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

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

Archive