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Blog 06/7/19

Best Air Conditioning Units

Replacing your home air conditioning is a big investment, but it does not have to be a frustrating one. Understanding what the best air conditioning units are will help during the estimation process. Hint: It is not the brand!

While manufacturers and brands have designed a multitude of A/C choices for homeowners, most brands are very similar. It is best to choose a reputable HVAC contractor and understand all of the components that make central or ductless air conditioning efficient.  

Central AC 

Central air conditioning uses ductwork throughout the home to circulate conditioned air. If the home is already outfitted with ducting that is intact, it is easiest to stick with a traditional A/C unit or heat pump system for cooling the home.

Central air conditioning has four major components: an air handling unit (that is part of the furnace), a condenser, evaporator coil and ducting. Proper sizing of the central air conditioner unit, measured in tons, is crucial to an efficiently working system.

A/C Sizing

Air conditioners that are too small for the home will be unable to handle excessively hot days and will not cool the home. If they are too large, they will cycle on and off frequently and not efficiently remove humidity from the cool air — the primary method of creating home comfort.

Proper air conditioning sizing is factored by the size of the home, set up of the home, takes into account insulation or lack of, the region where the home is located, airflow and more. This is why it is imperative to hire a licensed specialist to evaluate the home and provide an estimate. The most important day in the life of the system is the day it is installed.

At Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning, our home comfort advisors are skilled at providing a uniquely engineered estimate for your home’s cooling. A proper evaluation will take approximately one hour and the home advisor should be checking off all factors when designing your perfect system.

SEER Rating

SEER is a minimum efficiency rating established by the U.S. Department of Energy. Every A/C unit is given a rating and they are very important factors to consider when choosing the right air conditioner for your home.

Federal standards for SEER Ratings vary, but in California, all systems must be at least 14 SEER.

What is SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the unit and less money it will take to operate. For example, a 16 SEER system will use approximately 13 percent less energy as a 14 SEER system of the same size. This would equate to a $13 dollar savings for every $100 spent.

Energy-Saving Features

To achieve particularly high SEER ratings, air conditioners may have any number of energy-saving features, including:

– Efficient heat transfer through larger coils

– A variable-speed blower

– A fan-only switch

– An automatic delay fan switch

– An air filter indicator light

Central A/C Warranties

Read through all potential warranties before making the final decision on your purchase. Most manufacturers have standard component warranties, but only cover certain system failures or scenarios. Additionally, many warranties will be void if proper maintenance and annual tune-ups are not documented, or if an unlicensed contractor performs any work.

At Bill Howe Heating & Air, we install quality York and Daikin central and mini split systems because of their great warranties and quality products. With more than 12 years on most components and extended options, we are proud to offer some of the best in the industry. We also have our own HVAC guarantee, since installation is just as important as type of system.

Ductless Air Conditioning

If you are looking for the highest efficiency units and zone control, ductless systems might be the way to go.

What is a Ductless A/C?

A ductless split, or mini split system is much like it sounds. It is a split system, meaning it has indoor air handlers and an outdoor condenser. It is also entirely independent of ducting and an ideal option for many homes in San Diego that were not built with adequate space for ductwork.  

Ductless mini splits have many advantages including size and flexibility for heating or cooling different zones in the home, and the ease of installation (though installation still requires a professional HVAC specialist). Because of ductless mini split zone control, they are also an efficient option for cooling spaces.

They are able to operate independently of one another, therefore providing an exact and varied temperature of cold air for multiple rooms at the same time. Through zone control and programmable thermostats, homeowners can save on energy use by cooling only the space the need and turn the system off in unused rooms.

Without ductwork, they also do not allow cold air to escape through bent, faulty, or leaky ducting.

While ductless systems are not necessarily cheaper than traditional central air systems, they do provide incredible savings on energy usage. Most ductless systems are rated at 95 percent efficient, which means for every dollar spent, only 5 cents is lost.

Ductless mini splits are ideal for large multi-room homes, smaller room additions or garage spaces, and older craftsman homes with limited space for ducting.

Choosing the Right A/C Contractor

One of the most important aspects of any air conditioning installation is the team that provides the installation. Look for positive testimonials, active and unblemished licenses, and companies who will spend the time to find the perfect solution for your home. At Bill Howe, our credentials speak for themselves!

– Thousands of 5-star reviews

– Licensed, insured, and certified by the industry

– Use of high-quality products

– Provide multiple options to suit your needs and budget

– Large fleet to help you fast

– Dedicated Home Comfort Advisors trained to tailor your A/C system

– More than 35 years in business

– Family owned and family operated

Maintenance of Air Conditioning Units

Most air conditioners, when properly maintained, will last between 15 and 20 years. However, as they age, they do lose efficiency. It is important for homeowners to know the signs of a failing unit in order to plan for replacement systems.

Some common signs it is time to replace the air conditioner include:

– Unit is still using R-22 refrigerant. R-22 will no longer be available in 2020, so any system still using it will not be able to be repaired if there is a refrigerant leak.

– Age. If the A/C system is beyond 15 years, and in need of minor or major repairs, it may be time to begin thinking of upgrading to a higher efficiency system.

– Out of warranty. If the system or any comment is out of warranty, it may be time to consider replacement.

– Irregular maintenance. If the system has not been properly maintained throughout its life, it could begin falling before its lifespan.

– Refrigerant leaks. Healthy systems should not require constant refrigerant refills. If the system experiences leaks, it may require replacement.

When it is time to upgrade your system, or if you are in need of a diagnostic to determine if it can be repaired, trust the team at Bill Howe. We are fully licensed, insured, and have been providing San Diego with expert air conditioning service since 2007.

We offer free in home evaluations, multiple options to suit your needs and budget, and competitive pricing. We have a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee and know you will be happy with your new summer ready A/C.

Call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469), visit Live Chat, or book an estimate online today!

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