Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long should an air conditioner last?
The standard life expectancy of an air conditioner is somewhere between 15-20 years depending on the quality of the unit. Better units with good coil protection and sealed compartments for compressor and controls seem to do the best.
2. Do I need to change the coil and lineset when replacing my air conditioner?
Starting at the beginning of 2010, manufacturers could no longer produce HVAC units with R-22 refrigerant. The next generation refrigerant that manufacturers are using is R-410a. This new refrigerant requires different components and uses a new type of oil that doesn’t blend with the old oil used in R-22 systems. For this reason, it is necessary to have a new R-410a rated coil, and best to have new connecting linesets.
3. Will I still be able to get R-22 for my old air conditioner?
The EPA had a scheduled “phase-out” program for R-22 which planned for an end of production in the year 2030. In early 2012, however, they proposed an accelerated phase-out schedule which caused an immediate increase in the cost, and a reduction in the availability of R-22. We still have stock of R-22 available, however, the higher cost and limited availability is causing many homeowners to consider new air conditioning units with R-410a refrigerant over costly R-22 repairs.
4. Is there a replacement refrigerant for R-22?
At this time there is no “drop-in” replacement for R-22. The new refrigerant that most manufacturers are using is R-410a, but it is not compatible with old R-22 systems. There are several alternative refrigerants being introduced that will work with older R-22 systems, but they are still somewhat expensive and require a complete system evacuation and recharge.
5. What is the difference between an Air Conditioner and a Heat Pump?
There’s really very little difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump. From the outside they look the same. The main difference is that a heat pump has a device called a reversing valve. An air conditioner takes warm air out of your house and discharges it outside. A heat pump is simply an air conditioner that has the ability to reverse and take the heat from the outside air and discharge it into your home.
6. Do I need to change my furnace when replacing my air conditioner?
In most cases, it is not necessary to replace your furnace when you change your air conditioner. However, some new multi-stage air conditioning units require varying speeds from the indoor blower for proper operation. In this case, it may be necessary to have a new furnace. It also may be best from a financial standpoint to change both since it takes less time to install both components together rather than one at a time.
7. Which manufacturer makes the best air conditioner?
The two brands that we represent are York and Trane. We feel that these manufacturers have a high commitment to quality. But that’s not to say that there are not other good brands out there. We believe the most important part of choosing a new air conditioner is choosing a quality company to put it in. An air conditioner that is installed properly and with care will last much longer, and give much better performance.
8. Should I buy a larger air conditioner to cool my house faster?
Buying a larger air conditioner is not always the best idea. The best option is to have an experienced consultant measure your home and take load calculation information to determine the ideal unit size for your application. A unit that is too big for its application will often experience high humidity issues, freeze-ups, compressor flooding, and often pre-mature failure.
9. Is a more expensive unit more reliable?
Not necessarily. But this is a very common (and understandable) misconception. What generally makes most products today more expensive is technology and added features. This is also true of air conditioners. The higher-cost units incorporate more technology and have more features than less expensive models. While this provides higher levels of efficiency, convenience and functionality, it can also necessitate more maintenance and up-keep.
10. What does SEER mean?
Every new air conditioning unit must be tested by an independent laboratory to determine its efficiency rating (SEER). SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy an air conditioner will require to produce its rated cooling output (see below). The current, government-mandated, minimum SEER rating is 13 SEER.