All About Central Air Conditioners

History of the AC and Central AC

Central Air Conditioning system Central air conditioners have become a staple in homes across the US.

Most people won’t think for a second about their air conditioner until it’s broken.

We pass by, adjust the settings, and benefit from central air conditioner units every single day! However, we don’t often think of the central AC as a device that has completely changed today’s everyday life. Everything from the activities we choose to take part in to where we live all depend on some form of AC unit. Central air conditioners have become one of the most popular types of A/C systems.

Even home design has been impacted by the invention of the AC. If you look closely, it is easy to tell that older homes have been designed in order to accommodate air flow. The ceilings are higher (remember, warm air rises), and almost the entire architectural form was constructed to make scorching summers more bearable.

Central Air Conditioners Have Changed the World

States like Florida that were once formerly on the verge of uninhabitable due to the excruciating heat have seen a massive boost in residency since the modern air conditioner became a standard of the American residence. In the 21st century, people are more likely than ever to stay inside and participate in indoor activities, whereas previously, a passerby would be more likely to find a family huddled under a shade tree in the front yard or sitting on the porch.

What Central Air Conditioning Unit Should I Choose?

Installation Costs

Choosing the correct central air conditioning unit for your residence is a decision that not only will impact your own personal level of comfort, but it will also weigh heavily on your pocketbook as well. We’re talking a couple thousand dollar investment. If ducts have to be installed you are looking at almost double the price and labor time.

So, step one is to plan accordingly and make sure that you have the necessary funds to devote to having a unit properly installed by a trained professional. Experts agree that who you have install your unit is way more important than the brand of the AC that you actually decide to use. Choose Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning and you’re guaranteed the best service for the lowest price.

Choosing a Unit Size

Next, you much choose the size of the unit you need in order to adequately cool all areas of your home. There is a complex formula that requires careful calculation and often special software that is considered the standard measurement, and this is best left to a trained professional. Do not let your contractor make a decision based on square footage alone. However, you can get a ballpark estimate of what you may need by using this simple formula:

[(House Square footage x 25)/12,000] - .5 = tonnage of unit

A “ton” is the standardized unit of measurement for central air conditioning units. Contrary to common belief, a ton does not represent weight but rather the unit’s ability to cool. One ton equals 12,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Unit), and units can range from one to five tons. Any residence requiring more than 5 tons of cooling power will need a combination of multiple units.

Practical Factors

Top of central air conditioner An improperly installed air conditioning system must be installed intelligently.

Once you and your contractor agree on an appropriate unit size, there are some basic practical factors that must be taken under careful consideration. Most central air conditioning units are split unit systems. This means that one half of your unit will be located outside and is connected to the other half of your unit (located inside) by refrigerant lines. Your outdoor coil unit is likely to be somewhat noisy.

Keeping this in mind, if you are able to place your condenser unit on the roof or somewhere that the noise will not be a huge factor, then buying a cheaper but louder unit may not be an issue. However, if your only option is to place it directly outside a bedroom or other common area, it could be wise to have your contractor help you choose a quieter system.

Keep Clear of Condensers

On a side note, your condenser unit will exhaust large amounts of hot air. It is important that you do not enclose the system by placing it too close to a barrier, entrap it under a deck or other tight areas. As a general rule, try and keep 6 feet clear on all sides.

With high efficiency units now flooding the market, choosing a setup that is economical in relation to energy usage can be important as well. Make sure you do you research and see if there are any available government tax rebates for installing and using low energy central ac unit models. These savings can add up to be a consider amount of money annually.

Get a Warranty That's Right for You

Picking a unit with a warranty that matches your budget and needs should be your final step. Air conditioning units are extremely complex and face issues constantly. Refrigerant lines leak. Cooling fluid needs recycling/replacing by an EPA certified technician. Ducts clog. Things go wrong. Talk to your contractor about warranties and service plans. Central air units are one of the few products where extended insurance plans are worth it.

Maintenance Tips

There are some simple but effective procedures you can do periodically to ensure that your central air conditioner is operating to its fullest potential and that things are not likely to malfunction anytime soon:

  • CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTERS OFTEN!!!!!! Check them monthly
  • Spray your condenser unit down annually with a garden hose and wipe it down
  • Use a thin metal knife to straighten the fins out on your unit
  • Have a technician replace refrigerant when necessary
  • Clean the evaporator coil with a spray coil cleaner

While these steps can do wonders, and can be completed personally, it is still of the upmost importance to have a complete system tune up performed by an HVAC expert at least once a year. Right before the warm season in the spring, contact Hot Point to make sure that everything will be in perfect working order for the summer months.

If you would like to request more information on central air conditioners, are curious about upgrading your unit, or want to inquire about some of our other available services, please contact Waukesha AC experts at Hot Point today.