Best Hvac Contractors Near Me - Looking to install central AC in your home? Read this guide to learn more about installing central air, from installation costs to choosing the best unit.
Whether the summers are blazing hot or we've lost our heat tolerance as we age, many of us are tempted to ditch the noisy, blasting window air conditioners and replace them with quiet, efficient central air conditioners for the whole home. the House. .
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But we didn't take the idea any further. Those of you with ducted furnaces worry that replacing your heating system is costly and inefficient. And if you don't have pipes, you can't imagine adding them without tearing the house down and spending a fortune. But adding central air is easier and less expensive than you think.
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Adding to an existing forced-air heating system, central air for a 2,000-square-foot home costs $3,500 to $4,000 and can be done by two technicians in two to three days, often with little or no modification. to the conduit
For a house that needs plumbing, the cost and labor time have doubled. But an experienced remodeling contractor can hide ductwork behind walls, behind cabinets, and in the attic with minimal wall and ceiling cuts and very little mess.
The first order of business, and perhaps the most important decision when installing central air conditioning in your home, is choosing the right equipment.
All cooling contractors should begin evaluating their home by performing the J-load calculation in the HVAC Contractors of America Handbook. This determines how much heat gain your home is subject to. The calculation is relatively easy to do and will tell you the size unit you need. Switch to another contractor if the one you're considering wants to determine the right unit for your home based solely on experience. Although heavily influenced by where you live, several factors influence the size unit needed, including the amount of wall and attic insulation; types and placement of windows and doors; and the orientation of your house towards the sun. The calculation can also alert you to the potential benefits of improving your home's insulation. By making your home more energy efficient, you can reduce the amount of air conditioning you need.
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Follow these steps to determine what size central air unit you need for the size of your home.
Using a heat gain calculation, your contractor will recommend the size of the air conditioner, expressed in tonnage or Btu per hour (Btu/hr). One ton equals 12,000 Btu per hour. Why is it so important to get the right size drive?
A unit that is too small will not be able to fully cool rooms on the hottest days and will cost more to run because it will have to run longer than the right size unit. Oversized compressors also cost more to run because you simply need more electricity to run a larger unit. And an oversized unit doesn't effectively reduce humidity. This is because it cools the air so quickly that it shuts down before it has a chance to circulate the proper volume of air through the coils to remove the necessary moisture. The result is a room that doesn't feel as cool as the temperature indicates. In fact, the room can feel drafty and damp.
Once you decide on the size of the unit, your contractor should talk to you about efficiency, which is expressed in the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). SEER calculates how many Btu an air conditioner will put out for every watt of electricity it uses. The higher the SEER, the less it costs to operate.
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Federal law requires new air conditioners to have a SEER of at least 13. These units have lower operating costs, tend to be of better quality, have more safety features, better sound shields, and lower voltage requirements. In general, the higher the SEER, the higher the initial cost of the unit.
Next, you need to decide what type of system to buy. There are two types. A "package system" groups the condenser, which cools the coolant and expels the hot air, with the fan and the fan, which cools and blows the air. Piping connects directly to the unit. This is essentially a large ducted wall air conditioner. But package systems are rare.
With a "split system" the condenser is outside the house, and the fan and coil system is inside. they are connected to each other by coolant pipes. If you have a forced air furnace, the coolant pipes are connected to the cooling coil system, which is located on the furnace fan.
Sometimes it goes directly to the existing plenum. If this does not work due to space limitations, the contractor will create a separate sheet metal plenum. If you don't have forced air, a fan and coil system is usually installed in the attic where it will provide fresh air through the ducts. The 20- to 30-foot pipes that carry the coolant are masked to look like sewers.
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Even the quietest condensers make noise, so work with your contractor to find a location that isn't near a bedroom or home office window. Do not place the condenser under the deck or completely cover it, as it draws hot air out the top. Any restriction of airflow will reduce the efficiency of the unit. However, you can hide the condenser in vegetation as long as air can circulate freely around it.
Most central air conditioners are split systems. the condenser is outside and the fan and ventilation system is inside, connected to the condenser by pipes that rise from the outside of the house. Pipes can be hidden as part of the drainage system. Second floor room service via ceiling registers. Pipes run through closets to downstairs bedrooms.
You should check your pipes. Modifications are often required to accommodate the increased volume of air produced by the air conditioner. Ironically, older duct systems, which tend to be larger, work better in central air conditioning retrofits. (As the heating industry learned more about airflow dynamics and the sizing of furnaces and delivery systems, the ducts got smaller.)
Since the fan and coil unit is located in the attic in retrofit air conditioning systems, the problem is that the supply and return pipes from the ceiling register in the lower first and second floor rooms.
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Supply pipes for second floor rooms usually pass through the attic floor and descend between the joists of the attic floor, where they are connected to the ceiling joists. Feed pipes from first floor rooms are routed through second floor closets whenever possible.
The first step your contractor will take in determining the location of the pipes is to draw a second floor plan and place it on top of the first floor. "In 99 percent of homes," says Frank Scarangelo of Scaran Heating and Air Conditioning in Staten Island, New York, "second-floor closets will give you access to first-floor ceiling storage."
The pipes that run in the cabinets take up less space than you think. Since most ducts are 12x6 inches or 10x8 inches, even in a relatively small 2x4-foot cabinet, they take up only 4 of the available 64 cubic feet. Some refrigeration contractors may recommend using "flex tubing" (small, inexpensive flexible hoses) instead of rigid square tubing. But avoid piping in active areas of the cabinet. does not hold up well to wear and punctures easily.
What kind of mess can you expect if you have to install pipes? In most cases, the wall and ceiling surfaces remain largely intact. Holes will need to be cut in the ceilings of the first and second floors for the registers, and some of the closet floors on the second floor will be operated to accommodate the new pipes. But these holes are relatively small and the mess is easily contained.
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Even if your home is ductless, if air conditioning will make your home more pleasant during the summer months, contact an air conditioning contractor to review the cost of adding air conditioning and the methods they will use. Choosing the right professional and equipment will give you years of comfort, and it's often less expensive and less complicated than you might imagine.
Looking for help repairing your home? A home warranty can help. Check out these detailed guides from the This Old House review team:
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