculating software that factors in such data as the number of windows in your house, the thickness of insulation, the configuration of the attic, and the building’s orientation to the sun. It produces not only an exact tonnage requirement, but determines how much cool air each room needs. All bids (get at least three, from licensed, well-regarded companies) should include this one-page printout.

For more information on repairing or replacing the AC unit in Chespeake, VA, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

HouseLogic


Recent Posts


Tags

plumbing service in Chesapeake, VA AC repair and maintenance heating system check and tune-up tips to cut energy costs Chesapeake, VA plumbing repairs HVAC technician HEPA air filter home HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA repair your broken water lines heating and cooling service plan in Chesapeake, VA furnace installation company residential air conditioning systems service qualified AC contractor, Chesapeake, VA air conditioner maintenance professional furnace maintenance indoor air pollution Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit certified HVAC expert in Chesapeake, VA summer cooling tips HVAC technicians in Chesapeake, VA replacing an older air conditioning system, Chesapeake, VA home HVAC systems indoor air filter HVAC repair, Chesapeake, VA air conditioning equipment residential air conditioning systems air conditioner service certified plumber HVAC system maintenance, Chesapeake, VA air conditioning repairs and maintenance in Chesapeake, VA signs heating system needs replacement, Chesapeake, VA tax credit for major systems upgrades HVAC check-up and maintenance service buy a new furnace poor indoor air quality air conditioning maintenance reduce home heating bills HVAC systems checked, Chesapeake, VA heating system tune up Installing new air conditioning system AC repair and maintenance, Chesapeake, VA HVAC equipment service frozen pipes federal energy tax credits HVAC specialists in Chesapeake, VA Dirty air filters in your HVAC system, Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing and Heating Inc cut energy costs hvac repair install cheseapeake va Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VA home HVAC repair HVAC equipment maintenance sink or whole-house water purification systems HVAC expert plumbing system repair HVAC system, Chesapeake, VA improving indoor air quality certified HVAC specialist inspect the furnace or heat pump, Chesapeake, VA heat pumps, Chesapeake, VA heating contractor air conditioning tune-up air conditioning filter cut home energy costs this winter, Chesapeake, VA HVAC technician, Chesapeake, VA HVAC contractor in Chesapeake, VA energy efficient products eligible for tax credits heating and air-conditioning contractor, Chesapeake, VA HVAC contractor indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing and Heating Inc. air conditioning repair HVAC home heating service Chesapeake VA repairing or replacing a water heater or HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA energy tax credits HVAC expert service indoor air quality clean the air conditioning filter HVAC service maintenance in Chesapeake, VA heat pump repair, Chesapeake, VA repair or replace AC, Chesapeake, VA Greater Boston Plumbing Forced air furnaces, Chesapeake, VA full HVAC unit replacement lower your utility bills, Chesapeake, VA Furnace service and maintenance plans improve indoor air quality HVAC system repairs, Chesapeake, VA cut energy costs Chesapeake, VA HVAC system service Heating system inspection heating system repairs energy tax credits, Chesapeake, VA new air conditioner unit with warranty energy efficient HVAC system, VA Professional HVAC experts in Chesapeake, VA HVAC tune-up air conditioning tune-up, Chesapeake, VA Central Plumbing and Heating, Inc replace the furnace tips on keeping your home cool, Chesapeake, VA cut home energy costs, Chesapeake, VA air conditioner tips Plumbing services in Chesapeake, VA heating system tune up, Chesapeake, VA high-efficiency furnace, Chesapeake, VA replacing the central air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA hvac sales service chesapeake va repairing or replacing the AC unit in Chespeake, VA AC service and maintenance efficient ways to heat a home, Chesapeake, VA air-conditioning tune-up replacing the HVAC equipment, Chesapeake, VA How Long Should a Furnace and Air Conditioning Unit Last HVAC specialist in Chesapeake, VA full HVAC unit replacement, Chesapeake, VA heating system maintenance service heating system maintenance services heating system repair or replace, Chesapeake, VA heating and air conditioning system, Chesapeake, VA HVAC sales and services in Chesapeake, VA licensed HVAC contractor Central Plumbing and Heating energy saving HVAC systems in Chesapeake, VA tax credit for major systems upgrades, Chesapeake, VA heating system, Chesapeake, VA hvac repair install weather proofing chesapeake va Central Plumbing System Furnace service and maintenance, Chesapeake, VA Energy Star Products, Chesapeake, VA professional furnace expert AC repair furnace maintenance Central Heating and Plumbing HVAC service in Chesapeake, VA HVAC repair and maintenance, VA professional plumbers water heater isn’t working properly, Chesapeake, VA Installing a new air conditioning system how to improve indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA tankless (on-demand) hot water system Chesapeake, VA AC cleaned and maintained repairs to a gas water heater, Chesapeake, VA HVAC system repair and replacement Chesapeake, VA repair or replace the HVAC, Chesapeake, VA heating system maintenance AC tune up, Chesapeake, VA increase your home’s efficiency, Chesapeake, VA repair or replace your central air conditioning equipment, Chesapeake, VA Dirty air filters, Chesapeake, VA home heating, Chesapeake, VA fixing the air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA HVAC maintenance Heat Pump in Chesapeake, VA HVAC check-up and maintenance heating equipment maintenance HVAC professional in Chesapeake, VA hvac service chesapeake va air conditioning service HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA AC cleaned and maintained, Chesapeake, VA New air conditioning and heating equipment Heating specialists in Chesapeake, VA gas water heater problems, Chesapeake, VA new HVAC system in Chesapeake, VA replace a gas water heater, Chesapeake, VA HVAC tune up, Chesapeake, VA energy efficient heating, Chesapeake, VA heating system repairing or replacing the central AC, Chesapeake, VA reduce home energy bills heating contractor in Chesapeake, VA AC tune up replace existing ducted furnace in Chesapeake, VA high-efficiency furnaces, Chesapeake, VA licensed plumber maintaining the air conditioner, Chesapeake, VA heating system repairs, Chesapeake, VA improve indoor air quality, Chesapeake, VA

Archive