Air Conditioning

Upgrade Aging Air Conditioners

Upgrade Aging Air ConditionersWhen is it time to upgrade aging air conditioners? Ours is over 28 years old and is still working. Our furnace which is only 14 years old just quit. We are having the furnace replaced and wonder if we should upgrade aging air conditioner at the same time. Perhaps we will get a discount for doing both at the same time and a rebate from the government.

Upgrade Aging Air Conditioners and Furnace

There are several reasons why we decided to replace everything at this time, rather than take a chance on the old AC unit. The following is our list and you can attach importance levels to them based on your own situation:

  • If the coil on the old AC unit leaks over the new furnace, the warranty is not valid
  • Twenty eight years is a phenomenal life cycle, maybe I would get several more years at most
  • Existing AC is very inefficient compared to the new units
  • Get the job done once and they do not have to come back other than for annual maintenance
  • Replace both and obtain full government rebate
  • Energy costs continue to rise, so efficiency is important to control utility bills
  • The existing system is noisy, newer units are quieter
  • Resale value for our home will increase with new units still under warranty if we sell in next 10 years

Replace Aging Air Conditioners

Replace Aging Air ConditionersReplacing aging air conditioners that are no longer working is a bit of a non decision. However what if it is still working and your furnace quits on you? This is the situation the writer is faced with. We decided to replace the AC at the same time that we are replacing the furnace. We wanted to have a new energy efficient model that will help to control our ongoing utility bills as well as increase the resale value of our home. A real estate friend of ours told us that if the furnace or the AC unit is more than 10 years old, they should set aside money to replace it. If we sell in the next 10 years, the units will still be under warranty!

Replace Aging Air Conditioners – Damage

There is another reason to replace the AC when you replace the furnace. If the coil begins to leak it could damage the new furnace. The coil sits on top of the furnace. Leaking water or coolant would damage the furnace causing it to rust, possibly short circuit the electric motor and other components.

We decided  to replace both our furnace and replace our aging air conditioner at the same time. After all it was 28 years old and really does not owe us anything. Because it is so old it is inefficient and so we will gain from some of the savings we will get from the new system.

Everyone is in a different situation. We could have taken a chance and just repaired our furnace. This would have cost $800 with no guarantees that there would not be other problems. Apparently our furnace is known for cracks in the heat ex changer as well which we do not want to deal with.

So a big expense, but hopefully the right one in the long term.


What’s the best setting for your air conditioner?

What's the best setting for your air conditioner?Air conditioning can account for 60% to 70% of the total cost of electricity during the summer months. Consumers pay a lot of attention to electricity costs as well as comfort in their homes. For most people it is a balance between comfort and overall cost that dictates the setting for your air conditioner. Another factor is that women seem to like the AC temperature set lower, while many men find it too cold especially as they get older. Bottom line is that the best setting for your air conditioner is one where you are comfortable in your own home and you are not worried about the cost of the electricity being used. However there are ways to use your Air conditioning efficiently, live comfortably and minimize your total cost of electricity.

What’s the best setting for your Air Conditioner

The basic rules is if it is not running, then it is not costing you money. Let’s assume you set the AC at a particular temperature. Can you increase the temperature by one or two degrees? Can you close window blinds to reduce thermal warming from the sun? Can you set the thermostat higher during the day when you are not at home? Can you take advantage of lower electrical rates in the evenings vs. during the day if offered in your area? Did you locate your outdoor unit in a shady spot that is clear of plants and other obstructions? Have you cleaned all filters?

If you have answered yes to these questions, then you are probably doing everything you can to decrease the cost of air conditioning short of just turning it off completely. Your AC costs will not be lower if you maintain the same temperature all day long whether you are at home or not. Cold homes act as a heat sink and will attract heat from outside. Set your AC at a reasonable temperature during the day to avoid huge electricity bills during the summer months.


How to Adjust Air Conditioner Thermostat

How to Adjust Air Conditioner ThermostatNext to pools and hot tubs, running an air conditioner during the summer is by far the largest energy user in your home. That also means that it is also the highest cost device in terms of electricity used by your home over the summer months when it is hot and you need relief from the high temperatures and the humidity that usually goes along with it. There are lots of theories about how to adjust air conditioner thermostat in your home to reduce the overall cost. We investigated many web sites and found a great deal of information which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Even the department of energy weighs in on this topic and had some good ideas. We will summarize all of them in the following paragraphs.

How to Adjust Air Conditioner Thermostat

The basic rule is that if your AC is running it is costing you money. If it is not running you are saving money. There are various approaches you can take to decrease the amount of time it is running to reduce your cost and make them more efficient. Here is the list that we gleaned from a number of web sites.

  • Set the temperature on your thermostat higher to a level your family is comfortable with
  • Turn off the AC or set it higher when you are not at home.
  • Set the thermostat higher during the day, lower at night and when the family arrives home
  • Use the Thermostats timer to control the temperature at various times of the day
  • Use fans to move the air around in your home, they draw less energy
  • Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing air down towards you instead of up to maximize the cooling effect
  • Close blinds and curtains to decrease the amount of heating via windows.
  • Size your Air Conditioner for your home. Too small and too big are both bad ideas causing inefficiency in terms of energy use
  • Locate your AC outdoor unit in a shady spot away from the sun
  • Make sure there is lots of ventilation around your outdoor unit, avoid shrubs etc
  • Keep all filters and outdoor unit clean to increase efficiency
  • Keep all air ducts open and make sure your cold air return ducts are open and clean
  • Utilize shade trees to shade your home

AC Unit Size for My Home

AC Unit Size for My HomeMost AC sales people will ask you how many square feet your home is and whether it is two story or single story. Magically they will come up with the size of air conditioner that you need for your home to be the most efficient and provide adequate cooling at the same time. There is actually a little bit more to the decision that needs to be considered before you decide the AC unit size for my home. Most people would be surprised to find out that two identical sized homes could have different sized AC units. There are a number of reasons for this and we will cover these in the following paragraphs.

AC Unit Size for My Home – Orientation

If your home has windows on two sides of your home, lets say the front and back, the orientation of your home is really going to matter. A north south facing home will need a small AC unit than one that faces east west. That afternoon sun poring heat into your home through the windows will require a great deal more AC than one that is facing south and does not have the afternoon sun to deal with. The heat impact can be mitigated to some degree by having blinds that cover the windows and reduce the amount of infrared heating that takes place! Energy conscious consumers will want to invest in high quality blinds that help control the heat factor.

Sky lights are another major issue re how much AC is required and of course the direction the sky lights face. A south western roof with a sky light will allow a great deal more heat in the home and necessitate a larger AC unit. Again appropriate window shades for a sky light can be installed.

If you have a lot of shade trees on your property that provide shade for the home, your AC could be sized a little smaller as long as there is no plan to cut these tress down. Take these factors into account to not only save yourself some money but also to ensure you are comfortable as well during prime air conditioning periods.


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