Different types of cooling systems are used throughout most of the country. A variety of cooling technologies are available such as evaporative cooling, radiant floor cooling, dehumidifiers, air conditioning units and heat pumps. The question is though do we need to upgrade our current systems or not? There has been many modern home improvements done such as proper air sealing and insulation, or the results can be obtained by natural means without the use of air conditioners just by the use of fans, passive cooling strategies and ventilation.
Where You Live:
Depending on the climate where you live is something we should take into consideration before an upgrade is to be conducted. You may live in a geographical location that may just require the use of the following:
b. Low Solar Heat Gain Windows
c. Radiant Barriers
These things can be implemented along with ceiling fans, ventilation, and dehumidification completeing the task of eliminating completely or at least limiting the need for an air conditioning system.
Chosing The Right Air Conditioning System:
There are various air conditioning systems available on the market which also can determine if it meets your needs of comfort in the area to which you live such as:
a. Central Ducted Air Conditioners- Central Air Conditioning distributes cooled air throughout the house. They are installed with a Central Furnace and both of them use the same ducts. If you plan on cooling the majority of your home than a Central Ducted Air Conditioning System can save on energy thus saving you money.
b. Room Air Conditioners- Room Air Conditioners can come in two types a Window Type or Through-The-Wall Type inorder to cool single rooms or a small zone within a home. Their efficiency is alot lower than a Central Air Conditioning System and their purchase price and installation cost are alot less also. If you plan on only cooling a portion of a home utilizing a Room Air Conditioning Unit, this will provide you with some energy savings.
c. Heat Pumps (both ducted and ductless)– Heat pumps use the same refrigeration cycle technology as a refrigerator or an air conditioner pooling heat from one environment and dumping it in another. Heat Pumps are equipped with a reverseing valve so you are able to not only heat your home but also cool the home. High-performance Ductless Heat Pumps known as Mini-Split Systems are a great way to heat and cool a home due to you have full control of what areas of the home you want to heat or cool.
d. Evaporative Coolers- Mostly used in Dry Climates, Evaporative Coolers can be a very effective and
cost savings alternative to whole house air conditioning systems. There are three types to choose from (1) Direct Evaporator Coolers (2) Indirect Evaporator Coolers and (3) Indirect/Direct Evaporator Coolers.
e. Radiant Cooling- Also known as Ground Source Heat Pumps. These type of systems circulate cold water by use of tubes in the floors, walls and ceilings of the home. There has been some comfort issues in relation to using Ground Source Heat Pumps such as condensation build up in rugs and in carpets which can lead to possible musty odors or mold issues. This type of system is only recommended is dry type climates.
Note: Modern day cooling systems have become much more efficient due to the federal government has raised the minimum efficiency level for residential cooling equipment Heat pump systems have an increased efficiency rating than any standard electric air conditioning system.
Home Owners Choice:
Depending on what type of system you chose will have an effect on the following:
a. Current age and condition of any exisiting system
b. Your Climate Zone
d. Remodeling Activities
e. Energy-Efficiency Goals
Some things you should consider when choosing and upgrading a particular system.
a. If you already have a central air conditioning system with ductwork installed you might want to keep the duckwork but make sure you have the duct system inspected to see if it is usable. Previous ductwork might have gotton damaged overtime or not sized correctly for the new system in mind.
b. If you have a furnace but don’t have central air conditioning, it may be possible to use the new central air conditioning duckwork by combining it with the furnace duckwork, but this also depends on the cooling load and sizing of your new system.
c. If no ductwork exist currently in your home, installing new ducts might not be a good idea unless you have decided also to install a central furnace. There are many types of Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps on the market today and by choosing this type of system can save you money.
d. If you want the ability to cool only sections of the home invest in a ductless heat pump system for they are a fabulous choise if you want only a particular zone of your home cooled or you can get a window unit air conditioning system to cool individual rooms.
Replacing Current Air Conditioning System: Yes or No?
Question 1. Do you currently have a Central Air Conditioning System in place? Yes or No
How old is it? Is it 2006 or Newer Model? Is it above a SEER 10 rated Model or is it a Pre 2006 Model with a SEER 10 or a lower rating than SEER 10.
A. 2006 or Newer Model: Yes or No? Is it Working?
1. If Yes: do you plan to keep your central heating system ducts? if so have the ducts inspected and air sealed or repaired if needed.
2. If No: Will the repair cost more than half the cost of replacement with a new system? Yes or No
a. If Yes: Replace with a new Central Air Conditioning or Heat Pump
b. If No: Repair Air Conditioning System and have the Ducts inspected and air sealed or repaired if needed.
B. Pre 2006 Model: Replace with new Central Air Conditioning System and or Heat Pump and use passive stratagies to lower the cooling load.
Question 2. Are you planning to install a Central Air Conditioning System? Yes or No
If Yes: Are you in a hot climate and if so look into investing in a Central Air Conditioning and or Heat Pump System.
If No: Use passive strategies or invest in a Heat Pump System.
Question 3. Are you adding an addition or converting an unconditioned attic or basement into a conditioned space?
If so, look into investing in a Ductless Heat Pump System or other Cooling Options.
Note: A Professional HVAC Contractor can provide you with the best recommendations for getting the most out of a new or existing central air conditioning system and weather or not the type of system chosen is a good fit for all your comfort needs and energy cost savings.
If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
Troy Halstenson (Founder of Performance Air and Heating)