Can An Air Conditioner Type Effect Home Value?

The short answer…Yes.

Air Conditioning systems keep your home at a cool climate when outside temperatures reach the 90’s and 100’s.  Home buyers value a residence that they can be confident will remain at a comfortable temperature regardless of the temperature outside.

Residential homes consist of central, ductless split systems, and window units.

Central Air Conditioning System

Central Air systems are set up with an outside unit that pushes air to metal ducts and vents throughout the house to cool the space as one.

Ductless Split System

Ductless systems have a similar outside setup as central air but the outside compressor attaches to wall mounted ac units that are build to regulate the temperature in one room.

Window Unit System

The Window Unit System has the compressor and ac unit all together in one package that is mounted on a window.

Central AC is the winner of these 3 air conditioning systems and vastly increases the value of your home.  Real Estate experts, such as The National Association of Realtors, estimate the value of a home can increase by nearly 12 percent with the addition of a Central Air Conditioning System.

How Does An HVAC System Work?

Cooling

An air conditioner’s compressor contains a refrigerant. As it works, it sends this refrigerant through the system. As warm air blows across the coil that carries this refrigerant, the heat transfers to the refrigerant (cool always absorbs warm). A fan moves the cooled air through the ducting and out of vents that lead into the rooms of your house. The refrigerant returns to the compressor where the absorbed heat is moved outside. The refrigerant is then sent through the coil once again to continue the cycle.

Heating

In a split system, the heater or furnace will be located away from the air conditioner. It may be in a garage or a basement. In a package unit, sometimes called a “gas pack”, the heater is in the same cabinet as the air conditioner. All heating systems will have four elements in common:

  • Burners that burn fuel and deliver it
  • Heat exchangers
  • A blower that pushes the air along
  • An exhaust flue

In a manner similar to the coil described above in the cooling section, the burners heat up the fuel and send it through the heat exchanger. Cool air blows across the heat exchanger and absorbs the heat. The blower then sends it through the ducts and into the rooms of your house. The flue sends any exhaust gases safely out of your house.

All of this is controlled by the thermostat as it communicates with your HVAC system’s circuitry. It tells the system when to heat, when to cool, when to stop and when to run. Some systems control the temperature according to the whole house while others can control it room by room.

via homeadvisors.com

What determines if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?

Having an air conditioning unit break down can be a huge nightmare for a homeowner.  The process of repairing or replacing can be stressful and expensive.  Warm air coming out of your AC makes it feel broken no matter how severe the actual problem is.  Here are a few questions to ask when trying to determine if you need to replace or repair your unit:

Is The Problem Something Simple?

A huge majority of problems your AC can experience are things that are so easy to fix you can do it yourself. Clogged filters, built up dirt, and overgrown weeds can all cause your cooling system to grind to a halt, but are easily fixed with a pair of sturdy gloves or a quick trip to your hardware store. Especially if you’ve opted out of having your system regularly maintained by an HVAC specialist, there’s a good chance that the problem is… your system hasn’t been maintained properly. This simple troubleshooting guide can take you through the most common problems, and save you even having to call an HVAC guy, let alone the cost of replacing the whole system.

Is The AC Less Than 5 Years Old?

The typical lifespan of an air conditioning system is about 10 years, so right off the bat replacing one newer than that might be premature. But systems that are less than five years old specifically have a lot of things going for them in the “repair” column. First, chances are a 5 year old AC is still under warranty, which can significantly reduce if not entirely eliminate the cost of getting the unit repaired. As well, parts will typically be more available because there’s a better chance the unit is still in production, further lowering the cost of repair. Maybe most importantly, though, any air conditioner built after 2006 is held to much, much more stringent efficiency standards – the same standards as current models, which means that replacing the unit wouldn’t provide any significant energy savings.

Is The AC More Than 10 Years Old?

