Oh, How Marvelous Is Air Conditioning!

Air conditioning is a fact of life these days. Most of us expect it’s comforting availability when the long days of summer test our personal physical heat tolerance. Invented in 1902 as a way to reduce air moisture in a lithographing company, few people could afford the luxury in their homes, so most visited theaters and department stores to enjoy a brief respite from the heat. 

Today, the ease and automated comfort of central air conditioning has taken the sting of extremely hot days out of most homes. Cooling the inside air is the main function of an air conditioner, but it is not all that it does. Air conditioners use a thermostat to regulate the air temperature. They also perform as a filter to remove airborne particles from the air. Since reducing the temperature of a volume of air causes it to release moisture, air conditioners also serve as a dehumidifier. 

Air conditioners work much like refrigerators and use refrigerants to move air in two directions. Air conditioners actually have two sides; the cold side moves air inside while the hot side moves air outside. A fan blows air into the room over coils that are chilled while another fan vents the hot air coming off the compressor to the outdoors. Liquid refrigerant is compressed and moved into the evaporator by the expansion value; the refrigerant’s pressure drops, expands and returns to a gas while in the evaporator; following which, the refrigerant is then pressurized by the compressor which results in its liquefying once again; and, so the cycle repeats. 

While there are some differences between window units, split-system units and central air units, your local HVAC professional will know which system is best suited to meet the individual needs of your home.

Low Cooling And Heating Costs Help Sell Homes

When looking to buy a new home, one the points a potential buyer is going to consider is how efficient the home is to cool and heat. Monthly utilities are an ongoing cost to living in any home and if all other factors are equal, a buyer will most likely choose a home with an efficient heating and air conditioning system to control interior climate. Updating the heating or cooling system can help your home sell faster and it could also increase the value.

Although replacing an old heating or cooling system is not cheap, it can be worth every penny. Whether you plan on living in the home for some time or are going to sell it in the near future, having a home that is expensive to heat or cool is not to your benefit. There are many energy efficient alternatives available that will reduce the amount you spend in cooling and heating each year, often by hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. This will save you money while you still live in the home as well as make it more desirable when it comes time to sell.

If you are in the market to sell your home soon, talk with a realtor on the difference in value your home will have if you add an updated, energy efficient system. The value difference may pay for the system and more, as well as increase the speed of the sale. It may be the difference between waiting a year or more to sell your home versus a few months. Make your home the better value and “greener” choice by having an energy system in place.


Compare Costs With Efficiency For Lowest Overall Expense

When choosing a new heating and air conditioning system for your home, you will have a range of choices including various levels of energy efficiency.  Energy efficiency varies not only between types of systems such as heat pumps compared to a central air conditioner/furnace systems, but also within the same type of equipment .  Central air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps are all available in varying levels of efficiency.

Installing the highest efficiency heating and cooling system available may be the environmentally responsible thing to do, but from a financial stand point higher efficiency does not always equal cost savings.  Each manufacturer offers several different models of energy efficient heating and cooling systems.  The higher the efficiency of the unit, the more expensive it will be.

The question becomes “will you save enough money on your energy bills by going with the higher efficiency model to offset the added cost of the unit. This is not an easy question to answer because it depends on so many variables including what the climate is like where you live, how well your home has been weather proofed, the cost of energy in your area, and how long the equipment is expected to last.

Your HVAC contractor can help you decide, but in general if you live in an area where heavy use of the air conditioner or heating system is the norm such as New Mexico or Minnesota, it most likely pays to go with the higher efficiency unit.  On the other hand, if you live in a temperate climate such as Portland Oregon, you will come out ahead financially by going with the less expensive, lower efficiency system.

The Right Size Heating And Cooling System

Replacing an older, inefficient heating and cooling system is a great way to save money on your energy bills.  Heating and cooling accounts for more than half the energy usage in the home and new heating and cooling systems are much more energy efficient than those installed just ten years ago.

When choosing a replacement system, it is very important to choose a system that is properly sized for your home in order to maximize efficiency and comfort while minimizing the initial cost and operating costs over the life of the system.  An air conditioning or heating system that does not have enough capacity will not be able to keep your home comfortable, but the most common mistake is to install a system that is too large.

Don’t let your HVAC contractor simply install a system that is the same size as the existing system.  Before homes were tightly built to minimize air leaks, it was very common to install a system that was too large and if you have improved your home by installing weather stripping, additional insulation, or energy efficient windows then replacing the system with a similarly sized system will result in a system that is much too large.

Make sure your HVAC contractor does a proper calculation that takes into account the size of your home, your location, how well insulated the home is, the number of occupants living in the home, number and type of lights in the home, and other factors that affect the size of the system.  A system that is too large will have a higher initial cost, higher operating cost, more breakdowns, will not keep your home and family as comfortable as a properly sized unit.