If you’ve gone through the process of buying or selling a home recently, or if you watch HGTV, you’re familiar with priorities of home purchasers. These days, the most important features homebuyers want to see include completely updated, spacious luxury kitchens, open concept floorplans, fully functional family or great rooms, newly remodeled bathrooms and roomy master suites. It is rare that a prospective buyer walks into an open house and says to the realtor, “I’d like to check out the air conditioner and ducts, paperwork, invoices and service records for the HVAC system.”
In fact, for many homeowners, air conditioning is often an afterthought. This is unfortunate, because once you move into a new home, the temperature and indoor air quality are crucial to creating the environment you live in and the “feel” of your home – especially in Arizona. So, if you love everything about your home except for your air conditioner (and those soaring energy bills), it may be time to consider a new HVAC system. To help with the decision-making process, consider these questions:
- How old is your current HVAC system?
- How expensive is your monthly electrical bill?
- How efficient is your air conditioner?
- How often does your system require service?
- How long has it been since your HVAC system has been inspected and evaluated?
Most HVAC systems are built to last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, the extreme heat and dusty, desert climate in Phoenix pushes air conditioners to the limit. Less than 10 years of operation is common in Arizona. It is important to establish the age of your air conditioner, so you can make an informed decision as to how many more years of service you can expect out of your current unit. Obviously, it is better to retire an old AC unit a year early instead of year too late as the repair expenses can add up on older units.
Energy Expense and SEER Ratings
They say heat rises. In Arizona, so do energy bills. Has your utility bill been increasing? Air conditioning accounts for approximately half of your monthly electrical usage. A more efficient AC unit can significantly lower your utility charges, especially during the summer season. SEER ratings were established by the U.S. Department of Energy to give consumers a basis for comparison between HVAC systems. SEER is the acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which expresses the effectiveness (efficiency) of a given air conditioner in producing cooling. If an air conditioner produces more cooling using less electricity that means higher efficiency. The greater an air conditioner’s efficiency, the higher the SEER rating. Did you know it’s possible to reduce the amount of AC energy use by 20 to 40 percent with a new, higher-SEER rated, energy efficient air conditioner? Your old unit may have a very low SEER rating which translates into wasted energy.
Cost of Repairs
As your air conditioner gets older, the service calls and repairs usually increase. In the unrelenting Arizona heat, AC units run full tilt for months at a time. And as the years go by, parts wear down. Based on the age of your air conditioning unit and the service history, an experienced HVAC technician can often give you a pretty good idea of how much longer a given compressor, motor, fan or other part might last. The trick is to avoid costly major repairs in the last year or two of service.
HVAC System Evaluation
The purchase of a new HVAC system presents a complex set of questions for any homeowner. The most important first step is to call and schedule an inspection of your current system, so you’ll know where you stand. The professionals at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating are ready to provide you with a complete evaluation and set of recommendations for the comfort of you and your family.