When should I replace my AC system?
Well, typically we replace them when they break. Usually, what we are looking at is the age of the unit versus what it's going to cost to fix it. Here is a rule of thumb: if your unit is 10 years old or older (because the more modern units are so much more efficient) consider replacing that old unit, you'll save enough on the utility bills to offset the cost of the unit. Now does that mean I'm telling everybody that has a 10-year-old unit to go out and replace it? Absolutely not, wait until it breaks, and once it breaks do the math calculating what you will save on energy bills with the more efficient system versus the cost of repair.
What do I do when my AC system quits working?
Let's talk about emergency air conditioning services. First find a good contractor. You can check our website for preferred contractors, or ask around for recommendations for a reputable company. Don't just call the first name that comes up on Google. The next thing that you need to do is shut the system down completely, especially if it's during those summer months. If your compressor has frozen up and you continue to run it, you will burn out the compressor and that can cause you to have to replace the entire system. Save yourself some money, shut it down and get an expert out there to service it right away.
Now be careful because some contractors will take advantage of you and charge top dollar because they know you are miserable. It is best to make it clear that you aren't in a rush and you have somewhere else to stay. If they know you are in a bind they may not offer the system that best fits your home, the best price, a full warranty, or a service agreement. It might mean a hotel stay, but you will likely get a better deal if you aren't desperate.
What kind of SEER rating do I need?
Well, that is kind of like asking how many miles per gallon do you want out of your car? The SEER rating tells you how efficient the unit is, but does it always make sense to buy the most efficient unit on the market? No, because there is a cost break point that you have to look at. If you are going to stay in the house 10-15 years, you may want to look at a higher SEER rating; but don't get it so high that it doesn't make sense financially. Right now most of us should be looking at between an 18 and 21 SEER units.