Even starting around 8 years old, air conditioners start breaking down more frequently, and aging in the system overall can even result in the same part (especially the most expensive part: the compressor) needing to be repeatedly replaced. That means that continuing to replace parts could actually end up costing you a significant portion of what you would have paid to buy an entirely new system. But once you hit the 10 year mark, you start getting government incentives, tax breaks, and tax credits toward getting a new, more energy efficient system that aren’t available for a faltering 9.5 year old unit. So if the repair is significantly less than the incentives would be in 6 months or a year, it might be worth holding out. That said, one of the hidden “incentives” to upgrading to an EnergySTAR air conditioning system that meets post-2006 EPA regulations is that you’ll save, on average, at least 30% on your cooling costs purely due to the efficiency boost, which should be money you factor into the short and long term costs.

How Efficient Is My Current Setup?

Even with the best maintenance a loving hand and a full wallet can provide, an air conditioner will never perform better than the efficiency rating listed on the box when you buy it, and as the system ages and the parts wear out, it’ll become progressively less and less efficient, and more and more expensive to run. The efficiency rating of an air conditioner is listed in SEER points (or the seasonal energy efficiency rating). Before 2006, most units performed somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 SEER, and are now a mandated (though often higher) 13 SEER. Put as simply as possible, with 10 SEER, you get 10 units of cooling for every 1 unit of energy; with 13 SEER, you get 13 units of cooling for that same 1 unit of energy, which can add up fast in warmer climates. So even if you have a 20 year old system that’s tuned up and running as well as the day you bought it, you might end up saving money in the long run by upgrading to a more efficient unit.

Can You Afford To Replace?

This economic downturn has been especially rough on homeowners, and a new air conditioning unit isn’t just a big ticket item, it can be a huge ticket item if you aren’t expecting the failure. But if your current setup predates the 2006 regulation changes, the cost of a new unit might be the least of your worries – many of the new EnergySTAR air conditioners come mated with energy efficient air handlers, which can save you a lot in energy costs long term, but easily doubles the up-front cost of getting cool air flowing back into your home. Because of this, many pre-2006′ers are turning to repairs, opting instead to replace parts on their older machines rather than taking the leap into a whole new system. This is especially smart if you aren’t planning on being in your home for the life of a new system, if your home isn’t adequately weatherproofed (which can negate the energy savings entirely as your cooling creeps out the cracks), if the home or building is likely to be torn down in less than 1o years, or if you or a future buyer might expand the home (which could put your home into a different cubic square feet bracket that would require a larger system anyway).

Can You Afford NOT To Replace?

All that said, if none of those “ifs” apply to you, and you’ve got a little financial wiggle room, a unit that’s 10 or more years old and has already been repaired more than once, and noticeably rising cooling costs, taking the plunge and getting a whole new system could actually save you a significant amount of money in the long term. With as much as 50% savings on your cooling costs, the energy savings alone can pay for the system relatively quickly, and with proper maintenance they can keep putting money in your pocket for years after you’ve recouped your expenses.

How Much Do You Trust Your HVAC Specialist?

This one is actually more important than you might think. Many HVAC repairmen are paid on commission rather than a flat service rate, which means it’s in their best interest to get you to replace when you maybe just need to repair, and repair when you maybe just need to maintain. So to be sure you’re getting good advice, you first want to find the right HVAC specialist to give it to you. A good expert can help you significantly extend the life of your system with good maintenance, and can advise you reliably when it might be better to replace.

Do You Need To Repair Or Replace Something Other Than Your AC?

While most major AC failures are pretty cut and dry (machine doesn’t work, call trusty HVAC guy), some problems are a little… weirder. If you have hot and cold spots around your house, your air is either too humid or too dry, your home is excessively dusty, or your AC is especially noisy, you probably do have a problem, but it probably isn’t with your air conditioning unit itself. From dirty, leaky, or undersized ducts to inadequate insulation or a system that’s simply sized improperly to your home, these are problems you definitely want to mention to your service person, as getting them fixed could mean significant energy savings. As well, if your bills are very high because you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you should have an expert install one and teach you to use it for a quick, inexpensive way to immediately slash your heating and cooling costs. And if you aren’t sure whether or not you’re paying what you ought to be, check out EnergySTAR’s Home Energy Yardstick to see how your use ranks in your area. If you score less than a 5, it might be time to call for service!

