The air conditioner in your Garland, TX home plays a critical role in keeping everyone in your household both comfortable and safe. Not only does your AC regulate indoor temperatures, but it also extracts excess humidity and minimizes the likelihood of mildew and mold. Residential air conditioners additionally offer a fair amount of air filtration. They extract harmful allergens and contaminants during operation so that they aren’t being breathed in. All things considered, it’s important to pay attention to the fine details when replacing your cooling system. The following are five common mistakes to avoid during these projects.
1. Purchasing the Wrong Air Conditioner Size
The term “AC sizing” applies more to the cooling power of air conditioners than it does to their actual dimensions. Although the physical size and cooling power are fairly comparable in AC units, choosing the right air conditioner for your home is a highly complex process that involves multiple measurements and considerations.
Buying the largest air conditioner you can find isn’t guaranteed to work well. Oversize air conditioners run short, powerful cooling cycles and then quickly turn themselves off. They never run long enough to regulate indoor humidity, and they never get the chance to filter the indoor air effectively. More importantly, this manner of functioning doesn’t make building interiors feel cool.
Air conditioners that are too small for their service areas are just as problematic. These cooling systems run non-stop or nearly non-stop, and to no effect. They underperform in cooling, humidity regulation, and air filtration. They also have far shorter than expected lifespans.
The first step in sizing your air conditioner correctly is not choosing your next AC by yourself. We use the Manual J Load Calculation for air conditioner sizing. This is a comprehensive and many-pronged review of household and building-specific factors. It considers:
- How many people live in the building
- How much insulation is present
- The number of windows
- Ceiling heights
- The layout of a home
The Manual J calculation even considers the R values of insulating materials, the ratings of windows, and the number of heat-generating appliances present. Using this calculation is far more effective than simply measuring the square footage of your home and looking for the appropriate number of British Thermal Units (BTUs).
2. Installing Your New Air Conditioner by Yourself
Installing an AC by yourself can be a costly mistake that’s second only to choosing a unit without the help of an HVAC company. Homeowners can buy low-priced or discounted cooling units at big box stores. Once they have their new equipment, many consumers think that AC replacement is as simple as pulling an old unit out and pushing the new one in. Although this works in theory, it winds up costing people far more than they intended to pay in the long run.
To start, brand-new air conditioners come with warranties. These agreements protect consumers from the costs of equipment repairs due to faulty manufacturing or defective parts. If you install your own air conditioner, you’ll void this agreement instantly. AC manufacturers know that improper installation is among the top causes of early equipment failure.
Although a single AC model can work well in many different building sizes and environments, each air conditioner must be fine-tuned during installation to perfectly accommodate the individual household and home. Fan speed settings, duct connections, and thermostat placement are just a few of the many factors that are refined to customize each installation. Without the needs-specific support that only a licensed HVAC company can provide, even the most efficient air conditioner at your targeted price point will always underperform.
3. Incorrect Thermostat Positioning
Thermostat placement deserves its own spot on the list of top mistakes to avoid. Your thermostat is basically the brain of your HVAC system. None of your heating or cooling equipment will turn on or off when it’s supposed to if this device is damaged, in the wrong location, or incorrectly installed.
You don’t want to put your thermostat too near heat-generating appliances that will impact its readings. For instance, you should never install a thermostat near an oven or near a big, picture window that gets lots of afternoon sunlight. You also want to avoid putting these components too close to large lamps and powerful computer servers.
If you have a gaming computer in your living room that always runs hot, you want your thermostat to be sufficiently far away. Otherwise, it will detect heat from this device and trigger your AC into action even during times when the rest of your home is already comfortably cool.
4. Not Replacing or Modifying Your HVAC Ductwork
Residential air conditioners are expected to last about 15 to 20 years. However, after their 10th year of service, most models have lost about half of their efficiency. This comes in addition to efficiency losses caused by aging ductwork, build-ups of debris in ducting and on vents, and other factors. After 10 years of service, most air conditioners will also need at least one major repair. Moreover, the need for repairs will likely increase in frequency as time goes on.
Compare this to the lifespan and health of your ductwork. The HVAC air ducts in your home are expected to last just 10 to 15 years. After this time, most have minor, structural damages that allow conditioned air to seep out. When duct leaks are significant, a good portion of the conditioned air that heaters and air conditioners produce winds up being deposited behind drywall. If this happens in your home, your new air conditioner might run all of the time, but your indoor temperature will only vary slightly.
Failing to replace aging ductwork when performing AC replacement is a major mistake. If you recently installed new ducting when upgrading your furnace, you should still have it slightly refined to accommodate your new cooling equipment. If you have yet to replace your aging furnace and have an adequate budget, you may want to consider replacing all three at once. A new AC, a new furnace, and brand-new ducting will give you the greatest possible range of benefits.
5. Failing to Protect Your AC Condenser
When homeowners install their own air conditioners, there are several mistakes that they frequently make outdoors. After putting the indoor air handler/evaporator unit in its storage space, the outside condenser/compressor unit must be installed. You may be tempted to target the same location and the same concrete pad that your last AC condenser was on, but this could be a bad idea. Much like the current location of your thermostat, the current location for your condenser could be less than ideal.
We make sure that AC condensers aren’t being exposed to direct sunlight for long stretches of time. This keeps these units from overheating. We also make sure that they have adequate clearance on all sides for good ventilation. We choose locations where condensers won’t be encroached upon by aggressive trees, weeds, or other foliage, and we leverage strategies during installation to minimize the risk of pest infestations. Putting your condenser in direct sunlight, too close to a fence or the building, and right near a bush that attracts small rodents and lots of insects are all bad ideas. To avoid long-term problems caused by simple oversights, let a professional handle the job instead.
We proudly serve residents of Garland, TX, and the surrounding area. We offer cooling, plumbing, heating, and indoor air quality (IAQ) services. If you need a new air conditioner, we can help. Call On Time Experts to schedule an appointment.