Air Conditioning FAQ
What makes up my A.C. system?
The main components include the temperature controller (thermostat), the evaporator coil (“A” coil), the air handler and the condenser. The “A” coil set above the furnace (or under in downflow furnaces). The “A” coil is connected to the condenser, typically sitting outside on a pad, by two copper pipes. The air handler in the furnace forces the cool air through the duct system to the cool the home.
How does my A.C. system work?
When the temperature rises above the set point (i.e. 74⁰ F), the thermostat “calls” for cooling. The condenser cools down and pumps refrigerant through a copper pipe to the “A” coil above (or below) the furnace. Warm air is then drawn from the home through the duct system by the furnace fan (air handler) and forced through the “A” coil. As the air passes through the refrigerated (cooled) “A” coil, the heat is extracted and the moisture (humidity) is condensed. The cool, dehumidified air continues to circulate through the duct system into the home until the thermostat is “satisfied” by reaching the set point (74⁰F). The heat extracted by the “A” coil is absorbed by the refrigerant moving through the coil, transported through a second copper pipe to the condenser and expelled into the outside air. The water from the condensation process drips off the coil into a drain pan, and typically runs through a pipe to a floor drain.
Frequently Asked Air Conditioning Service Questions
How do I select the right A.C.?
Today’s A.C.s offer a wide range of features including 2 stage condenser fans, variable speed compressors, various efficiency levels (13 SEER – 20+ SEER), and micro-processors. The benefit is more precise control over the cooling cycle/dehumidification process, and better comfort at a lower cost. Some personal research at the library, in consumer reports, or online will help you be more familiar with feature and benefit options available. One such options is Trane. Heating and A.C. contractors are another good source of information. As with many major purchases, you need to trust and feel comfortable with your installing contractor.
How do I select the right Heating and A.C. contractor?
Your installing contractor is as important as your choice of A.C. equipment. The contractors you consider should have factory-trained installers, a service department offering emergency service, and have been in business for at least 5 years (preferably 10+ years). Check with the Better Business Bureau for an A to A+ Rating and with Google (or other sites) for online reviews. Ask for the contractor HVAC license number to be sure that a permit is pulled and the installation will be approved to meet all codes by a city/county HVAC inspector. You will likely rely on your A.C. contractor for advice, service, and warranty coverage long after your installation is completed.
How much will my A.C. installation cost?
Cost can vary markedly as a function of the A.C. selected and the labor intensity of the installation. A basic 13-14 SEER A.C. may be in the $2,000 range. More energy efficient (15-20 SEER) air conditioners with extra comfort and other benefits will be two to three times the cost of a basic A.C. Some installations are more labor and/or material intensive which also impacts the A.C. installation cost. A quality installation that complies with city codes and the manufacture installation manual entails a significant effort by factory-trained technicians. Accordingly, such a major purchase as acquiring a new A.C. should not be strictly price-driven.
TIP: Consult Midwest Heating and Cooling (614-252-5241) for more A.C. cost/benefit information and convenient financing options.
How is the energy efficiency of an A.C. measured?
A.C. capacity is expressed in “British Thermal Units” (BTUs) and/or “tons” (12,000 BTUs per ton). Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a value indicating the amount of cooling (BTUs per hour). The A.C. unit can generate per unit (kilowatt or KW) of electricity used. The higher the SEER value, the more energy efficient the A.C. For example, a basic 13 SEER unit will require markedly more power to operate than an 18 or 20 SEER unit. The annual power savings can be compared to the extra cost of a higher SEER A.C. to determine the payback period. For more information, see the A.C. Energy Efficiency Calculator below or call Midwest (614-252-5241).
TIP: Use our energy savings calculator to determine savings and the payback period for a higher SEER, more efficient A.C. system.
What should I know about the new R-410A Refrigerant?
R-22 was the refrigerant used in home A.C.s for many years. Often called “Freon” (a brand name), R-22 will be totally banned by the government in 2020, as an “Earth Unfriendly” substance. In the interim, production of R-22 will be reduced each year until 2020. The price of R-22 has more than doubled and will continue to go up, making certain repairs for R-22 A.C.s increasingly more costly. R-410A, the new more "Earth-Friendly" refrigerant, is used in today’s A.C.s and will likely be the standard for many years.
TIP: If you have an older A.C. or heat pump that is leaking R-22 refrigerant resulting in costly repairs, it may be time to replace it with a new R-410A system.
Are A.C. system rebates, tax credits, or discounts available?
Offers that reduce your new A.C. system price are available, time sensitive and change periodically. The Utility Companies (AEP and Columbia Gas) and the equipment manufactures offer mail in rebates and instant discounts that can also significantly reduce the cost of a new heating and A.C. system.
TIP: Check with Government and Utility websites or call Midwest (614-252-5241) for more details.
How long will it take to replace my A.C.?
Most A.C. replacements can be completed in one work day. A more involved installation may take longer to perform. However, during extreme temperature periods, Midwest Heating Installers remain the first day until the cooling has been restored, and then return the second day to complete the job, if necessary.
Should I replace the furnace and A.C. or heat pump at the same time?
If both the furnace and air conditioner (or heat pump) are over 13 years old or if the unit(s) in question has a history of repairs, replacing the entire heating and cooling system would be advisable. Replacing both systems simultaneously is more efficient for the contractor, and therefore less costly than replacing one system now and the other system later. Since the new, more efficient A.C. and heat pump indoor coils are taller, the new furnaces are shorter to provide for fewer installation problems and lower labor costs. All A.C.s and heat pumps now contain the new “Earth-Friendly” refrigerant (R-410A). If your existing unit contains the old refrigerant (R-22) that is being phased out, you will find refrigerant leak repairs for your existing A.C. or heat pump system to be increasingly more expensive. Finally, the new higher efficiency furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps only work optimally when the heating and cooling systems come as a matched set. Microprocessors in the heating unit, the cooling unit and the thermostat “communicate” with each other to provide more comfort and to save on your utility bills.
TIP: If you are concerned about the reliability of your AC system and/or heating system call Midwest (614) 252-5241 and request a free no obligation estimate for a new high efficiency system.
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