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How can I reduce some of my energy costs?

Below are a few proactive steps to take to increase your HVAC efficiency and lower your energy costs.

  1. Keep up with routine maintenance
    • It’s a good idea to schedule semi annual service to ensure your system operating at its most efficient settings.
  2. Set your HVAC system at optimum and stable temperatures
    • The temperature you set your thermostat is largely a matter of personal comfort, but many systems have optimum temperature ranges that ensure they’re using energy efficiently. Consult your owner’s manual or with your service technician to find out the most energy-efficient temperature range. It’s also a good idea to avoid fluctuating temperatures too frequently – such as turning the AC way down on a hot day – as this can make your HVAC system work harder and less efficiently.
  3. Seal your home
    • Air leaks in take away from your HVAC efficiency.  Make sure all your windows are shut and the weather striping is in tact on all doors throughout your home.  Similarly, ensuring your home is properly insulated will help your air conditioning system to run efficiently.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat
    • Programmable thermostats allow you to set your air conditioning system to work less while you are not home.
  5. Use curtains & blinds
    • Window coverings will help maintain the current temperature in your home.

What is an air handler and how does it help my system?

An air handler, or air handling unit (often called an AHU), is used to condition and circulate air as part of an HVAC system. An air handler usually contains a blower, heating or cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, sound attenuators, and dampers. Air handlers usually connect to ductwork that distribute the conditioned air through the building and return it to the AHU.

Small air handlers are called terminal units, and may only include an air filter, coil, and blower. These smaller units are also called blower coils or fan coil units. A larger air handler that conditions 100% outside air, and no re-circulated air, is known as a makeup air unit (MAU). An air handler designed for outdoor use, typically on roofs, is known as a rooftop unit (RTU).

The air handler employed in your air conditioner in part dictates efficiency, as well as your overall comfort level.

A variable-speed unit is one of the primary components you should be looking for when upgrading your air conditioner, in addition to a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), two-stage compressor and environmentally friendly refrigerant.

Why should I replace my air conditioning or heating system?

Air conditioning and heating systems are vital to the level of comfort in your home.  They also are the most expensive appliances.  Many people hesitate to invest a large amount of money to replace such an important appliance unless it is absolutely necessary.

Why should we keep our current system?

A heating and air conditioning system under 12 years of age is generally not considered to be replacement worthy. According to Energy.gov the “lifespan” of a central air conditioner is about 15 to 20 years. This means that if your heating and air conditioning system hasn’t had any major breakdowns you could still expect some life out of it if it is under 12 years. Also, consumers who do not have any comfort issues in their home might not need to replace either.

Why should we replace our current system?

There are multiple reasons why replacing an “older” heating and air conditioning system should be done now as opposed to later. Energy efficiency, relevant to consumers through their utility bills, is a major factor. Energy.gov states that today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. These are substantial savings.

A heating and air conditioning system over 12 years old that breaks down will cost you money in repair bills. Investing money in a system of this age doesn’t guarantee you anymore life in the system. Any repair made on your heating and air conditioning system is a gamble after 12 years old as other parts on the system can breakdown at any time. Newer systems can have parts and labor warranty of 10 years meaning not having to worry about any repair bills for an entire decade.

Older furnaces are at risk of getting cracks in their heat exchangers which contain potentially deadly gas called carbon monoxide.  The more years of use a heat exchanger is more likely to get a crack in it.  Heating and air conditioning systems over 12 years old are also more likely to have electrical issues.

Having a heating and air conditioning system over 12 years old does not mean that you automatically need to replace.  Though consumers should look into and weigh their options if they do have an older system.

Should I be concerned about indoor air quality?

As a homeowner, you probably give a great deal of attention to how well your heater and air conditioner heat, cool and keep each room of your home comfortable. But heating and cooling systems do more than raise and lower room temperature; they also can regulate or impact the quality of the air we breathe. And indoor air quality not only affects our our comfort, but our health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution sources that release gases or microscopic particles into the air are the primary causes of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels also can increase concentrations of some pollutants.

