Replace or Fix It Right?

With the Valley weather starting to heat, be on the look out for heating and cooling companies that use deceptive business practices.  Yesterday we installed a new air conditioning system for a client. When we proposed the price, he was taken aback by sticker shock. New systems are expensive.  He was unsure of how to proceed, however, because he had great tenants he decided to go ahead with the investment.  After the installation, the tenants raved about the airflow improvements as well as distribution into rooms that previously didn’t have proper airflow with the old system.  A new AC system will provide a payback of about 3-4 years.

Here’s the thing people, anyone can install a box for less.  This is throwing good money after bad.  In the long run you will get more cooling for less with a properly installed system. Sometimes a proper installation will include new registers to properly balance the airflow and “throw” the airflow into the rooms properly. Most people think of it as a box, fix it, replace it, and we’re good to go. However, your air conditioning system is actually comprised of 3 systems: the cooling unit, the duct work, and the registers. Therefore, when you look at your thermostat, don’t think of your cooling system as one item, but rather as 3 in 1.

Let’s examine each part separately. The cooling unit removes the heat load from the house. It must be properly sized or it will not achieve the desired results. The duct system distributes that air proportionally through out the house.  Finally, the registers ensure you have proper “throw” into the rooms and should allow a balance. By balance I mean the ability to restrict and push air elsewhere within the duct system.

The easiest way to determine if you have proper airflow, or proper registers, is to move about 10-12 feet from the register (assuming sidewall registers not ceiling vents). Hold a lighter or candle up with the air conditioner on. If you can not feel or see the flame flicker gently then there is insufficient throw of air into that room. The purpose of a register is to throw the air to the outside walls and the return system pulls is back (in simple terms).

There are various technical assessments that are made during a system replacement, so don’t be fooled by looking at brand or price….make sure you get a complete assessment/evaluation to ensure the best system installation possible.

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