Have you ever wondered what goes into a heating or air conditioning system for a large office building or another large building like a mall or a school? My name is Evelyn, and I am an HVAC architect. I design heating and air conditioning systems for large, corporate buildings. Making sure that a large building with many rooms or offices is efficiently heated and cooled is a very large job and is much more complicated than simply heating or cooling a home. This blog will educate the reader on how heating and cooling jobs this large are designed and completed.
A broken air conditioner might seem like bad news, especially when the summer heat is at its peak, but it can also serve as an opportunity to ensure you have the best cooling system for your home. Finding the best system is often a matter of balancing cost, performance and environmental factors. Check out these tips to help you make the best decisions the next time your central air conditioner fails to function as intended.
Repair, Don't Replace
Your first option when your air conditioner is on the blink should always be to figure out whether your system can be repaired. Since central cooling equipment typically lasts for 15 to 20 years, many common malfunctions often require basic repairs or maintenance, not complete system replacement. Of course, repairing your system in lieu of replacing it is not just the more economical option, but also the more eco-friendly choice; think of it like sewing a hole that's appeared in a pair of pants instead of splurging on new clothes. You're not only saving money on equipment and installation, but reducing waste and cutting demand for virgin resources.
Get in the Zone
If your air conditioner has truly reached the end of its life, or a HVAC contractor suggests skipping the repair and going for a full replacement, use this opportunity to see if you have the right type of system for your needs. Remember, central air conditioners cool the entire house, including unoccupied rooms. This might make sense for a large family, or those that live in very hot areas, but it might not make sense for someone living alone, who only uses one or two rooms. In this case, zonal cooling via window units, portable units or even a mini-split system might be a much more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to stay cool. Instead of just replacing your system with an identical unit, take this time to truly evaluate your cooling needs and find a cost-effective way to meet these needs.
Explore New Technology
If you have an older cooling system, simply replacing it with a modern unit will cut energy use by 30 to 50 percent thanks to technology improvements. Even replacing a ten year old unit will cut cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent. If you want to enjoy even greater energy, cost and environmental benefits, consider swapping a traditional central air system for a heat pump. Heat pumps cool and heat the home using less energy than central air, making them cheaper and greener to run. Save even more by investing in a gas-fired or absorption heat pump, which uses natural gas rather than electricity to power the pump, often at a substantial savings.
Take Advantage of Free Money
Suppose you've evaluated your cooling needs, compared technologies and determined that air conditioner repair is simply not an option for you at this stage. When you're ready to invest in a new system, cut costs and save money by taking advantage of programs aimed at encouraging energy-efficient purchases. Using online databases, you can serve for incentives offered by state, local and federal government agencies, as well as utility providers and distributors. These incentives come in the form of tax credits and deductions, bill credits and even straight-up cash, and can greatly offset the purchase of a new heat pump or air conditioner for some buyers. Even better, because these programs are designed to improve efficiency, you'll save more money over time due to lower operating costs associated with running your new, more efficient system.