Primary Sources of Indoor Air Quality Problems

There are many sources of indoor air pollution in homes, say EPA officials. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products — all of which can produce carbon monoxide and other invisible and potentially deadly gases. Home products such as carpets, household cleaning products, insulation and building materials can produce toxins at high levels. Dust, mold and allergens can easily and invisibly accumulate and spread through the air and throughout your home. Even outdoor sources such as radon and pesticides can get in your home.

Amount of Ventilation

If insufficient fresh outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Newer homes designed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can leak into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than older homes that are normally considered leaky or drafty.

Indoor Pollution and Health Effects

Sometimes the effects of indoor air quality take time to show up. Initial symptoms include unexplained headaches, dizziness, fatigue and irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Some exposure can be debilitating or fatal; for example, carbon monoxide poisoning can kill in minutes. Other long-term effects from indoor air pollution may include chronic respiratory diseases, heart disease or cancer.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

  • Source Control: Eliminate individual sources — smoking, wood or coal burning stoves. Store cleaning products outside. Remove harmful asbestos and insulation products.
  • Ventilation Improvements: Open windows and doors. Run bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans. Operate window or attic fans when weather permits.
  • Air Cleaners and Filters: There are  many add-ons and modifications to your heating and air conditioning system that can be used to filter out contaminants and improve air quality. Routine filter change according to your system’s recommended maintenance schedule can keep your home pollution-free and keep your heating and cooling system in fine working for just a few dollars a year. On the higher end, there are some outstanding filtration systems that can remove up to 98% of all household contaminants.

The Right Systems and Equipment for Your Home

If you have an older model heating or air conditioning system, chances are that the quality of the air you and your family are breathing is not as good as it could be.  After about 10 years of operation, many heaters and air conditioners can turn into breeding grounds for germs, allergens and mold.  Air conditioners and heaters manufactured before 2000 produce far more pollutants than today’s cleaner, more efficient models. As well, today’s heating and air conditioning systems also include advanced temperature and humiditycontrols and filtration systems to maintain ideal conditions and remove airborne contaminants.

If you’re concerned about the quality of air in your home, contact Petrocelli Services.

Are all HVAC air filters the same?

Carrier has more than a hundred years of experience manufacturing some of the finest heating and air conditioning systems available.

If you have Carrier equipment maintaining your home comfort, you can trust Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to deliver factory-authorized professional service and repair.

We are a licensed, highly qualified, nationally certified heating and air conditioning contractor, with the skills and knowledge to keep your Carrier HVAC equipment running in top form. And with utility costs that help your bank account.

Contact Service Experts today at  512-836-1414 for a Tune-Up. That’s what we call our routine maintenance service to help assure reliable, energy-efficient operation of your Carrier furnace or AC system.

Or, if your Carrier heating and cooling equipment should ever need repair, give us a call anytime, we’re always available.

My air conditioner is not blowing cold air. What could be the problem?

There are a few possible reasons your AC is not blowing cold air.

  1.  Check the thermostat fan setting— Does your air conditioner run cold air sometimes but hot air other times? Make sure the fan setting is set to “auto” not “on”, which will cause your AC to blow air even if it’s not being cooled.
  2. Check your air filter— If the air coming out of the supply vents is weak and not very cool, check to see if the air filter is dirty and change it if necessary. A dirty air filter blocks airflow to the air handler.  Out of air filters? Here’s our guide on selecting the right home air filter.
  3. Check the the outside AC unit—Is the outside unit covered in dirt, dust or grass? Clean it.  Is it being smother by a tree branch or bush? Trim them back to give the outside unit breathing room. Is the outside fan not working? A professional needs to fix it. Otherwise the outside unit can’t cool down refrigerant to cool your home’s air.

If none of these helped, your AC may be low on refrigerant. However, this is caused by a refrigerant leak, which you’ll need a professional’s help to find and fix.  Contact us today if you are in need of an AC repair specialist.