Tips For Homeowners Looking to Replace Their Old Air Conditioner
Jul 27, 2017
Air Conditioners play a huge role in every individual’s comfort in Florida. As the name, “Sunshine State” implies, there is no lack of heat where we call home. Because of the constant heat and humidity, air conditioners work extremely hard all year long to keep our homes cool. Unfortunately, because of this, our units have much shorter life spans compared to different states. While the average lifespan of a unit is between 10-20 years in the United States, it’s not uncommon for units to actually last 8-15 years in Florida. Add in torrential storms that sometimes occur, hurricanes, and the dense vegetation and foliage of Florida, and you have the perfect recipe for the shortened life of your air conditioner.
Picking a Contractor
So your unit goes out on you, now what? First, it’s really important that you have a trustworthy contractor that you do business with. Unfortunately, our industry is plagued by contractors looking to make a quick buck. As a company, we have gone out to too many job sites where someone recently had an AC unit installed and it’s not working properly. Many companies focus on quantity, and schedule their techs several installs a day. This leads to them taking short-cuts that could cost you! In the new age of technology, we have access to so much information about every company. Take a look at every companies Google reviews, Angie’s List reviews and any other trusted review sources you might have. These will show you what other people are saying about the company you are choosing to do business with. I definitely recommend not going with any company under 3 stars, but to be safe I would shoot for 4 stars or more. Personally, I would go with one of the highest recommended companies I could find. This will help ensure you have someone who knows what they are doing when replacing your old air conditioner. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you may not even have to replace your old unit. It could just be a simple fix, so having a trustworthy contractor is important as they can tell the difference.
Pricing on your New Air Conditioner
Now that you found your contractor, what about pricing? Because of the difference in philosophies, pricing can often vary. Some companies have that, “Quantity over quality” mentality, and they just slap in a new unit and coat it with mastic, taking numerous short-cuts. You often get what you pay for, and when it comes to something as important your air conditioner, it’s worth the investment. Good, trustworthy contractors are worth holding on to. When comparing pricing, make sure you are quoted on similar specs of AC units. There are several factors to consider, including size, efficiency, and brand. As a company, we typically install only Trane, Carrier, and Payne, as we believe those are of the highest quality. However, that’s not to say there aren’t other brands that would do just as well.
Sizing Your New Air Conditioner
This is a crucial part of any installation. You need to have the proper AC unit depending upon the square footage of your home or workplace. The new unit needs to be big enough to effectively cool your home, but not so big that it’s wasting energy or not properly controlling humidity. Systems that are too large will fall victim to frequent cycling on and off that will actually increase energy consumption. If a unit is too small, it won’t be able to effectively cool your home on that hot 100 degree day that is all too common in Florida.
Repair VS. Replace
When a contractor comes to your house to evaluate your issue, they can often just make a repair to get your air conditioner up and running again. However, there is a point where it no longer makes sense. If your unit is over 10 years old, your coil is heavily leaking and you’re out of freon, you are frequently looking at a $1500-2000 job. On top of that, your new coil offers a one year warranty, and very frequently the other parts of your air conditioner are soon to go as well. This will likely be what we at Coast to Coast call a band-aid, a very temporary solution to a bigger issue. It is absolutely the Contractor’s job to offer new installation as the better option. If they can install a new unit for $4-5000, you gain a 10 year parts and 1 year labor warranty, and you end up with a much more efficient unit, it is definitely the better route. You will not only have peace of mind with a warranty, but you will also gain a unit that will save you money on every electric bill.
Time of the Year
Timing is often a luxury people don’t have when their unit stops working. Units tend to break during the peak of the heat during summer. However, for the smart consumer there is a better option. Because the summer is a busy season for most HVAC contractors, demand is very high and replacements can become expensive. During the off-season, many manufacturers offer rebates and discounted pricing on new units. If you have the option available, this is a great time to get a new unit. You can save yourself a little money, and save yourself the frustration of being with air conditioning during the summer. Don’t forget, many energy companies also offer rebates to customers utilizing more efficient units. Check with your energy provider or ask your contractor for more information!